The 12th E Surreys were raised on 14th May 1915 by the Mayor and Borough of Bermondsey, and in October the battalion joined 122nd Brigade, 41st Division, the last of the Kitchener divisions. It remained in the same brigade throughout the war. A year later, May 1916, the division arrived in France where the battalion served until November 1917, when they were sent to Italy. In March 1918 they returned to France where the battalion remained for the rest of the war.The authors have made every effort to be accurate in their account, but the main aim has been to provide a narrative, not so much for the general reader as for the members of the Battalion Association and their friends. In pursuit of this aim they have included plenty of ‘yarns’ using the actual words of the individual narrator which, they believe, will prove the best part of the volume. In fact this is the most ‘anecdotal’ unit history I have yet come across. Reading it today, some ninety years later, it is clear that these personal contributions add a great deal to the story, bringing a feeling of reality to the scenes being described. There are plenty of references to individuals, references which are always welcome in what amounts to a family history, telling the day-to-day story of a close knit battalion. There is no doubt it will have brought to mind those who died and will have helped to recall incidents, localities, friendships and dangers shared. The division was one selected for the Army of Occupation in Germany and the battalion ended its war service on garrison duty in the Rhine bridgehead. 217 officers and 4,487 other ranks served with the battalion during the war, and total casualties amounted to 128 officers and 2,675 other ranks of whom 38 and 683 respectively died.The appendices contain a wealth of information, of great help to the researcher. There is the nominal roll of officers and men who served with the battalion; there is a list of cemeteries in which the dead are buried, each is numbered and keyed to the Roll of Honour so the place of burial can be checked; and there is the list of honours and awards. This is a very comprehensive history.
HISTORY OF THE 12TH (BERMONDSEY) BATTALION EAST SURREY REGIMENT
The battalion was in the 41st Division, fought on the Western Front from May 1916 to November 1917 then went to Italy. Returned to France in March 1918 where it served for the rest of the war.Roll of Honour, nominal roll of all who served, honours and awards.
J.Aston and L.M.Duggan
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2005 N&M Pres reprint (original pub1936). SB. x + 331pp with maps and illus.