Inspired by interviews and notes by a member of the 2nd City Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, this site portrays the particular group of volunteer soldiers, from enlistment to their service in the Battle of the Somme. In memory of the contributor of the journal, Private Allan Arthur Bell 8055 and the Pals that served with him. Copyright Bell Family. All rights reserved. Please see acknowledgments and feel free to comment in the Guest Book or individual Posts.
This site concerns a member of the Manchester Pals who received specialist training as a bomber Early Days in France . Arthur Bell received training in a variety infantry grenades – or bombs. He also actively used bombs in the survival of his detachment at Triangle Point Montauban “Major Macdonald recorded “ At 3.15am on 2 July the detached post in Montauban Alley near Triangle Point was attacked and bombed out. They held out until their supply of bombs was exhausted, and then endeavoured to retire.” Arthur probably also used his bomber training at Guillemont.
I’ve selected a range of images from the IWM archive to add to the site. Cover image Art.IWM PST 12993.
Great photo courtesy of http://jeremybanning.co.uk/. The rolling chalk hills and dense woodland has changed little from 1914 – although the villages were flattened by artillery fire and woods became a mass of splintered timber during hostilities.
I’m showing Jeremy’s picture to show the beautiful wide horizons and ‘big’ sky; similar to David Hockney’s paintings of the Yorkshire Wolds. Back on track, the corner of Bernafay Wood can be seen on the right of the image. The trench of Montauban Alley extended to the Wood, across the first fields beyond trees at the edge of the village. The 16th Manchesters occupied Montauban Alley on the 1st/2nd July and the 17th Manchesters occupied Triangle Point, slightly to the left of the view. This was the point of the furthest sustained advance by the British IVth Army on the first day of the Somme.
The area beyond Montauban towards Longueval is infamous for the ferocious battles that took place in mid-July, particularly those concerning the South African Infantry, which was almost wiped out in the area shown in this image. South African forces in the British Army of 1914-1918