Title: History of the Dorsetshire Regiment 1914 – 19 (Three Volume Set)
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2002
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – total 727 pages in 3 Volumes
Comments: History of the Regular, Territorial and Service battalions with Roll of Honour (1914-1921) showing place of burial or commemoration; list of honours and awards.
At over 700 pages this history is bigger than most and it is a good one. Apart from official sources it makes use of personal contributions thus introducing the human touch of the eyewitness which helps to make the story realistic and even more interesting.This history published in three parts, one each for the Regular, Territorial and Service battalions (those raised during the war). This reprint covers the Regular and TF battalions, each with their own index; And deals with the Service battalions and includes the Roll of Honour and the list of Honours and Awards for all battalions. It also has a separate index. There are numerous sketch maps in the text but no illustrations.
Battalions served on the Western Front, at Gallipoli, in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Palestine. By the end of the war the regiment had lost 4060 dead, collected 57 Battle Honours but was the only British infantry regiment not to get a VC. In August 1914 the 1st Battalion was in Belfast, in 15th Brigade, 5th Division; it arrived in France on 16th August 1914 and fought on the Western Front throughout the war. Its worst experience was at Hill 60 at the beginning of May during Second Ypres.
The Germans launched a gas attack which resulted in just under 500 casualties. At the end of 1915 the battalion was transferred to the 32nd Division with which it remained for the rest of the war. The 2nd Battalion was in India (Poona) when war broke out, part of the 16th (Poona) Brigade, 6th Indian Division.
It took part in the Mesopotamian campaign, was besieged in Kut and captured when General Townshend surrendered in April 1916. Reconstituted in July 1916 it became Corps Troops in the Tigris Corps and in January 1917 it was allocated to 9th (Sirhind) Brigade, 3rd Indian Division with which it went to Egypt in April 1918 and from there to Palestine where it was when the war ended. Unlike most infantry regiments which had at least two, the Dorsets had only one Territorial battalion – the 4th; subsequently a reserve and second reserve battalion were formed and the three battalions were designated 1/4th, 2/4th and 3/4th. The latter did not go overseas, the other two went to India in 1914.
In February 1916 the 1/4th went to Mesopotamia with 42nd Indian Brigade and fought through that campaign. The 2/4th went to Egypt in August 1917 and fought in Palestine in the 75th Division; it was disbanded in August 1918. Two Service (Kitchener) battalions were raised, 5th and 6th. The 5th began life as Army Troops and then joined the 11th Division with which it was at Gallipoli (August-December 1915) and from July 1916 on the Western Front. The 6th Battalion arrived in France with 50th Brigade, 17th Division, in July 1915 and stayed with it in France and Flanders for the rest of the war.
Apart from these battalions there are shorter accounts on the other, Home Service, battalions – 3rd (Special Reserve),7th, 8th and 1st Garrison Battalions and on a Dorset company in North Russia.