Discover the secrets of your ancestors’ past
The First World War
Brendan Mullins
Genealogist
Irish Family Research
Kings Liverpool Regiment
(Recruiting area - Liverpool,  Depot: Seaforth Barracks)
Websites

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.

 

Territorial:

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.

 

New Army:

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 World War.

Books
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 unfairly.

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.

The History of the
King’s Regiment (Liverpool) 1914-1919
By E. Wyrall
3 vols., Published in 1935 by E. Arnold, London

These 3 volumes cover all Battalions in quite good detail for specific attacks. Contains maps of the principal operations.

Memorial to the men of the
8th King’s Regiment of Foot
Whitney Gardens, Liverpool.
Raiding party of the 1/8th (Irish)
King’s Liverpool Regiment.
Motto:
‘Érin go Bragh’
‘Ireland Forever’