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Webmatters : The King's (Liverpool Regiment) Pals Memorial at Montauban
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The King's (Liverpool Regiment)

Location

Montauban is a village about 10 kilometres east of Albert. 5 kilometres from Albert on the D938 (Albert-Peronne), turn east onto the D64 and the village of Montauban will be found 4 kilometres along this road. The monument is in the centre of the village near the junction towards Quarry Cemetery. There is enough room to park a vehicle.

Liverpool Pals Memorial at Montauban de Picardie

 

Background

The Liverpool Pals of the King’s Regiment were amongst the very first to be formed following Lord Kitchener’s demand for volunteer soldiers (The 17th Bn is credited as being the very first).

Lord Derby’s idea to form Pals Battalions was published in the local press and announced a meeting to be held on 28th August 1914. Men “wishing to join a battalion of comrades to serve their country together” were invited to attend.

The result was overwhelming and by 1000 hours on the 31st August 1,050 men had been recruited at St George’s Hall; this would become the 17th Battalion. Lord Derby told the waiting thousands to return on 2nd September.

The influx of volunteers continued and on the 2nd September a second unit, the 18th Battalion was formed followed on the 7th by the 19th Battalion. By then over three thousand men had come forward and enough were still offering their services that in November the 20th Battalion was formed.

Normally as part of the King’s Regiment the battalions should have worn the White Horse of Hanover cap badge but in honour of Lord Derby the King gave them permission to wear the Derby crest of the Eagle and Child as well as his family motto of Sans Changer (Without changing).

In Manchester the Lord Mayor was responsible for the recruitment of the City’s 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Battalions of the Manchester Regiment. These would eventually form the 90th Brigade of 30th Division, whilst the King’s battalions formed the 89th Brigade.

Like so many other volunteers who had joined with friends or workmates the Liverpudlians and Mancunians were to fight their first battle on the Somme in 1916.

On the far right of the British front line alongside the French the 30th Division successfully captured Montauban on the 1st July 1916. The bombardment had been effective and the German defenders were slow to react when the bombardment lifted from their front line. The British and French dashed forward at 0730 hours and the first objectives were swiftly taken.

There is a commemorative panel near Maricourt (the Allied front line) commemorating the advance side by side of the 17th Bn King’s Regiment and that of the French 153e Régiment d’Infanterie.

Montauban was in British hands just after 1000 hours and remained so until 1918 when it was retaken during the German advance.

Despite its success the 30th Division still suffeed 3,011 casualties. They remained in the area fighting at Trônes Wood and Guillemont up until the end of July.

 

The Memorial

Liverpool Pals Memorial at Montauban de Picardie

The author Graham Maddocks was the instigator of a subscription fund to raise a memorial to the four battalions of Pals from Liverpool and Manchester.

The memorial stone was designed by Derek Sheard and unveiled by Major General Peter Davies, Colonel of the King’s Regiment on 1st July 1994.

On one face it carries the Liverpool Service Battalions’ cap badge of the Eagle and Child on the other that of the Manchester Battalions.

There is also as an inscription in English and French honouring the men from Manchester and Liverpool who formed part of the 30th Division.

To the glorious memory of the
Liverpool and Manchester Pals
Who as part of the 30th Division
Liberated this village
1st July 1916

 

Other memorials in the area