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St. Helens Pals (Lancashire)


Guest BrendaF
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Can anybody tell me anything about the St. Helens Pals. My dad Walter Fairclough joined them when he was only 17 years of age along with other miners from Sutton and served all through the war, he was wounded in the stomach where it happened I don't know. He never spoke about what happened in the war but every Armistice Day he would put on his service medals and go to the Cenotaph. Through him being wounded he joined the British Red Cross in St. Helens and in the 1930's was in charge of the branch and was the First Aid Attendant at UGB. My sons don't know very much about their Grandfather and I would like to leave something about where he was in the First World War. I can't get about like I use to and I can't go visiting the Queen's Lancashire Regiment Museum or to St. Helens to the Library.

Somebody please help me.

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Welcome to the Forum

Will that be the 11th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment? If so, then probably the best overview will be the Regimental History "Ich Dien" by Captain H Whalley-Kelly.

Your local main library is almost bound to have a copy. However, you say that you cannot travel there. Perhaps your nearby library can arrange with the main library for you to read it locally. Or, perhaps your sons could go to St Helens and read it for themselves.

Google also indicates that the local family history society is researching the battalion with a view to writing a more detailed history. I suggest you make contact with them as well.

John

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Mary

Here is a little more information from the LLT about 11th Battalion South Lancs:

11th (Service) Battalion (St Helens Pioneers)

Formed in St.Helens on 1 September 1914 by Lord Derby. Moved to Bangor in February 1915.

15 May 1915 : moved to Grantham and attached as Pioneer Battalion to 30th Division. Adopted by War Office 15 August 1915. Moved to Larkhill in September 1915.

Landed at Le Havre on 7 November 1915.

15 May 1918 : reduced to cadre strength.

19 June 1918 : attached to 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division.

30 June 1918 : returned to England with 75th Brigade of 25th Division.

3 July 1918 : absorbed the 18th Bn at Aldershot and returned to France as Pioneers to 25th Division.

Service with the 30th Division until June 1918:

http://www.1914-1918.net/30div.htm

then with the 25th Division until the end of the war:

http://www.1914-1918.net/25div.htm

Again from the LLT an explanation of a Pioneer Battalion:

Infantry Pioneer and Labour or Works Battalions

An early solution to the vast demand for labour was to create in each infantry Division a battalion that would be trained and capable of fighting as infantry, but that would normally be engaged on labouring work. They were given the name of Pioneers. They differed from normal infantry in that they would be composed of a mixture of men who were experienced with picks and shovels (i.e. miners, road men, etc) and some who had skilled trades (smiths, carpenters, joiners, bricklayers, masons, tinsmiths, engine drivers and fitters). A Pioneer battalion would also carry a range of technical stores that infantry would not. This type of battalion came into being with an Army Order in December 1914. In early 1916, a number of infantry battalions composed of men who were medically graded unfit for the fighting were formed for labouring work. They had only 2 officers per battalion. Twelve such battalions existed in June 1916.

http://www.1914-1918.net/labour.htm

Regards

Mel

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Mary

Here is your dad's Medal Index Card:

post-859-1236877388.jpg

It confirms that he arrived in France with his Battalion on 6th November 1915; entitled to the 1914-15 Star and British War& Victory Medals; discharged to Reserve Z on 13th January 1919.

Regards

Mel

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Mary

Walter's number indicates that he joined the Battalion in Spetember 1914. As mentioned earlier, local historian Dave Risley is working on a history of the battalion, focussing on personal stories and experiences rather than a "traditional" battalion history. I will PM you Dave's email address and perhaps you could contact him directly.

The 1918 Absent Voter List for St Helens shows Walter Fairclough living at 120, Herbert Street, St Helens. Registered at the same address is 241278 Pte. John James Fairclough, 2/4th Bn., South Lancashire Regiment. Presumably this is Walter's brother.

If you visit my web site here and look for the pages of CSM Herbert Louis Boyer, Pte Harry Byron or Pte Henry Roughsedge, you will find some details of actions in which the Battalion was involved. Walter may well have known these men as they all enlisted around the same time.

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[Thank you all for your information, I have copied it all down to use later. I contcted a Richard Waring who also asked for information about the St. Helens Pals and sent him some photographs of my dad and some of his pals also one of the mustering of the Pals and one of my uncle who was in the Middle East, I loaned these photos to the History Library in St. Helens when they had an exhibition a couple of years ago 'Come on Chums'. I will be visiting the various sites that you have sent.

Thank you all again

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