Shakespear, Lt-Col.


Northumberland Press Ltd., Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1st ed., 1926. Xv + 183 pp., frontis., + 29 other photo-plates + 5 large fldg., maps. Original green cloth ; gilt ; 25 x 19cm. Some dull marking to edge of front cover ; stitching a bit exposed between f.f.e.p., & half t-p., ; foxing to edges and effecting some prelims and margins ; o/w V.G. The 17th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers was raised by the North Eastern Railway at Hull in September 1914 and became a Pioneer battalion in January 1915. In June 1915 the battalion moved to Catterick where it joined 32nd Division as the divisional pioneer battalion. The division embarked for France in November 1915 and the next six months were spent in the Somme sector around Albert, Bouzincourt and Meaulte. The battalion took part in the opening battle of the Somme at Thiepval and its actions are described here in detail. In October 1916 it left the division and joined GHQ Railway Construction Troops until the end of August 1917. It then re-joined the division at Nieuport on the North Sea coast for a couple of months before again joining the Railway Troops. In May 1918 the battalion was transferred to the 52nd (Lowland) Division, which had just arrived on the Western Front from Palestine, and remained with it as Pioneer Battalion to the end of the war. This history is largely based upon personal diaries and letters lent by many members of the battalion and as far as possible their actual words have been retained. The author filled in gaps to make a consecutive narrative and added details gleaned from the official War Diaries. He made a point of including as many little incidents as possible that made up life at the front, as well as doing justice to the greater achievements. Also provided are appendices plus detailed rolls which consist of the embarkation roll of officers, a list of officers joining subsequently with dates, the roll of men who served with the battalion showing number, rank, name, company, whether embarked with the battalion, casualty details and any awards. Illustrated with a total of 30 photograph plates and five large, folding maps. SCARCE First Edition.

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