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The 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment War Diary (WD) provides a detailed record of events in the Battalion from November 1915 when the Battalion left Lark Hill for France to July 1918 when it was confirmed as disbanded. This creates an invaluable resource for all levels of research that forms the backbone of most publications. The 30th Division and 90th Brigade Diaries have not yet been obtained from National Archives. The 17th Bttn. War Diary is protected by Crown Copyright. Any images acknowledge copyright of National Archives reference WO 95/2339/2.
The First Day on the Somme by Martin Middlebrook, Allen Lane Penguin Press 1971. Arthur Bell contributed to this pre-eminent story of 1st July 1916 The First Day on the Somme
Manchester Pals by Michael Stedman, Pen & Sword 2003. Very detailed background on the Manchester Brigades. ‘Manchester Pals – Stedman‘
Guillemont – Somme by Michael Stedman, Pen & Sword 1998. An analysis of the systematic assaults on one village. ‘Guillemont – Stedman‘
Montauban – Somme by Graham Maddocks, Leo Cooper 1999. The scene of the Manchesters victory on the first day, ‘Maddocks‘
Sixteenth:Seventeenth:Eighteenth:Nineteenth Battalions Manchester Regiment. A Record 1914-1918. Naval & Military Press 1923. The ‘Official History‘ with full details of the Brigade movements and interesting anecdotes. The Spectator’s review in 1924 praised the book “This is an excellent record of the four” City” battalions raised in Manchester within the first month of the War. Formed of the admirable material which was then available, they fully lived—and died—up to the standard of their famous regiment, of which Sir James Willcocks records that ? none more devoted and none more valiant” served in the late War. Few episodes could be finer than that of the gallant handful of the 16th who literally carried out Colonel Elstob’s order on March 21st, 1918: “Here we fight, here we die.” We are glad to see that this well-printed volume is sold at a price which should bring it within the reach of Manchester survivors and relatives of the fallen.”
Photos and Rolls from Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour, Sherratt & Hughes 1916 have been an invaluable resource. Photos in the Book of Honour show some of the men behind the names and Platoon lists and employers rolls introduce something of the individuals.
The Diary of an Unprofessional Soldier edited by TAM Nash. Picton 1991. Known as Lt. Nash’s Diary This book provides a vivid insight of the condition of the specific trenches and defences experienced by Arthur Bell. The justification for the engaging read was extended with a reference to Arthur’s cousin James Frederick Bell 6957; extended when reading that Lt. Nash visited the defensive strong point of Triangle Point where Arthur was present for almost three days at the beginning of the battle of the Somme in Montauban.
Orders are Orders-A Manchester Pal on the Somme. Notes by Albert Andrews and edited by Sue Richardson.
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ provides an increasing amount of data for free, or sensible cost. For documents that have not been scanned before, such as Officer Service Records, a visit to Kew is worthwhile as the copying charges are high.
http://www.themanchesters.org/ Excellent Battalion index and profile of men and units.
http://www.hellfirecorner.co.uk/hartley/jh.htm The site follows the service of Tom Brough of A Company, 17th Manchesters the same Company as Arthur Bell. The Author, John Hartley, has shared some extensive records (See below) to build the story surrounding Arthur Bell’s records and I am most grateful.
http://www.1914-1918.net/ Detailed history of all aspects of the War.
http://www.salfordwarmemorials.co.uk/index.html has some useful data sets including lists of photographs in the Manchester Evening News and Absent Voters Lists.
The outstanding information on my Grandad’s brother’s service was beyond me until I joined and received help from the ,Manchester and Salford Family History Forum – MSHF http://manchesterfamilyhist.proboards.com/
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx Provides details of commemoration of the men that lost their lives.
http://grandeguerre.icrc.org/ Records of Prisoners of War and Interred civilians.
National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918 Provides profiles of 17,500 men and women from Manchester and Salford who served in World War One. Other Volumes are available from Libraries and subscription websites.
Provides some vivid photos, pictures, objects and recordings – not least Pt. A A Bell http://iwmcollections.org.uk/collections/item/object/80013380. The Interview between Lyn E Smith and James Albert Payne also provides a vivid picture of training, service and warfare in the Pals. Scout Sergeant Bert Payne IWM interview (9894). As the focus on most previous research relates to 1st July 1916, Peter Hart’s interview with Albert Hurst recounts important detail on the subsequent assault on Trones Wood. Hurst Albert IWM interview (11582)
HOME PAGE – THE ASHTON TERRITORIALS Linda’s parallel site on the 9th Battalion. I have more work to do…
Caroline’s Scott’s similar site on the Bantams 23rd Service Battalion Manchester Regiment
July 27th 1916 | The Skipper’s War provided an excellent report on the Machine Gun Corps at Montauban
Census information and Service Records have been gleaned from a subscription website. As a condition for use of many photographs, this site must not lead to profit. Hence the links to subscription sites are not identified.
Forums and People
A clear vote of gratitude and acknowledgment needs to be made to the encyclopedic expert members of http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php and http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php who were instrumental in helping build the profile of many men on this site and extracts of War Diaries. My limited research has only scraped the surface of reciprocation.
Examples of nuggets of information from The Manchester Regiment Group Forum – Index include:-
8055 Allan Arthur Bell 17th batt at the beginning of my research and 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont. when I was trying to connect Arthur Bell’s notes to individual men. ‘Manchesters Forum‘
A number of people helped along similar lines on Great War Forum particularly John Hartley, author of HELLFIRE CORNER – The Great War – Manchester Regiment and in print “6th Battalion, the Manchester Regiment in the Great War”. John has just published “17th Manchesters: A History of the Battalion and the Men Who Served with it in the Great War” as above. John’s tips for data include Manchester Regiment and Public Schools – Chaps to Pals – Soldiers – Great War Forum and CSM Johnson 17th Manchester Regiment – Soldiers – Great War Forum ‘John Hartley‘
After the site had developed beyond ‘infancy’ contact was received via the GUEST BOOK from the Archivist at http://www.cheadlehulmeschool.co.uk/ where Arthur Bell and his siblings had attended as the Manchester Warehouseman and Clerks Orphans’ School. It is hoped that I have provided some help to the School’s plans for the WWI Centenary. I’m certainly indebted for some nuggets of information, which would otherwise be lost forever.
If I have failed to properly acknowledge any help or sources, please accept my apologies and don’t hesitate to let me know below.