What is a pals regiment?

Updated: 8/23/2023
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11y ago

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This wasn't so much a single regiment but referred to the practice of keeping groups of recruits from one town or football team or even one family together in the regiment. Because of the high Death Rate in the 1st world war the young men of whole towns were wiped out and the practice died out.

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17y ago
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16y ago

In peacetime Britain traditionally maintains only a small army. When war broke out in 1914 the British army was so small that the Kaiser dismissed it calling the British soldiers "contempable." Despite the initial surge to enlist Britain needed to expand its army as quickly as possible and so came up with the promise that those who joined up together (as pals) would stay together and fight together. Until that point Britain had recruited its soldiers on a county basis - Lancashire Regiment, Devonshire Regiment, etc. Now, with this promise in mind thousands of young men signed up in local groups. Every town was urged to match the commitment of its neighbours and produce its own company or battalion. There were even clerk's battalions or companies formed by old boys from a particular school or university. The result of all this was a recruiting sergeant's dream come true as groups of young men from all walks of life formed "Pals" units rapidly swelling the army numbers. However, disaster was just around the corner because pals that fight together die together. On the first day of the first battle of the Somme alone Britain suffered nearly 60,000 casualties. The Pals battalions were decimated and many were completely wiped out. Nothing could hide from those at home the scale and full Horror of the war they were involved in when the telegram boy called at every other house in every street of a small town bringing the awful news of husbands, fathers and sons. Not surprisingly recruitment quickly shifted back to its traditional methods with those joining or being conscripted from the same towns and villages being split and spread out through all the regiments. - I Warner

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11y ago

A pals regiment was a regiment recruited all in one town in England, or within one profession in a bigger city. The original BEF (British Expeditionary Force) sent to France in 1914 was very small as WWI armies went - only eight divisions. These were the "Old Contemptibles", a nickname they bestowed on themselves because the German Kaiser had scorned the BEF as England's "contemptible little army". The BEF was soon much reduced from battle casualties, so a much larger force was needed. The British still did not want to resort to conscription (a "draft") so they tried to promote volunteering, and one way thought of to do this was to allow "pals" to enlist and serve together in the same unit. There were several regiments of firemen, and even one of Accountants from the City of London, and regiments from every sizable town in this new army, sometimes called "Kitchener's Mob", after the Field Marshal who was still alive, and whose face appeared on the recruiting posters, pointing, with the caption "I Want You". It seemed a good idea, but sadly, the first action many of these pals regiments saw was on the Somme in 1916, when they were shot to pieces their first day in combat. This made for a very, very bad day in many towns back home.

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Q: What is a pals regiment?
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