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The York & Lancaster Regiment 12th (Service) Battalion (Sheffield), The Sheffield Pals
The York and Lancaster Regiment, 12th (Service) Battalion, The Sheffield Pals was raised on the 10th September 1914 with almost 1000 volunteers being recruited in the first two days. Training began at drill took place at Bramhall Lane, home of Sheffield United Cricket and Football Club, the activities did nothing for the quality of the pitch and on Saturday 5th December 1914 the battalion left Sheffield for Redmires Camp, a few miles west of the city. The Battalion joined the 94th Brigade, 31st Division. They also trained at Penkridge Bank Camp near Rugeley, Ripon and Hurdcott Camp near Salisbury.
In December 1915 The Sheffield Pals boarded HMT Nestor at Devonport and set sail for Alexandria in Egypt to defend the Suez Canal. The ship arrived in Alexandria on 1st January 1916 thus all the men of the division missed qualification for the 1914-15 Star by one day.
The expected Turkishh invasion did not appear and in March 1916 The Sheffield Pals and the rest of 31 Division left Port Said aboard HMT Briton bound for Marseilles in France,a journey which took 5 days. They travelled by train to Pont Remy, a few miles south east of Abbeville and marched to Bertrancourt arriving on 29 March 1916.
18 days after arriving in France The Sheffield Pals took over a stretch of the front line opposite the village of Serre at the northern most end of The Somme suffering very heavy casualties as the battle was launched. In 1917 they were in action in the Battle of Arras and in 1918 they fought at St Quentin, Bapaume and Arras before moving north to counter the German Spring Offensive on the Lys. Towards the end of the conflict they were in action in the the Final Advance in Flanders.
1st Sep 1914 At the end of a lecture on the war at the Victoria Hall in Sheffield, the University Vice Chancellor Mr H.A.L. Fisher announced that formal War Office approval was expected to be given for the formation of the Sheffield City Battalion and that enrolment of volunteers would begin on the afternoon of the 2nd at the Town Hall.
The idea of the battalion had been proposed by two students of Sheffield University and had approached Mr Fisher who had taken up the cause.
2nd Sep 1914 A large crowd gathered outside the Town Hall in Sheffield as volunteers entered the Lord Mayor's Chambers to complete their form declaring their willingness to enlist in the new Sheffield City Battalion. A contingent from the University Officer Training Corps marched from the University to the Town Hall in a column of fours to enrol. Once they had done so they marched out of the building and formally disbanded the OTC for the duration of the war. Once dismissed the men took it upon themselves to persuade passers by to enrol.
10th Sep 1914 Official enlistment of men for the Sheffield City Battalion and the recruiting office opened at The Corn Exchange in Sheaf Street. Those who had already volunteered were sent a postcard asking them to report. Forty volunteer clerks filled in the paperwork and each man underwent a medical to check he met the minimum size requirements for the army and was generally in good health.
14th Sep 1914 The first parade of the newly formed Sheffield City Battalion is held at Norfolk Barracks, Edmond Road, the Drill Hall of the West Riding Territorial Force. The men were organised into Companies, platoons and sections. They were inspected by their CO Col Hughes and the Lord Mayor then listened to speeches from the gallery by the Lord Mayor, Mr Fisher of the University and Col Hughes who declared them a wonderful looking crowd. The men were dismissed to return to their own homes or lodgings for the night as there was no accommodation available for the new battalion en-mass.
15th Sep 1914 Training begins for the Sheffield City Battalion, the larger part of the formation marched from Norfolk Barracks to Bramhall Lane Football Ground, with smaller contingents going to areas of waste ground on Edmund Road nad Queens Road to learn the basics of drill from the few men who had previous experience as soldiers. Drill instruction was undertaken for six hours under hot sun, much to the detriment of the turf on the football pitch.
Norfolk Park is also used as a training area for field craft and tactical training with trenches being dug. Potential Officers and NCO's were identified and the those with previous military service were appointed to the key positions of Company Serjeant Majors.
6th Oct 1914 The men of the newly formed Sheffield City Battalion are measured for uniforms which will be supplied to them. Officers have to pay for their own uniforms and local tailors are engaged in making them. Lee-Metford Rifles begin to arrive to supplement the 23 rifles and single machine gun on loan from Vickers.
10th Oct 1914 Lt.Col. Charles V. Mainwaring takes command of the Sheffield City Battalion taking over from Col Hughes.
15th Oct 1914 The men of the Sheffield City Battalion undertake their first route march, on this wet and misty day. The route was from their training grounds in the city to Redmires, where their hutted camp is under construction. They drilled on the flat ground which will be their parade ground in the camp, were served sandwiches and tea for lunch then marched back to Sheffield.
