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The “Pals” Who Went to War!

The Rev. Keith Fazzani will be speaking to the Appledore Local History Society at their next meeting on 14th November in the Appledore Methodist Hall.

This event is open to anyone who has an interest in Kent history, but specifically WW1 and its aftermath.

Time 19:00 to 21:30

The Talk:

Pals Battalions were a uniquely British phenomenon.  Britain was the only major power not to begin the First World War with a mass conscripted army.  After the war broke out, it quickly became clear that the small professional British Army was not large enough for a global conflict.

In a wave of patriotic fervour, many thousands of men volunteered for service in Lord Kitchener’s New Armies.  It was quickly realised that local ties could be harnessed for the benefit of the nation.  It was correctly envisaged that many more men would enlist if they could serve alongside their friends, relatives and workmates.

On 21 August 1914, the first Pals Battalion began to be raised from the Stockbrokers of the City of London and this concept was swiftly picked up throughout the United Kingdom.  It was Lord Derby who first coined the phrase ‘Battalion of Pals’

The talk will centre on Cory’s Unit “D” company of the 6th Battalion the Buffs. In 1914 many companies and organisations set up their “own” battalions and units. In Kent Cory’s a large coal merchant based on the Thames at Erith and Greenwich, set up D Company 6th Battalion of the Buffs comprising around 250 men. All the men were employees of Cory’s and included a wide range of men. Their occupations included coal porters, labourers and Thames bargemen. The Commanding Officer was the Managing Director’s son. This group of “Pals” set out for France on June 6th 1915. Many were never to return, as after first serving in the Ypres Salient they were involved in the largely disastrous attacks at Loos in the late summer and autumn of that year.  The talk will trace their short war, tell something of the families and the affect that such great losses had on a working community in North Kent.

About Keith Fazzani:

Keith has lived in Appledore for 32 years and is a Church of England priest. For the past 20 years he has been studying the battlefields of the Great War, in particular The Western Front. He spends several weeks each year visiting and exploring the battlefields. He is the Chaplain to and historian of, the Queen’s Own Buffs Regimental Association which represents the two historic Kent Regiments – The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment and The Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs).

Keith conducts battlefield tours, researches for and escorts relatives to where their predecessors fought and often died. He also undertakes research into various aspects of the Great War, in particular the involvement of the Kent Regiments. He writes articles and gives talks on Great War topics. Keith researched and produced the World War 1 exhibition in Tenterden Museum in 2014. He has also produced a small booklet on those from Appledore who lost their lives.

Refreshments served, all welcome

Event location