4th City Pals Battalion
Part One; Preliminary Training and
Early Days in
On the outbreak of the Great War the authorities of
the city of
training was commenced at the City Hall and Hulme Cavalry Barracks, alternating
with the 18th Battalion. The Men, at this time, were still billeted
at their own homes and notices of parades were published in the
The initial training of the Men was carried out by ex regular army and volunteer soldiers temporarily promoted to the ranks of Sergeant and Sergeant Major. Volunteers were called for from amongst the ranks to be trained as Junior N.C.O’s and the Regimental Sergeant Major taught the men Company and extended order drill. The Officers began to take a more active part in the training of their own platoons and a spirit of rivalry began to appear between the companies. Lessons in trench digging commenced and a limited number of old fashioned rifles were issued for arms drill, which the companies had to utilise in turns. Friends and relations regularly turned up at the training ground to watch and were most appreciated after parade hours when the Men lost no time in joining them in dancing and skating to the music of the Gardens band.
On the 28th October, the Battalion lost its first Commanding Officer when Colonel Heywood died of pneumonia. His loss was felt keenly by the Battalion and when his coffin was conveyed to London Road Station the Men lined the approach as the funeral procession passed to the train. As the train left the station the buglers sounded the “last Post”.
On the 19th of November, Colonel E. A
Kettlewell took over command of the Battalion and on the 30th Marched the Men to the Hutments at
The 19th Battalion Lines
On the 3rd December 1914, the title of the battalion
was changed to the Nineteenth (Service) Battalion,
The Men quickly settled in to their new surroundings and were well provided for. Comfortably housed and well fed they soon made their huts a home from home-hiring pianos and putting on impromptu concerts in the evenings after training had finished.
The park was a large expanse of open space and the training increased to Company and Battalion level. Men were sent on Musketry courses to Altcar rifle ranges near Formby-returning to pass on their knowledge to the Battalion. Night training was begun and route marches, along with physical instruction carried out by Lieutenant Bernard la Trobe Foster(Recently returned from a course) improved the fitness and bearing of the Men.
The Battalion signaller were formed under Lieutenant Heywood and Battalion scouts under lieutenant Swaine. There was a rush of applicants for the machine gun section under Lieutenant Mather and although there was no equipment the men were taught the theory and had a fair idea of the mechanism of the machine gun and a working knowledge of semaphore long before they departed Heaton park.
At Christmas, 1915 about half the Battalion was
allowed to leave over the holiday period. The other half
already celebrating theirs the week before. For those remaining in the
camp, nothing was missing for the occasion. A full Christmas dinner was served
and there was a plentiful supply of fruit and drink. The Whole battalion was
invited to the pantomime at the Theatre Royal in
The issue of blue uniforms and greatcoats was
completed in January 1915 and the Men began to take a pride in their
appearance. The popularity of the uniform was short lived however, as the uniforms
were the same as those worn by the tramguards in
After six months of hard training it was time for the
Men to leave
The arrival at
The training intensified at Belton. Long route marches
in full kit, trench digging and Brigade and Divisional exercises hardened the
Men readying them for their anticipated roles in
On the 15th June, Colonel Kettlewell relinquished his command owing to ill health and was succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel Sir H.B Hill, a retired Royal Irish Fusilier. The new Colonel was a great disciplinarian and he set about interchanging the N.C.O’s between Companies in order to dissipate the too friendly feeling that existed between N.C.O’s and Men.
On the 7th September 1915, The battalion moved from
On the morning of the 7th November, the 19th
Battalion marched to Amesbury station and boarded the troop trains for
Officers who proceeded to
Officers of the 19th Battalion pictured outside Heaton Hall in 1915