Friday 10 February 2012

Recruitment – nicknames for the Pals Battalions

Having relocated the Recruitment text to the main BradfordWW1 site I wanted to make sure the discussion started on the blog wasn’t lost so here it is...

The Leeds City Battalion - later 15th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment(1st Leeds Pals), had been given the rather unfortunate nick-name the "Feather-Bed" and "Titty-Bottle Battalion" in its early formation. Some locals had believed that members were cossetted and had a comfortable time of things; billets, training, issue of uniforms, etc. Instances are to be found in The Yorkshire Evening Post and Laurie Milner provides a good account in "Leeds Pals". Is there anything to suggest that 1st and 2nd Bradfords received similar taunts or had an unofficial nick-name?
AnonymousFeb 2, 2012 10:43 AM

Yes after the First Bradford Pals had first formed they enjoyed a nice life compared to the long hours of daily toil they were used to, including a 2 hour lunch break in which they could wander around the city.

The 'Bradford Pals' by David Raw confirms this "Afterwards many of them reflected that this was the best time of their lives. Compared with the Leeds Pals who were sent off to camp in the wilds of Colsterdale near Masham as early as September the Bradford men knew they were having a 'cushy time' They were determined to enjoy it."

"The fulsome media coverage began to cause a backlash, particularly from relatives of men in the regulars and the Territorials who were failing to get the same attention."

The two Bradford Pals battalions met up with the Leeds Pals at Fovant and together with the Durham Pals formed the 93rd Brigade of the 31st (Pals) Division.

I highly recommend this book which follows the Bradford Pals from recruitment to January 1918 when the British Army was reorganised.
BradfordWW1 Feb 2, 2012 12:21 PM

Many Thanks. It is some time since I read David Raw's book and I will certainly consider your recommendation and buy it this time. I hope to be visiting Owl Trench and Serre in the near future and will pay my respects to the Bradford lads while I'm there.
AnonymousFeb 3, 2012 04:07 AM

Regarding nicknames apparently the 1st Bradford Pals were called "chocolate soldiers" after a handsome brass case containing chocolates and cigarettes was presented to each man by Francis Laidler the owner of the Alhambra Theatre.

Anyone know of nicknames for the other ‘Pals’ Battalions?

BradfordWW1 Feb 3, 2012 04:25 AM

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