Formation of Manchester Pals

1914 Recruitment Poster IWM (Art.IWM PST 2734)

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Following the first month of conflict in August 1914, it was clear the relatively small regular army would very quickly succumb to the significantly larger German Regular and Reserve Force.  At the end of August Lord Kitchener as Secretary of State initiated a drive for the recruitment 6Pals Recruitment Poster  IWM North 100,000 men in a new volunteer army, solely for service for the duration of the war.  The famous posters of the moustachioed Field Marshall attracted tens of thousands of men, many joining together from the country’s large industrial cities.  This recruitment drive was supported by local politicians and employers, many of whom committed to fund the recruits and re-employ them after hostilities.  The whole nation believed the young men would be home by Christmas.

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

In late August Sir Daniel McAbe, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, planned the recruitment of a  City Battalion, comprising the Clerks & Warehouseman of the City’s commercial businesses.  These potential recruits had not been enthusuiastic to be recruited to the Service Battalions.  The prospect of enlisting with men from their own worplace, or similar businesses was the primary driver in the formation of the Pals.  The employers also played their part with a commitment to maintain wages for family members and re-employ the troops when they returned.  Businesses also committed to fund the Pals Battalions until they were taken over by the War Office.    Suitably employed men collected a ticket enabling them to considered in the City Battalion.  A mass of young arrived and the 1st City Battalion was formed on the 1st September 1914 with a small number of men enlisting the day before.   Immediate proposals were made for a 2nd City Battalion the next day.

Arthur Bell and a colleague from W.T. Glover had arrived at the recruiting station on 1st September and found themselves enlisted in the 2nd Manchester Pals on the next day.

Private Allan Arthur Bell, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“…a pal from my office and myself, went down to the Ardwick Town Hall on the 1st of September 1914, where we were told that they’d  filled their requirements, but they were forming another  battalion, and if we’d like to go down the following day, we might be enrolled.”

The Pals Battalions committed to keep men together with their friends and colleagues.  The volunteers were paraded at the Artillery Drill Hall in Ardwick and allocation to Companies and Platoons was supervised by Captain Walkley, the chief recruiting officer.  Arthur recounted his posting in III Platoon of A Company.

Recruits parading at the artillery barraks on 2.9.1914 MCourier 3.9.1914 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Recruits parading at the artillery barracks on 2.9.1914 MCourier 3.9.1914 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“So we duly went down … the system was to ask [first for ] all people from say Tootlals – … from the other big firms in the town – and got some quite large numbers from each of these big firms.  But the firm we belonged to, we were only two representatives, and there were a lot of other little firms like that…these big firms were recruited first.  Well I’ll say they were taken first, they weren’t positively recruited at that moment.”(2)Attestation AAB

Arthur found himself recruited into the ‘riff-raff’ from smaller firms in A Company.  It has not been possible to identify Arthur Bell’s pal that enlisted with him from W.T. Glover.  However three pairs of colleagues have been found.  The first pair is Louis Linney and Frank Hoyle from Haslams.  The second workmates were James Thomson and Arthur Wilkins from Messrs Hans Reynolds, chain makers in Burnage.  Finally R. Schofield and J Law are identified on the Roll of Honour for David Midgely & Sons Ltd.

Alec Mitchell who was the son of Arthur’s neighbour’s son from 4 Warrener Street enlisted in D Company at a similar time.

“And they stood in their ranks and formed companies.  The result was – that A Company, B Company, C Company and D Company – were formed in that way;  and the little, the ‘riff raff’ you might say… would have been D company.  But, a strange thing happened. The whole gang was given order ‘about turn’ and what would have been D company became A company.  So A company was formed of the riff raff and D company was the bigger ones, like CPA and Tootals [Tootal, Broadhurst & Lee Co Ltd]. “(2)

Shoulder Tabs and Cap Badge of 2nd Manchester PalsArthur Bells Cap Badge and shoulder tabs for the 2nd City – 17th Manchester Regiment form the main photo on this page.  It is a sobering thought that Arthur will have worn these specific shoulder tabs during his service, although they were replaced by red ‘Manchester Regiment’ tapes before the summer of 1916.  The Battalion was raised on the 2nd / 3rd September 1914; with the official date recorded as 28th August.

Courtesy Manchester Battalions Book of Honour

Toll of Honour showing the names of the men in the photograph.

Arthur Bell’s Small Book

Each Company had four Platoons and Arthur was allocated to III Platoon.  The 2nd City Battalion was intended to recruit clerks and warehouseman from the City’s commercial businesses.  Representatives from the smaller firms included Stephen Broadmeadow, who was a Clerk at Horrocks and Crewdson, cotton manufacturers.  Also enlisting was shippers clerk, Arthur Bennett from G S Mitchell & Co.