16th Nov 1914 The first uniforms arrive for the men of the Sheffield City Battalion, not the expected field service khaki but a shade of blue-grey accompanied by a glengarry hat with red piping. A shortage of khaki dye, which pre-war had been supplied from Germany, is the reason for the issue of temporary blue uniforms for new recruits.
8th Nov 1914 Sheffield City Battalion hold their first Church Parade in the city. Six hundred and fifty men marched from Edmound Road to St Mary's church accompanied by the Dannemora Steel Works Band who played a selection of military tunes including 'Boys of the Old Brigade'. The battalion marched back to the Drill hall in Edmund road via St Mary's Road, Hereford Street, The Moor, High Street and Commercial Street. At the drill hall, a union flag which had been draped over the altar in the church was presented to the Battalion by the MP Mr Samuel Roberts.
9th Nov 1914 General H. Plumer, GOC Northern Command inspected the Sheffield City Battalion and remarked on the rapid progress being made in training.
26th Nov 1914 At the Drill Hall in Edmund Road, Mr Samuel Roberts MP hosted a supper for the Sheffield City Battalion who are due to leave the city for their new training camp.
5th Dec 1914 In heavy rain and strong winds, Sheffield City Battalion march from the city to take up residence in the barely completed Redmires Camp. They left the Drill Hall in Edmund Road, with CO on horse back and the battalion band at the head of the column. They marched via Glossop Road to Broomhall and to the camp via Crosshall. The rain turned to sleet and snow as they climbed the hills. The camp was already a familiar place as the battalion had provided nightly work parties for the last weeks of November to assist with completing the huts and bad weather had delayed their arrival from the intended move date of the 1st of December. Some of the huts were still lacking windows when the men moved in and the first night was stormy, icy cold and few men got much sleep.
6th Dec 1914 The men of the Sheffield City Battalion are engaged in making their new camp habitable, completing the work to be done on the huts and quarrying stone to create paths and roadways.
1st Jan 1915 The first route march of the new year for the Sheffield City Battalion is cut short by a violent storm. The men returned swiftly to Redmires Camp and later an illustrated a lecture was given by Capt. Hoette on his experiences during the South African War.
13th Jan 1915 Brigadier General Bowles visits Redmires Camp and observed the men of the Sheffield City Battalion undertaking musketry practice and simulated attacks.
26th Jan 1915 General Gainsford and Brigadier General Bowles visit Redmires Camp. They observed the men of the Sheffield City Battalion undertaking drill on the parade ground and physical training. They also visited Quarry Hill a short distance from the camp where two platoons from B Company were engaged in digging trenches.
12th Feb 1915 A Coy, Sheffield City Battalion provided 100 men to line the route to the Cathedral for the funeral of Pte. C.H. Hanforth who had died of pneumonia on the 8th of February. He was laid to rest at Fulwood Church with full military honours.
22nd Apr 1915 Sheffield City Battalion's soccer eleven played a match against the 15th Battalion Sherwood Foresters and won the game by six goals to nil.
29th Apr 1915 A sports day held at Redmires Camp was a huge success with over ten thousand spectators watching as over 1000 men took part in a range of sporting events. Men from the Sheffield City Battalion, the Barnsley Battalion and 15th Sherwood Foresters took part in heats throughout the mornings, with the finals being held in the afternoon. A Five mile steeple chase was run on a route around the Redmires reservoirs finishing on the parade ground. Most of the events were won by men from the Sheffield Battalion, their superior fitness being attributed to the harsh hilly environment in which they are training. A Company won the tug of war, the football competition and 16 Platoon were victorious in the Inter-Platoon Mile, winning in a time of Seven minutes 45 seconds, each man in full fighting order carrying 50lbs including their rifles.
11th May 1915 An advance party of 100 men of the Sheffield City Battalion under Capt. Hoette left Redmires Camp and marched to Sheffield Middle station to entrain for Penkridge Bank Camp on Cannock Chase. They were joined at the station by parties from the 13th and 14th (Barnsley) Battalions and seen off by Brigadier Gen. Bowles.
13th May 1915 The Sheffield City Battalion marched out of Redmires Camp at 6.15am, some hours earlier than originally planned, due to railway timetabling, much to the disappointment of the city officials how had planned a huge fairwell for them. Never the less huge numbers turned out to see them off.
