Liverpool Territorials in the Great War

Paul Knight

Publication date:
September 2016
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
No associated books available.


The Territorial Force is the forgotten army of the First World War. Between the pre-war Regular Army, which attempted to stem the German advance in 1914, and the New Armies who took to the field with such disastrous consequences on the Somme in 1916, stood the Territorial Army. Liverpool's Territorials could be found on the Western Front before the famous Christmas truce of 1914, fighting in Gallipoli, and supporting the Canadians. Throughout 1916 and 1917, they succeeded and failed in some of the most brutal battles of the war. During the German 1918 Spring Offensive, Liverpool Territorials in the 55th (West Lancashire) Division halted the German advance, effectively ending Germany's final bid to win the war.

Amazingly, the Territorials were never intended, trained, or equipped for overseas service; their role was to defend the UK mainland against invasion. Yet men across Liverpool's diverse communities volunteered for the Territorials in the thousands, forming the core of two divisions during the war.

Formed in 1908, but building on the Volunteer tradition of the 1850s, the Territorials remain in Liverpool to this day. Renamed the Army Reserve, they are still training and volunteering for operations.

Offering a fresh, integrated perspective on the Territorial Army during the First World War, this is the remarkable story of the Liverpool Territorials.