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Nelson at War 1914–1918 (Paperback)

The History of the Nelson Battalion of the Royal Naval Division

WWI Somme Gallipoli 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 Military

By Roy Swales
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 242
Illustrations: 50
ISBN: 9781526761149
Published: 18th November 2019


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The Royal Naval Division, a fighting formation of naval ratings and Royal Marines, was formed at the instigation of Winston Churchill at the beginning of the First World War. At first under the control of the Admiralty, it fought at the defence of Antwerp in October 1914 and through the whole of the Gallipoli campaign. In 1916 the Admiralty handed the Division over to Army control. Re-named the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, it fought with great distinction and success with the BEF in France and Belgium.

The division was always an odd ball formation, fighting under the White Ensign, and its eight naval battalions were named after great admirals. The greatest of them all, Vice Admiral Horatio, Viscount Nelson, gave his name to Nelson Battalion. Like the other naval battalions, the Nelson had a complement of officers and ratings of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and Royal Fleet Reserve seamen and stokers. Nearly 800 would lose their lives in the three and half years of its fighting existence.

The book traces the history of Nelson Battalion from August 1914 to February 1918 when it was disbanded. Against the background of the battalions movements and battles the fate of its sailor-soldiers is revealed, more than 300 individuals being mentioned in the text. A full roll of honour is also included.

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