As they marched into Manchester Road they were joined by the bands of the Sheffield Engineers and the Hallamshires. They were joined by their mothers, wives and girlfriends as they marched through the streets in a relaxed formation. The Battalion formed up outside the Town Hall surrounded by a crowd of over 5000 to hear farewell speeches from the Lord Mayor and his deputy. The CO called for three cheers and the battalion marched along Fargate and High Street to the Midland Station where they departed for Rugeley on board two trains at 8.25 and 9.50 am.
On arrival in mid afternoon, they marched from Rugeley up the hill to Penkridge Bank Camp on Cannock Chase, to find their new home 'half finished and very cold'.
Jul 1915 15th (Reserve) Battalion is formed at Silkstone Camp in July 1915 from depot companies of 12th, 13th and 14th Battalions.
30th Jul 1915 The Sheffield City Battalion undertook a 16 mile route march cross country under the blazing sun with full packs, taking six hours to complete the course. 80men suffered exhaustion and failed to complete the route. On return to Penkridge Bank Camp, they had two hours to pack up and have their meal. They then marched four miles to Rugeley station and boarded trains for the 4th Army Training Centre at South Camp, Ripon.
31st Jul 1915 The Sheffield City Battalion arrived at Ripon in the early hours and the men marched to South Camp on the Harrogate Road and spent the day unloading stores and settling into the camp. The training at Ripon was mainly in musketry, but before it could begin, the men had to construct a rifle range
27th Aug 1915 Mr Samuel Roberts MP visits Sheffield City Battalion at Ripon camp.
10th Sep 1915 On the anniversary of the formation on the Sheffield City Battalion, a concert was held. It was arranged by the Padre, Capt. J.F.Colquhoun with many of the officers and men performing.It ended with a short speech from the CO.
25th Sep 1915 The 12th York and Lancs Battalion leave Ripon Camp late at night, they march through pouring rain to the station and entrain for an eleven hour journey to Salisbury.
26th Sep 1915 The 12th York and Lancs Battalion arrive at Hurcott Camp for their final training before deployment to the front. Col Mainwaring stood down as CO being replaced by Lt.Col. J.A. Crosthwaite.
16th Nov 1915 The 12th York and Lancs Battalion move from Hurcott Camp to Larkhill for parts 3 and 4 of the Musketry course. Each man was issued with his own SMLE Rifle and the course included firing from trenches as well as on the traditional ranges. A few days after arriving at Larkhill an order was received to prepare to proceed to France.
30th Nov 1915 With the musketry course completed, the Sheffield City Battalion marched to Hurcott Camp.
2nd Dec 1915 The War Diary of the Sheffield City Battalion records that the order to prepare to proceed to France has been withdrawn and half the battalion was given leave, until late evening on the 3rd. The other half was on leave from the morning of the 4th until late evening on the 5th.
5th Dec 1915 Orders arrive for the Sheffield City Battalion to prepare to move to Egypt and tropical kit was issued.
20th Dec 1915 A & B Coys, Sheffield City Battalion marched out of Hurcott Camp and entrained for Devonport at Salisbury Station, the train left at 5am. C & D Coys marched out of the camp at 2.30am with their train leaving at 6.25am. The Battalion transport left the camp at 5pm.
The trains were shunted onto the dockside at Keyham Docks and the majority of the Battalion boarded the SS Nestor. A small party from the Battalion transport boarded HMT Malakoota to travel with the Divisional Artillery.Can you add to this factual information? Do you know the whereabouts of this unit on a particular day? Which battles they took part in? Or any other interesting snipts?
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Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 215679, your information is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.
Those known to have served with The York & Lancaster Regiment 12th (Service) Battalion (Sheffield), The Sheffield Pals during the Great War 1914-1918.
Select a story link or scroll down to browse those stories hosted on this site.
- Pte. S. Ardern
- Pte. H. C. Arridge. MM.
- L/Cpl R T Baker. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Wiliam Henry Bagshaw (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte L Barlow (d. 1st July 1916)
- 2nd Lt Arnold James Beal "B" Company (d. 1st July 1916)
- Sgt Wilfred Randal Beal (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Douglas Beaumont (d. 1st July 1916)
- Cpl. Signaller. A. Brammer
- Pte Archie Brammer. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte. R. F. Brookes. Lewis gunner. "B" Company (d. 2 July 1916) Read his Story
- Pte J W Buckley (d. 1st July 1916)
- L/Cpl. M. B. Burnby. MM.
- Pte J A Buttery. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Carr (d. 1st July 1916)
- Captain William Spenceley Clark. "A" Company.
