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Accrington's Pals: The Full Story (ePub)

The 11th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment (Accrington Pals) and the 158th (Accrington and Burnley) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Howitzers)

Military WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Arras WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Passchendaele WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Somme WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Ypres WWI > By Year > 1916 WWI > By Year > 1917 WWI > By Year > 1918 WWI > Pals Battalions World History

By Andrew Jackson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Pals
File Size: 3.8 MB (.epub)
Pages: 258
ISBN: 9781783468829
Published: 15th May 2013


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Andrew Jackson's new history tells the story of the Great War as it was experienced by the men of the 11th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment (Accrington Pals), the 158th (Accrington and Burnley) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Howitzers) and their families. Using information gathered from years of painstaking research in national and local archives and in private collections, he reconstructs, in vivid detail, the role played by these men on the Western Front.

His book, which draws extensively on diaries, memoirs and letters, follows both infantry and artillerymen into the bloodiest battles of the war to give a graphic close-up view of their experiences. It is a moving record of the wartime service of a select group of local men during a time of unprecedented conflict.

While histories of the 11th Battalion have been published before, that of the second Pals unit founded and raised by Accrington's mayor John Harwood has never been told in print. The stories of the two units come together to represent British forces in all the major campaigns on the Western Front: the Somme, Arras, Messines, Passchendaele, the German offensives of 1918 and the final advance to victory.

As Andrew Jackson tracks the movements of these men from their homes and then from one field of conflict to another, he gives a keen insight into their wartime lives and concerns. His book will be fascinating reading for anyone who is interested in the Great War, and for those who have a personal or family connection with Accrington and the neighbouring districts.

As featured in the Accrington Observer.

The author knows his stuff and he loves his subject. Jackson's book is at its most engaging and dramatic when it draws on the diaries, memoirs and letters from men in both the Pals and the Howitzers, to describe the realities of the major campaigns on the Western Front

Western Front Association, B. Benefer

The text is supported by a good selection of contemporary photos, useful maps and well-used quotes from eyewitnesses. The result is a useful and readable account of the fate of these two volunteer units and the sacrifices of their men.

History of War

Jackson truly brings home the brutal realities of combat from an evocative, firsthand perspective in this intriguing book published to mark the war's centenary.

Toy Soldier & Model Figure Magazine

A first class history. 10/10.

Great War Magazine

I doubt I am alone in associating the Pals battalions mainly with the 1st July 1916 and the effect of that day on the local communities that they came from. Yet their role in the war was of course much greater than this. Accrington not only raised a whole infantry battalion, but also rose to the challenge of forming an Artillery Brigade as well. In this new history Andrew Jackson looks to set the record straight with a comprehensive account of the war records of both units.

Building on the success of his website and drawing on over 30 years of research, Jackson provides an in-depth account of both units, utilising war diaries, local newspapers and a host of other sources.

From the conception and formation of the units, to their training and deployment, the sources (including many letters home and accounts written by the men) are used to great effect to paint a rich and detailed picture of the Accrington units and the men who were part of them.


I though this was likely to be a good book when I saw the name of the author. Andrew Jackson has, for many years, operated a website about the Accrington Pals, the 11th (Service) Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. It is a model of clarity and good research, and unlike many of the other works on this unit covers all of the “pals” story and not just the dreadful day of 1 July 1916. For any aspiring researcher of a unit, a battle or a war memorial, you would profit from looking at Jackson’s work as a standard to be achieved. The book is well written and engaging, taking us from pre-war days and providing non-Lancastrians with a good idea of the area and life there in 1914, through the days of enlistment and training and out into the theatre of war. In a sense, the climax comes early as the Accrington Pals went into action at Serre on the first day of the Somme, and suffered terribly heavy losses. Things were never quite the same again for the battalion but Jackson reveals that the local nature of the battalion remained for much of the war. The experience of the artillery brigade, a howitzer unit, was inevitably different but it too had its tragedies and triumphs and all are covered here. Excellent.

The Long Long Trail

About Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was born and raised in Accrington and he has been fascinated by the story of the Accrington Pals since first visiting the battlefields of the Western Front in 1972, accompanied by Harry Bloor, one of the Pals who went over the top on 1 July 1916. He began researching the history of the Pals in 1980 and has been accumulating information about them ever since. He is the creator of the Accrington Pals website (www.pals.org.uk). From its inception in 1997, the website has grown to more than 280 pages. He has also created the one of the best Peninsular War websites: www.peninsularwar.org

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