(Recruiting area - Liverpool, Depot: Seaforth Barracks)
Forty-nine Battalions of the King's Liverpool Regiment were in existence during the
First World War, although the chances are that your soldier was in one of three basic
types: Regular, Territorial or New Army.
Regular: 1st, 2nd, 3rd(Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve).
The Reserve Battalions were made up from recalled Reservists. The 1st Battalion served
in France from 4 August 1914, and the 4th from 6 March 1915. The 2nd Battalion remained
in India throughout the War, while the 3rd Battalion remained in the UK.
Six Territorial Battalions existed before the outbreak of the First World War: 5th
and 6th Liverpool Rifles, 7th and 8th Liverpool Irish, 9th and 10th Liverpool Scottish.
In 1914 these Battalions accepted new recruits to expand to war strength. In September
and October 1914 all these Battalions formed new second line Battalions which were
numbered 2/5th, 2/6th etc., and the original first line Battalions became 1/5th etc.
The first line Battalions went to France in late 1914 and early 1915, while the second
line Battalions went to France in February 1917. Third line Battalions, 3/5th etc.,
were formed in May 1915, but they remained in the UK.
The New Armies were the result of Lord Kitchener's appeals for mass voluntary recruiting
in 1914-1915 and were known as 'Kitchener' or 'Service' Battalions. The 11th- 14th
(Service) Battalions were formed between August and October 1914 and went to France
between May and September 1915, with the 15th and 16th as Reserve Battalions, which
did not go to France. The four famous Liverpool Pals Battalions, numbered 17th- 20th
Battalions,were recruited between August and October 1914 by Lord Derby and went
to France in November 1915. Generally speaking, blue-collar workers joined the 11th-
18th Battalions whilst white-collar workers, especially the shipping, insurance and
brokerage clerks, joined the Pals, 17th- 20th Battalions.
Which Battalion can sometimes can be deduced from the rim of gallantry medals (DCM,
MM) where it will be expressed as, eg '6/LIVERPOOL'. Photographs and surviving badges
may also indicate the battalion. Territorials all wore badges distinct from the Regular
and New Army Battalions. If the badge is the standard horse of Hanover over a scroll,
but in white metal, then he was in the 7th or 9th Battalions; if it is in black,
then he was in the 5th Battalion. The Liverpool Rifles (1/6th and 2/6th Battalions),
Liverpool Irish (1/8th and 2/8th Battalions) and Liverpool Scottish (1/10th and 2/10th
Battalions) all wore their own distinctbadges. The Liverpool Pals (17th- 20th Battalions)
wore the 'Eagle and Child' crest of Lord Derby.
The two most common Battalions with Irish Connections are the 1/8th Battalion, known
as The Liverpool Irish and the 2/8th (Irish) Battalion.
Liverpool's large Irish community formed the 64th Lancashire Rifle Volunteer Corps
on 25 April 1860, one of many volunteer corps raised in Lancashire in response to
heightened tension with France. The Liverpool Irish became a volunteer (later territorial)
battalion of the King's (Liverpool Regiment) in July 1881. As such, it fought in
the Second Boer War and First World War, sustaining thousands of casualties in numerous
battles that prominently included Givenchy, Guillemont, Third Ypres, and the Hundred
Days Offensive. Disbanded in 1922, the Liverpool Irish reformed before the Second
Citizen Soldiers The Liverpool Territorials in the First World War By Helen B. McCartney Cambridge University Press
The popular image of the British soldier in the First World War is of a passive victim,
caught up in events beyond his control, and isolated from civilian society.
This 2005 book offers a different vision of the soldier's experience of war. Using
letters and official sources relating to Liverpool units, Helen McCartney shows how
ordinary men were able to retain their civilian outlook and use it to influence their
experience in the trenches. These citizen soldiers came to rely on local, civilian
loyalties and strong links with home to bolster their morale, whilst their civilian
backgrounds helped them challenge those in command if they felt they were being treated
The book examines the soldier not only in his military context but in terms of his
social and cultural life. It will appeal to anyone wishing to understand how the
British soldier thought and behaved during the First World War.