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Harrogate Terriers (Hardback)

The 1/5th (Territorial) Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War

Military WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Cambrai WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Passchendaele WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Somme World History > UK & Ireland > England > Yorkshire & Humberside

By John Sheehan
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 351
Illustrations: 100
ISBN: 9781473868120
Published: 13th February 2017



Book of the Month!

The Harrogate Terriers has been announced as Forces War Records Book of the Month, February 2017. 

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Using original personal and military diaries, with hundreds of carefully selected newspaper extracts, letters and photographs, this book traces individual stories of tragedy and heroism, involving tradesmen, apprentices, lawyers, musicians, sportsmen, brothers, husbands and fathers from Harrogate and the West Riding. As such, it characterises the experience of the British Infantryman in the Great War.

The Territorials of the 1/5th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment were the unsung heroes of the Great War. These ‘Saturday Night Soldiers’ from York and the northern West Riding of Yorkshire went out to face the might of the German Army in April 1915. Through the hot summer and dark winter that followed, they stopped bullets at the Battle of Aubers Ridge and choked on Phosgene gas at Ypres.

Caught in the carnage of the notorious first day on the Somme, the West Yorkshire Territorials were held up by General Haig as convenient scapegoats for his tactical failure, only for the 1/5th Battalion to prove him wrong and redeem itself as an attacking force at the Battle of Thiepval Ridge, and then again at Passchendaele in 1917.

In the last year of the war, the battalion helped fight a rear-guard action on the Menin Road, and was effectively wiped out at the Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge, only to be re-constituted in time to take part in the bloody advances at Cambrai and Valenciennes, which helped bring the conflict to an end.

Article part of Armistice centenary feature 'The Harrogate war heroes' as featured by

Harrogate Advertiser, 8th November 2018 – words by Hollie Bone

All in all, a superb and very interesting book. Recommended.

Medal News, September 2018 - reviewed by Allan Stanistreet

This book is an important reminder of the importance of the Territorial Battalions during the Great War...

The content is excellently researched and written by the author, pulling together newspaper extracts, photos, and letters. Moreover, and so importantly, it follows the individual stories of the local men who served, many in occupations such as railwaymen, tradesmen, waiters, apprentices, lawyers, and musicians.

Jon Sandison, Freelance

Editor's Choice

This excellent unit history tells the story of the men from the Yorkshire towns of Knaresborough, York, Ripon and Selby. Men who fought with honour at places like Aubers Ridge, Ypres, Thiepval, Passchendaele and Valenciennes, places where over 800 of them lost their lives. In this first-rate work the author traces the history of this Battalion from start to finish.

Highly recommended. 10/10

The Great War magazine, reviewed by Mark Marsay

This is an excellent example of a modern unit history. It is clear that the underlying research is rock-solid, drawing upon a wide range of official and operational accounts, local newspapers and a variety of unpublished manuscripts and records. The book is also well and fluidly written, easing the reader through what at times are complex periods of war. I particularly liked the clarity of a series of sketch maps that illustrate the key actions.

Read the full review here.

The Long, Long Trail

This is a fascinating biopic of a specific battalion of Territorial Army soldiers who suffered an appalling slur at the hands of General Haigh and then went on to show him up for his stupidity and duplicity. John Sheehans's research sets the record well and firmly straight!

Books Monthly

As featured in

York Mix

As featured in

Ripon Gazette

As reviewed in

Lincolnshire Life Magazine

As featured in

Harrogate Advertiser

About John Sheehan

John Sheehan studied military history at King’s College London, and has written numerous articles on the First World War for the Harrogate Advertiser and other papers. He plays village cricket for Burnt Yates CC, and enjoys the magnificent view of Nidderdale from square leg. John is married with a son.

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