Facebook X YouTube Instagram TikTok NetGalley
Google Books previews are unavailable because you have chosen to turn off third party cookies for enhanced content. Visit our cookies page to review your cookie settings.

The Newcastle Commercials (ePub)

16th (S) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers in the Great War

Military > Regimental History WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Somme WWI > Battles & Campaigns > Ypres WWI > By Year > 1915 WWI > By Year > 1916 WWI > By Year > 1917 WWI > By Year > 1918 WWI > Pals Battalions

By Ian S Johnson, Edited by Nigel Cave
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 62.4 MB (.epub)
Pages: 680
ISBN: 9781526735324
Published: 29th October 2021


£6.99 Print price £25.00

You save £18.01 (72%)

Click here for help on how to download our eBooks

You'll be £6.99 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase The Newcastle Commercials. What's this?
Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available Price
The Newcastle Commercials Paperback Add to Basket £25.00

The planning for the raising of what was to be come16th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, started within two days of the outbreak of the war. The initial efforts took on a more professional look within a month, when the Newcastle Chambers of Commerce set about raising money and aiming to raise several battalions in response to Lord Kitchener's call for men.The outcome was a Pals battalion, the 1st Newcastle Commercials.

Arriving in France at the end of 1915, the battalion, like so many others of its type, had its first experience of a major action on the Somme on 1st July 1916, in its case in the forlorn attempt to capture the German front line village of Thiepval. The outcome is well known; a disaster that ravaged the battalion's ranks. However, the battalion was reinforced, reorganised and took its part in actions at Ovillers and along the Ancre as the battle grinder on over the next four and a half months.

In 1917 it was involved in the advance on the Hindenburg Line and was then transferred to the North Sea coast, with the intention of taking part in the daring plan to launch a major amphibious landing behind the German lines in the summer. This was thwarted by a masterly pre-emptive German counter stroke. By the end of the year the battalion was engaged in operations in the northern part of the Salient after the Battle of Third Ypres (Passchendaele) had formally ended. In early February 1918 the battalion was disbanded as part of a general reorganisation of the BEF, which saw divisions losing three of their twelve infantry battalions.

In outline it is a common story; but, as for all the Pals battalions, its unusual origins and its very close connection to a local area, in this case Newcastle, provides an enduring fascination for today's generation. Ian Johnson has worked extraordinarily hard to gather documents from members of the battalion - letters, diaries and recollections - as well as numerous photographs. He has prepared extensive appendices on its membership and its casualties. The outcome is a fitting tribute to these young men from Newcastle men of a century ago who, for whatever motive, answered their country's call, all too many of whom paid for it with their lives or their health.

This huge piece or work by Ian Johnson, adds another valuable piece of history to the local story of the Great War of Britain. The work, dedicated to the 16th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, gives comprehensive account of a Battalion local story, but set against its experience of war. In turn, not only does Johnson’s work give us a valuable insight to the North East of England experience of war, but also it give us a crucial dimension of how this all fitted into the British story...

What a terrific book this is. It is a testimony to many years of meticulous and dedicated research, alongside research into this very special unit.

Jon Sandison

This book basically tells you the whole story of the Newcastle Commercials, 16th (S) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers in the Great War. We have here every single detail you could ask for here from the house to the kitchen sink thrown in too. It looks at the soldiers, the war, battles they were involved in, the stories, the achievements the honours and the history. There is so much information and detail, this book has been written as if it’s someone’s life’s work, so huge credit to the author and editor. Also in the book is a wealth of photographs, diagrams and newspaper adverts etc following the battalion which gives the book a good bit of credit. This is a hugely impressive book an awesome book to recommend to others who love their Great War history.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

This is a book with real heft, the culmination of thirteen years of single-hearted research. Now with respected publisher Pen and Sword, this is a revised edition of Ian Johnson’s earlier, impressive hardback (Newcastle Battalion of World War One) published in 1914 to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War.

Hexham Local History Society - Spring 2022 Newsletter

Notwithstanding that point, this appears to be a model regimental history and I have no hesitation in giving it five stars.

Read the full review here


This is an excellent study of a battalion. It will be of great value to anyone interested in the Newcastle Commercials, the Northumberland Fusiliers, the 32nd Division or the Great War history of the northeast of England.

Read the full review here

The Long, Long Trail

Featured in

Great War IPMS, Great War SIG newsletter – October 2021

About Ian S Johnson

Ian Johnson has always been a Newcastle Commercial man, starting work at the age of sixteen in the well-known Bainbridge Department Store in 1977, now part of the John Lewis Partnership.
Bainbridge’s was established in 1838 and is recognised as the first department store in the world. During the call for volunteers for Kitchener’s New Army over sixty men and boys from the store rushed to volunteer to serve King and Country in early September 1914. The battalion they joined was the first one to be raised by civilian efforts on Tyneside, the ‘Newcastle’ Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers, 16th (Service) Battalion, known as the 1st Commercials.
Some years back Ian was researching for material for two short books on the Bainbridge war memorial, Bainbridge: Our Fallen Heroes 1914-18; and 1939-45, telling the stories of the forty-one men honoured on the memorial, stories that were in danger of being completely forgotten. One battalion’s name came up time and time again in the course of this work on the first of the books: the Newcastle Commercials and a date, the 1st July 1916. A journey of discovery began, fired by a committed desire to retell the story of the Newcastle Commercials. This book is the outcome, along with other projects, both in Newcastle and in France, to raise the profile of the battalion and to honour the memory of the men who fought and died whilst serving in it.
Ian still works at John Lewis in a semi-retired position, enabling him to spend more free time fund raising and researching for other projects.

About Nigel Cave

Nigel Cave is the founding editor of the Battleground Europe series and has contributed some twenty titles to it.

More titles by Ian S Johnson

More titles by Nigel Cave

Other titles in Pen & Sword Military...