... a tribute to the men of Accrington and District, Blackburn, Burnley, Chorley and the neighbouring villages, who volunteered, fought and died in the Great War 1914-1918
At 7.30 am in the bright sunshine of 1st July 1916, 700 men of the 11th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment - the 'Accrington Pals' - advanced from their trenches before the fortified village of Serre. Seven days of ferocious British artillery fire had preceded the first infantry of what was later to be known as the Battle of the Somme. The deep German dug-outs however, were relatively unscathed by the barrage and men emerged to the surface as the British soldiers were advancing slowly across 'no man's land'. Within twenty minutes, 585 'Pals' lay dead or wounded, cut to pieces by a withering hail of machine-gun and shell-fire. Accrington was the smallest town in Britain to organise the raising of a full battalion, and the manner of its creation increased the sense of loss and tragedy for the East Lancashire communities affected - for the 'Pals' battalions consisted of men drawn from the same town, villages and workplaces. In this new and revised edition of his popular short book, Bill Turner pays tribute to the men of the 11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington), East Lancashire Regiment, who fought and died in the Great War 1914-18.