‘This should be a battalion of pals, a battalion in which friends from the same office will fight shoulder to shoulder for the honour of Britain and the credit of Liverpool’, the words of The Earl of Derby in August 1914 upon the raising of 1,500 men in response to Lord Kitchener’s call for volunteers.

The idea, which had begun with London stockbrokers who formed a battalion within a week, caught on and soon battalions were being formed in all parts of the country. The units were raised and financed by local authorities who, after a period of basic training, handed them over to the War Office. Around fifty towns in England, Scotland and Wales raised battalions each of over 1,000 men.