It is just over a hundred years ago that members of the Leeds Pals realised the horror of war during the Battle of the Somme, which began on July 1. That terrible battle went on until September.
On July 1, 1916, 900 members of the Leeds Pals went into battle against the Germans in France. By the evening of that day, only 150 of them remained. The loss was so great it was said that every street in Leeds lost someone. It was also said that every officer in the attack was killed. By the time the battle ended in September, some 400,000 British had lost their lives.
The top picture was taken in 1915, before the soldiers set off for France.
The caption reads: “A group of Leeds Pals taken in 1915 during the recruiting campaign. Front row, left to right: R Kilner, M Booth, Captain G C Whittaker, J Jones, and A Dolphin.
“Middle row: Smithson, H Armitage and H Hartley.
“Back row: N Howarth, W Child, H Hemingway, Warburton, and A Hudson.
“Several of these names will be familiar to Yorkshire cricket followers.”
The second picture (below) was also taken in 1915, it’s caption reads: “Leeds Pals 15th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Leeds). George William Asby, 7th from right, third row from front.”
Leeds Pals was formed up in 1914 and ended up with about 2,000 in its ranks.
The idea of taking people from the same city and town was to boost camaraderie and therefore fighting spirit.
Most of those who signed up were in their early 20s and from professional and sporting backgrounds. Many who applied were rejected on medical grounds.
They also saw action in Suez but they are mostly remembered for the Somme.