- Clarke (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte C C Clixby (d. 1st July 1916)
- Colley (d. 1st July 1916)
- Sjt Randall Cooper "B" Coy (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte. Bertram Corthorn. DCM. "B" Company Read his Story
- Sjt Clement Cundliffe. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Lt-Col. Crosthwaite
- 2nd Lt F Dinsdale (d. 1st July 1916)
- L/Sjt Frederick Donoghue. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte. A. Downing. MM.
- Lt. Charles Elam (d. 1st July 1916) Read his Story
- Pte L Eyre (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Alexander Hugh Franks. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Lieutenant Colonel H.B.Fisher. CO.
- Pte. Albert Fretwell, No. 5 Platoon "B" Company Read his Story
- Pte. C. S. Garbutt. MM.
- Pte Alfred Goodlad. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte E R Glossop (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte. H. Glossop. No. 4 Platoon, "A" Company
- Pte Harry Thomas Hale (d. 1st July 1916)
- Cpl Fred Barmore Hampton. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte J Hargate (d. 1st July 1916)
- L/Cpl G H Haskey (d. 1st July 1916)
- Sjt M C P Headeach. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Frederic Haydn Hobson. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Ernest Hudson (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte David Jones "A" Coy (d. 1st July 1916)
- Private John Henry Kelk "D" Coy (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte James Knighton "A" Coy (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Herbert Lack (d. 6 July 1916)
- Pte A Levick (d. 1st July 1916)
- CSM William Henry Loxley. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte. Alexander McKenzie. (d. 4 Apr 1916)
- Pte. R. Marsden. MM.
- Pte. S. Matthews. DCM.
- Pte. George Augustus Mulford. Read his Story
- Pte T Miller (d. 1st July 1916)
- Captain Moore. commander "B" Company
- Pte Harry Neil (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte H Norris. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Cpl. Signaller. Outram
- Pte Charles Edward Owen. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Geoffrey Haslehurst Owen (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte J W Parker (d. 1st July 1916)
- Perkins (d. 1st July 1916)
- Major Plackett
- Pte Harry Preistley (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Walter Rawlin (d. 1st July 1916)
- Cpl George Herbert Rhodes. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Adam Kerr Rigg (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte George Ernest Roe.
- Pte Gordon Henry Sadler (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Frederick Joseph Scothern. "D" Coy. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte J Stanley (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte G Stockel. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Sgt. John William Streets. Read his Story
- Pte A J Thorne (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte John Leonard Thorpe (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Julius Adrian Verner (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Richard Henry Verner (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte George Elgie Ward. (d. 1st July 1916)
- Lieut. L. Ward.
- Pte J Waterhouse (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte Albert Webster (d. 1st July 1916)
- L/Cpl Henry William Wharton (d. 1st July 1916)
- L/Cpl Noel N Wilcock (d. 1st July 1916)
- Pte. Geoffrey C. Wright. DCM. runner.
- A/Capt. George Noel Bisatt 6h Btn. Read their Story.
The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add,, or any recollections or photos of those listed, please get in touch.
A/Capt. George Noel Bisatt 6h Btn. West Yorkshire Regiment
My great uncle George Bisatt, from Fishlake in Yorkshire was a railway clerk living in Sheffield when war broke out. He joined the 12th Yorks and Lancaster Regiment, The Sheffield Pals and served on The Somme. He was commissioned into the 6th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, in June 1917 and saw action in the Third Battle of Ypres. He was the battalion Adjutant in 1918. Does anyone have any information or a photo of of him?
At the end of the war he led the party who returned to Bradford to collect the colours, does anyone have a better copy of the photo of the handing over ceremony, as printed in the History of the 6th Battlion?
Available at discounted prices.
Sheffield City Battalion
Ralph Gibson & Paul Oldfield
On the 10th September 1914 the City of Sheffield officially raised its own battalion, named the 12th (Service) Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment (Sheffield City Battalion). Just three and half years later in February 1918, the Battalion was disbanded, never to be reformed. In this short space of time over 3,000 men passed through the ranks of the City Battalion. Of these almost 700 were killed or died of their wounds, and over 500 were commissioned.The book covers the raising of the battalion , training, Egypt, early days in France, preparations for the Somme, 1st July (over 248 men killed, over 300 wounded), the aftermath of the battle, Neuve Chapelle, Arras, Vimy Ridge and finally disbandment and post war.The book also has extensive appendices, listing decorations, army organisations and ranks, biographical list, The Reserves Companies, Documents. With a unique selection of photographs this book is a tribute to the men who served in the Sheffield City Battalion.More information on:
Sheffield City Battalion
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