Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.
With reviews of books that cover these topics
This book does what it says on the tin. It describes the ancestry of the battalion starting in 1853, and its militia background prior to being subsumed into Kitchener’s Army. The description of its late 19th century activities brings home to the reader how strong was the sense of civic responsibility in that era, and how well bound in to the rest of society was the militia. Some difference from 2019!
The battalion, like many Pals units, recruited from a relatively narrow community. Given it is near where I was raised, many of the surnames echoed with those with whom I was at school and grew up. Most of the names mentioned in the book are in relation to their fatality, and this underlines the devastating impact of Great War deaths on local communities.
The bulk of the book is a narrative of the battalion’s activities during the war, on an almost day-by-day basis. Together with an unvarying prose style, this becomes very boring. The prime source material is clearly the battalion’s war diary (which appears to have been reviewed on Ancestry rather than the National Archives). Given that Barber is focussing on a relatively small local area, one might have expected him to unearth some letters to/from the front and family which would inject some human interest into the narrative.
There are some maps at the beginning of the book, yet these are not cross-referenced in the narrative, and hence are of limited use.
Overall this book would be of great use as a reference for anyone with a relative who fought with the 1/6th Bn, but sadly is a very tedious read for anyone else.