The Regimental History 1914 – 18

The Loyal North Lancashire’s is one of the proudest names among British Army Regiments. This book contains a comprehensive, plain and unvarnished history of the regiment’s huge contribution to the first world war. It is fully illustrated with maps and photos, and with appendices covering awards, uniforms, colours and honours It is a book that all lovers of Lancashire and all interested in the history of the Great War will treasure.  Read more…

55th (West Lancashire) Division History

55thdivisionThe 55th was a pre-war territorial division, recruited in an area extending northwards from the Mersey to the Lune. The divisional and two of the brigade headquarters were located in Liverpool, the third brigade in Lancaster. The divisional sign was the red rose of Lancaster and the infantry battalions came from the King’s Own (R Lancaster), the King’s (Liverpool), the Loyal N Lancs and the S Lancs. The artillery, engineers, signals, transport and medical units were all designated West Lancashire, the Mounted troops were the Lancashire Hussars (Yeomanry). Between November 1914 and March 1915 eight battalions left the division for France to provide reinforcements for the BEF. In April a complete brigade, the North Lancashire, was transferred to the 51st Highland Division and having been redesignated 3rd Highland Brigade went to France with that division in May, whether they were in kilts or not is not made clear. In January 1916 the division was reformed in France, with the original battalions returning, and numbered 55th. Subsequently it fought on the Somme at Guillemont, Ginchy, Flers-Courcelette and Morval. It took part in Third Ypres and was at Cambrai for the tank attack and the German counter-attack. In April 1918 the 55th was engaged in the fighting on the Lys during the German offensive, doing exceptionally well in their stubborn defence of Givenchy where their memorial stands today bearing the inscription “They Win or die who wear the Rose of Lancashire.” By the end of the month they had suffered 3,871 casualties and been awarded three VCs. The division earned a high reputation, it won the highest number of VCs (12) among the non-regular divisions including the only double VC to be awarded during the war, Capt Noel Chavasse RAMC, the MO of the 1/10th King’s (Liverpool) – the Liverpool Scottish. Appendices give the citations for these VC awards, full casualty details, totals of honours and awards and reproduce the first and last operation orders issued by the division (9 February 1916 and 10 November 1918). In all the division had 35,701 casualties of which 6,520 were dead.


The carnage on the Western Front at Passchendaele, where 275,000 Allied and 200,000 German soldiers fell, was neither inevitable nor inescapable, the authors of this volume insist. Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson offer a complete account of the campaign, establishing what actually occurred, what options were available, and who was responsible for the devastation.

The First Ypres

In the autumn of 1914 the original British Expeditionary Force faced a heavily reinforced German drive. Field Marshal Sir John French, the British Commander-in-Chief, had sent his men north in an attempt to take the fight into Flanders, so they could fight across open ground. History tells us that this was not to be the case. David Lomas chronicles the first of the trench-warfare battles, where lines that would remain almost static for the rest of the war were established. Although the Germans failed to reach the channel ports, the death knell had rung for the BEF, which was virtually wiped out in this brave defence.

Hundred Days

The Campaign that ended WW1. Nick Lloyd, a senior lecturer of Defense Studies, at Kings College, London, lost a great-uncle at the French village of Gouzeaucourt, just six weeks or so before the Armistice. Lloyd has written an amazingly readable book about those last hundred days of WW1. He looks at the war from British, German, French, and American sides and examines both the military battles at the Front and the political battles behind the scenes. He includes maps at the front of the book which detail the battles fought and military lines that had to be crossed by the advancing Allies and defended by the Germans.

One of the most interesting parts of the book deals with the political situation in Germany as the war caused the collapse of the Kaiser’s government. Lloyd looks at the cries of “betrayal by the Communists/Bolshevics/Jews/Defeatists” that lasted well into the 1920’s and ’30’s. Nick Lloyd has done a wonderful job looking at a smallish slice of time in a much larger conflict. Great book for WW1 history readers


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