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The Manchester Bantams (Hardback)

The Story of a Pals Battalion and a City at War - 23rd (Service) Battalion the Manchester Regiment (8th City)

Local History WWI Family History Somme Social History 1916 1917

By Caroline Scott
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 351
ISBN: 9781783463893
Published: 6th January 2017


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In May 1916 Major Eustace Lockhart Maxwell, a former Indian cavalry officer, was given command of an infantry battalion in France. After 48 hours with his new unit, Maxwell wrote to his family: 'The outstanding characteristic of those who belong to it seems to be their extraordinary self-complacency! Esprit de corps is a fine thing, but the satisfaction with which they regard themselves, their battalion, its internal economy, its gallantry, its discipline, its everything else, is almost indecent! If at the end of a month my opinion of them is half as good as their own, I shall think myself uncommonly lucky.' This was the 23rd Manchester 'Bantam' Battalion, a unit entirely composed of men of a height between 5ft and 5ft 3”, and its esprit de corps was about to be severely tested.

The 'Bantams' left colourful, characterful, moving and often amusing records of their experiences. Using a wealth of previously un-published sources, this book follows the Manchester men through their training, their experiences of the Somme and the Third Ypres Campaign, to Houthulst Forest where, in October 1917, the Battalion was 'practically annihilated'.

Making the best of excellent sources and well-illustrated with contemporary photos this book could serve as a template for anyone considering writing a battalion history themselves.

WDYTYA? Magazine, February 2017 - reviewed by Phil Tomaselli

A fitting, well written and researched memorial to the battalion.

First-class history. 10/10

The Great War magazine, March 2017 - Mark Marsay

About Caroline Scott

CAROLINE SCOTT is originally from Lancashire. She has a PhD in History, a fascination with the First World War and a house full of khaki-coloured bric-a-brac. In addition to Those Measureless Fields, she is currently working on two non-fiction projects for Pen and Sword – a history of the Women’s Land Army during the First World War and a book about the Manchester ‘Bantam’ Battalion. Caroline lives in France and possesses more trench art than is probably tasteful.

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The Bantams (Hardback)

The Bantams tells the factual but well nigh incredible story of how the British and Canadian armies recruited over 50,000 short men to serve as front-line soldiers. Such Bantam battalions eventually numbered over twenty units in Britain, plus two battalions from Canada. The movement spread all over Britain, particularly the coal mining regions of Wales and Northern England, then to Canada, particularly among British immigrants there. Canadian military historian Sidney Allinson's researches took him to Britain, Canada, the U.S., and the old battlefields of Flanders. He contacted over 300 survivors…

By Sidney Allinson

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