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10th (Stockbrokers') Battalion, Royal Fusiliers can genuinely claim to be the first of the many Great War Pals Battalion and this overdue book records its distinguished contribution in text and contemporary images.
The Battalion initially recruited young men from the Stock Exchange and City firms. Many could have applied for commissions but were reluctant to spend the time necessary for training. Members of the Stock Exchange from well-known families, like Rothschild and Rubens, served in the ranks alongside clerks from insurance, shipping and banks. The City connection was strengthened when the Lord Mayor, Sir Vansittart Bowater, was made Honorary Colonel in 1914. City Livery companies gave money to provide weapons as well as instruments for the Band.
The Battalion served in France and Belgium from July 1915 until March 1919. They were in action on the Somme and at Ypres. After facing the 1918 German Spring Offensive, they participated in the pursuit of the German Army back through France before ending the war at Charleroi.
Particularly poignant are the words of Battalion members from when it was formed in London in August 1914 until the end of the War. Many come from personal diaries and letters written at the time but the author also uses the War Diary of the Battalion and accounts of events written by participants after the War.
The publication of this superbly researched and readable book appropriately coincides with the Centenary of the Battalion's formation and comes at a time when interest in The Great War has never been greater.
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