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The King's Men (Paperback)

The Sandringham Company and Norfolk Regiment Territorial Battalions, 1914–1918

Military > Regimental History WWI > By Year > 1914 WWI > By Year > 1915 WWI > By Year > 1916 WWI > By Year > 1917 WWI > By Year > 1918

By Neil R Storey
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781399021401
Published: 10th April 2024



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The 4th and 5th Battalions, The Norfolk Regiment were formed as battalions of the new Territorial Force in 1908 and were deployed with 54th (East Anglian) Division to Gallipoli in 1915. Most significantly the 1/5th Battalion was unique in that it contained The Sandringham Company, the only unit to be raised entirely from a Royal Estate.

Tragically the 5th Battalion was decimated during an attack on 12 August 1915 and a myth arose that the Sandringham Company, along with King George V's Agent Captain Frank Beck, disappeared without a trace, presumed to have been overwhelmed by their Turkish adversaries.

The Battalion was rebuilt and saw out the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign being evacuated to Egypt in December 1915. Thereafter the 1/4th and 1/5th Norfolk Territorial Battalions served with distinction in Palestine as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

Neil R. Storey has compiled a fascinating history of these battalions' distinguished service using contemporary records and personal accounts illustrated with a splendid selection of photographs. The result is a fitting tribute to the memory of these brave soldiers.

This highly recommended and well written work is a fine memorial to the Norfolk Territorials in the Great War. While of particular interest to Norfolk families, it deserves wide readership.

Stand To!, The Western Front Association - No. 123

The book has poignant use of photographs. Before you even begin to read the story,  a photograph is opposite the introduction of soldiers of the. Downham Detachment, 5th Battalion, on parade for the camera, with their home town of Downham Market bidding them farewell, 5th August, 1914.  Whilst it is a book that will interest a large readership, the local elements of this story are interwoven throughout. The Roll of Honour at the back of the book is further testament to the loss endured.

Jon Sandison

Listed in ‘Books of the month’ by Bruce Kemble-Johnson

Let’s Talk!, June 2020

A curious and interesting book, tribute to the distinguished service of the brave who made up these regiments.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

The Sandringham Company was the only Company in the British Army to be raised entirely from a Royal Estate . This is an absorbing account Norfolk Territorials who fought at Gallipoli and created a legend . – Very Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


‘Pass the time with a good book’

Norfolk magazine, May 2020

Based around the Sandringham Company and Norfolk regiment territorial battalions during the First World War, and basically their amalgamation. I have to say from that outset that this is an excellent book, well written, well researched and a fine volume to read. Sadly the 5th were decimated on the 12th August 1915, they had seen action in southern Europe and fought with honour and pride before being overwhelmed. All before seeing out the end of the war fighting in northern Africa. This book is written based on contemporary records, accounts and stories of the time.

The opening chapters look at Norfolk life and the formation of the company, which is very good in setting the scene of their story and then the following chapters look into the mobilization and training. We then have the various campaigns they were associated with from the Gallipolis to Palestine. There is a very good Roll of Honours at the back of the book, which makes the book more impressive and helps to bring the stories to the heart of the reader. The photographs, maps, orders and notices included in this are impressive and really do benefit the story greatly. This is by far a brilliant read and very well written.

UK Historian

Well written and well researched with many illustrations and letters, giving a very real sense of the times and the men involved.

Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

Neil Storey manages to compose a very interesting and passionate book, which once again demonstrates the effort and war contribution of small British communities during the Great War tragedy.

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

Brilliant local (Norfolk) social historian Neil Storey tells the story of the Norfolk Regiment and its campaigns during and after the Great War. Beutifully illustrated and full of amazing and fascinating facts, this is social and military history at its very best.

Books Monthly

Featured 'On the bookshelf' with Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, February 2020

This a well constructed and researched book about 1/5 Norfolks whilst avoiding the sensationalism long since attached to the loss of the ‘Sandringham Company’ at Gallipoli. It deals with that loss well, delivering plenty of sources that direct the outcome to advancing too far, without support, and a sad but inevitable loss of most of the men who had advanced that far. A fine piece of research overall that rightfully deals with later actions in Palestine, not just Gallipoli.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Neil R Storey

NEIL R STOREY is an award-winning historian and author who specialises in the impact of war on British society in the first half of the 20th Century. A graduate of the University of East Anglia, he lectures across the UK and has assembled a fine collection of original First and Second World War images to illustrate his works. Neil has published over forty books, has written for national magazines and journals and appears on television documentaries and factual programmes as a guest historian including Who Do You Think You Are? and The Buildings That Fought Hitler.
Neil's other books published by Pen and Sword Books Ltd include: The King’s Men: The Sandringham Company and Norfolk Regiment Territorial Battalions 1914 – 1918, Beating the Nazi Invader and Britain’s Coast at War.

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