Title: The Gloucestershire Regiment in the War 1914 – 1918
Author: Wyrall, Everard
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2003
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 357 pages and 20 maps
Comments: The records of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd (Special Reserve) and the 4th, 5th and 6th (First Line T.A.) Battalions, that is all the pre-war battalions. All (apart from the 3rd) served on the Western Front, the 2nd also served in Macedonia, and the three Territorial battalions spent the last year of the war in Italy.
As the subtitle states these are the records of the 1st (28th Foot), 2nd (61st Foot)), 3rd (Special Reserve) and 4th, 5th and 6th (First-Line T.A.) Battalions, in other words this is the history of the battalions of the regiment which existed prior to the outbreak of war. The one appendix lists the twenty-four battalions that existed during the war, indicating the theatre of war in which they served and in which division. Eight of these battalions did not serve overseas, and of the rest only one (7th Service Battalion) did not serve on the Western Front, it went with 13th Division to Gallipoli, Mesopotamia and Persia.
Total losses amounted to 8,100, 72 battle honours were awarded and in the appendix is shown which honours were awarded to which battalion, information I have not seen in any other Great War regimental history; and four VCs were won but only one of them by one of the battalions covered in this book (Pte G. Miles, 1/5th Battalion). In August 1914 the 1st Battalion was stationed in Bordon, part of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Division, and was among the first British troops to disembark in Le Havre, on 13th August. The first quarter of this book is concerned with the doings of the 1st Battalion which saw action in the early battles of the war – Mons and the retreat, the Marne, the Aisne, First Ypres and Givenchy.
The 2nd Battalion was in China when war broke out and came home to join the newly formed 81st Brigade, 27th Division which arrived in France in December 1914 and in November 1915 was transferred to Salonika, where it remained for the rest of the war. Three chapters of the book deal with the operations in that theatre of war. The three Territorial battalions were in the South Midland Division, later the 48th which crossed to France at the end of March 1915 and fought on theWestern front till November 1917, when it was sent to Italy where it remained till the armistice.
The final chapter gives the account of operations in that theatre. The author, a well known military historian, was probably the most prolific among the writers of regimental and divisional histories, some thirteen in all, and this account reflects the skill of the writer in producing a very readable narrative, which draws on the Battalion Diary, on individual accounts of actions, some quite lengthy, and makes use of footnotes to give casualty details in addition to those contained in the text, various comments, and items of information from other sources to confirm or add to the main text. The maps are good. There is no Roll of Honour nor list of honours and awards.