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The Hull Pals

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hull commercials march into trenches near Doullens 18th June 1916Lord Kitchener was appointed Secretary for War in August 1914. His main task was to persuade men to join the British Army. At a meeting on the 19th August it was suggested by Sir Henry Rawlinson that men would be more willing to enlist if they knew they would serve with people they knew. Rawlinson asked his friend, Robert White, to raise a battalion composed of men who worked in the City. White opened a recruiting office in Throgmorton Street and in the first two hours, 210 City workers joined the army. Six days later, the Stockbrokers' Battalion, as it became known, had 1,600 men.

When Lord Edward Derby heard about Robert White's success he decided to form a battalion in Liverpool. Derby opened the recruitment office on 28th August 1914 and by the end of the day had signed up 1,500 men. It was Derby who first used the term a "battalion of pals" to describe men who had been recruited locally.

When Lord Kitchener heard about Derby's success in Liverpool he decided to encourage towns and villages all over Britain to organise recruitment campaigns based on the promise that the men could serve with friends, neighbours and workmates. These units were raised by local authorities, industrialists or committees of private citizens. By the end of September over fifty towns in Britain had formed pals battalions. The larger towns and cities were able to form more than one battalion. Manchester and Hull Had Four, Liverpool, Birmingham and Glasgow had three and many more were able to raise at least two battalions. In Glasgow one battalion was drawn from the drivers, conductors, mechanics and labourers of the city's Tramways Department.


 

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