When the Pals marched off to war

Harry Lloyd in the summer before war broke out

Today marks 104 years since the start of the Battle of the Somme when almost 20,000 British soldiers died just on that one day of a battle which lasted over four months.

My grandad, Harry Lloyd was there with his Pals because when the call for volunteers went out in 1914 from the Earl of Derby 19-year-old Harry signed up with thousands of other lads from Liverpool to serve in the King’s Own Regiment, four battalions of which came to be known as Liverpool Pals.

Clerks and managers, factory workers and foremen signed up to serve alongside their fellow workers.

Harry’s cousin, Bill Roberts, was already serving in the Territorial battalion of the KAR known as the Liverpool Scots and he went to France in the first wave in 1914.

His younger brother Bob Roberts also answered the call and became part of the 19th Battalion – grandad was in the 20th Battalion.

Harry and Bob went to France in 1915 after six months of training.

Grandad and his cousins met behind the lines when they could and one such meeting came in June 1916 when they had their pictures taken.

Harry and Bob June 1916
Bob Roberts Liverpool Scots June 1916

Soon after the 19th and 20th battalions of the KAR were sent to the Somme. The Liverpool Scots were elsewhere on the front and arrived at the Somme mid-July.

On that summer day 1 July 1916 Harry and Bob went over the top. By the end of that grim day Harry had survived against all odds.

Private Robert ‘Bob’ Roberts of the 20th Battalion King’s Own Regiment Liverpool Pals lay dead on the battlefield of the Somme.

Today I remember Bob – and Harry and Bill.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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