Title: History of the Queens Royal (West Surrey) Regiment in the Great War
Author: Wylly, H C
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2003
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 308 pages
Comments: The history of the Regiment in the Great War in which eleven out of twenty-seven battalions went on active service on the Western front, in Italy, Gallipoli, Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia and India. 8,000 died, two VCs were won.The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) was the second oldest regiment of the line, the 2nd Foot.
This volume of the regimental history is the story of the regiment in the Great War during which the original five battalions (two regular, one special reserve and two territorial) expanded to twenty-seven, five of which were raised as Labour battalions. In June 1917 these were taken over by the Labour Corps which had been formed two months earlier.
Of the remaining battalions eleven went on active service, the rest did not leave the UK. This book deals with all of them, taking each battalion in turn, so there is little room for detail, especially in the case of those battalions that did not serve overseas, which are dealt with very briefly.
Most space is allotted to the 1st and 2nd Battalions, nearly half the book. The regiment was awarded 74 Battle Honours, the fourth highest number awarded to a regiment, and four VCs two of which were to officers serving with other units. It is strange that one of the two who won the award while serving in one of the battalions, L/cpl W.Sayer of the 8th Battalion, doesn’t rate a mention in the book. Personnel losses amounted to 8,000.
There is a very good photo of the 1st Battalion on parade on mobilization, some 1,000 officers and men; next to it is a photo of the same battalion parading on 9th November 1914 at the end of First Ypres – two officers and about forty men. Battalions of the regiment served in all theatres of war: Western Front, Italy, Gallipoli, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Palestine and India. Macedonia is also included on the war memorial thus acknowledging 95th and 96th Labour Companies which had started out life as the 14th Queen’s.
The narrative describing the actions of the battalions gives names of officers present for duty at various times, reports casualties and names individuals in action; but there is no roll of honour nor lists of honours and awards. There is a good index.