  As well as the men of commerce, two teachers were posted to III Platoon, including Oxford born Louis Brownjohn from Crumpsall and Frank Chandler from All Saints Church School, Whitefield.  In addition a number of tradesmen joined Arthur Bell’s Platoon, including Ernest Conroy, a painter and decorator from Oldham Road and engineering draughtsman, Percy Amos.  Percy’s family lived in Ipswich and he was a resident of Flixton when he enlisted.

Notwithstanding the trades and professions that have been identified, the core of the Battalion remained Clerks and Warehouseman.  Other men from the City joined the Territorial Battalions of the Manchester Regiment, or a range of regular army Regiments.  For example, James Ward was a fellow worker from Arthur Bell’s employer, W.T. Glover and it may be assumed he was not a Clerk or Warehouseman.  James enlisted with the Northampton Regiment; he was promoted to Sergeant and shot in the knee in July 1916.  Sergeant Ward had been a keen footballer with Crescent Rovers in Salford.

Lord Derby had formed the Liverpool Pals in late August and it is clear Arthur and other young men of Manchester had anticipated the Mayor’s invitation to form their City Battalions.  The new Manchester and Liverpool Brigades were combined to form the 30th Division, sometimes later known as ‘Lord Derby’s Own’.  For other ‘invitations’ for enlistment see WW1 Recruitment Posters

Proud Employers recorded the men who enlisted. This Roll includes Louis Brownjohn and Frank Chandler.

Co-Op Roll of Honour including Percy Amos from the Architects Department.

Lance Corporal Steve Broadmeadow

James Hasting McCaig

G N Moss

G N Moss

Thomas Lavin

Thomas Lavin

George Garbutt

George Garbutt

C G Jones

C G Jones

Fred Forsyth

Fred Forsyth

H White

H White

L Darnborough

L Darnborough

Henry Waller

Henry Waller

R Schofield & J Law

H Craig

H Craig

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10 thoughts on “Formation of Manchester Pals

  1. Pingback: WW1 Recruitment Posters – Your Country Needs You | 17th Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  2. Alison Mitchell

    What a lot of good information, thank you. Alec Mitchell, of 4 Warrener St Sale was my Gandfather’s brother, so it was interesting to see him mentioned. All three of the Mitchell brothers enlisted but it is hard to find records of the other two… mind you, I live in Australia and it is not always easy to access them. But thank you for an enlightening website…

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Alison,
      Thanks for your observations. It seems our grandfathers lived next door to each other in 1914! What was your grandad’s name? I’ll then see what I can find on him. Any other info, partic on military career would help.
      Tim

      Reply
  3. mrs joyce mccormack

    I have been going through your stories ,I to have a missing grandfather, he was a smith striker, in Manchester in 1911, his family lived and worked in long sight, his age was 31 when the 1st w/war broke out, after that he went missing , does any one know what reg of the Manchester pals took on railway men I would be most grateful. yours joyce

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Joyce,
      Please provide his full name and I can try to give you some leads, He’s less likely to have been in the Pals because they were originally Clerks & Warehouseman. Manchester Regiment remains a possibility though, as well as the Royal Engineers and others. I hope I can help a little….
      Tim

      Reply
    2. Mary Carr

      Joyce I have just seen your note having checking for Thomas Gallagher who is on the Memorial at Arras. I have relations McCormack in Manchester. My maiden name was Connell and we lived in Longsight and then Burnham drive Manchester. An unusual name so I thought
      it was worth checking out. Please e mail if connected. thanks, mary

      Reply
  4. colin Taylor

    My grandfather was presumably in the pals or manchesters i have his roll number but cannot seem to track him down he survived the war. HE WAS A GNR in the RA. I think his number is 150430 but last number maybe a six. Any guidance you can give would be appreciated.
    Regards, Colin

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Colin, The RA weren’t strictly part of the Pals Battalions. However, he could have been part of the Manchester Brigade RA. I’m no expert, but can have a look if you provide your g/father’s full name and DoB + place of birth if you have it.
      Cheers
      Tim

      Reply
  5. 8055bell Post author

    150430 James Taylor was a Gunner in 386 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery – not with Manchester City Bttns. He left Home after Dec 1915 and was entitled to British War and Victory Medals. See http://www.1914-1918.net/siege-battery-index.htm Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire.The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers, although some had huge railway- or road-mounted 12 inch howitzers. On the 29/7/1917 Sections of 386th(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. were distributed among 32nd(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. & 141st(Siege)Bty,R.G.A. on it’s break-up. Ask an expert for more on http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?act=idx

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Private 8451 Robin Bailey – Sickness on the Somme | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

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