A History Of The Hull 92nd Brigade (Hull Pals) 1914 to 1919
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In 1917 they took part in the Battle of Arras, attacking Oppy Wood on the 3rd May, they were badly cut up and the local nature of the Hull Brigade was now badly diluted. The talk centres around this action and its aftermath.
Running time: at least 1 hour.
Follow the Hull men as they enlist into the Pals Battalions at the Hull City Hall in 1914, a type of unit that had never been seen before and would never be seen again. The Hull Pals were raised along class lines and was thought to be rather elite at the time. Four battalions of a thousand men each were raised from late 1914 to early 1915, the first of these Service Battalions was originally known as the 1st Hull, there were as yet no uniforms but each man was given an arm band denoting which battalion he was with. The 1st Hull was known as the Commercials and was made up of clerks, teachers and other men considered to have had a superior education, many of them would be promoted to officer rank later. The 2nd Hull was made up of tradesmen, the 3rd Hull was made up of sportsmen and sport enthusiast. As men still came in to the recruiting office another battalion was formed, 4th Hull, they were the odds and sods and got the name of "T'others". When I was a school teacher I interviewed Ernest Land of the 4th Hull many years ago and he felt the class distinction sharply, asked what type of men his unit consisted of he said: " Why the Commercials was the nobs battalion, made up of people like you" even after so many years he felt the class divisions bitterly.
In 1915 the 31st (Pals) Division) moved to Salisbury Plain for training and then on to Egypt to stem an expected Turkish attack that never came. In March 1916 the division was sent to France to prepare for the Somme offensive, On November 13th they attacked the village of Serre and were badly cut up, this was a bad day for Hull and flags flew at half-mast all over the city. In 1917 they took part in the Battle of Arras, attacking Oppy Wood on the 3rd May, again they were badly cut up and the local nature of the Hull Brigade was now badly diluted. The talk centres around this action and its aftermath. They fought numerous actions in the great German offensive of 1918 and in the eventual advance to victory. 2.000 men died serving with the Hull 92nd Brigade with three times that number maimed and wounded.
In conclusion the talk ends with a look at the great cemeteries in Northern France and the Hull men who still lie in the ground they once fought over.
© 2015 Barrie Barnes