The 17th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (17 NF) was raised by the North Eastern Railway at Hull in September 1914 and became a Pioneer battalion in January 1915. In June 1915 the battalion moved to Catterick where it joined 32nd Division as the divisional pioneer battalion. The division embarked for France in November 1915 and the next six months were spent in the Somme sector around Albert, Bouzincourt and Meaulte. The battalion took part in the opening battle of the Somme at Thiepval and its actions are described in detail. In October 1916 it left the division and joined GHQ Railway Construction Troops until the end of August 1917. It then rejoined the division at Nieuport on the North Sea coast for a couple of months before again joining the Railway Troops. In May 1918 the battalion was transferred to the 52nd (Lowland) Division, which had just arrived on the Western Front from Palestine, and remained with it as Pioneer Battalion to the end of the war.
The narrative of this history comes in great part from personal diaries and letters lent by many members of the battalion and as far as possible the actual words of the originals have been used. Tthe author has filled in gaps to make a consecutive narrative and added here and there details gleaned from the official War Diaries. He has made a point of including as many as possible of the little incidents that went to make up life at the front, some very pleasant others very hard, as well as doing justice to the greater achievements. Most useful to genealogists, medallists and researchers
are the nominal rolls which consist of the embarkation roll of officers, a list of officers joining subsequently with dates, the roll of men who served with the battalion showing number, rank, name, company, whether embarked with the battalion, casualty details and any awards. One appendix gives a short account of the 32nd Battalion which was formed at Ripon in November 1915 from depot companies of the 17th Battalion as a reserve battalion. In September 1916 it became the 80th Training Reserve Battalion.
RECORD of the 17th and 32nd BATTALIONS NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS (N.E.R. Pioneers). 1914-1919
The war service of a battalion that served on the Western Front as divisional pioneers of 32nd and 52nd Divisions and as GHQ railway construction troops. Detailed list of officers and men who served in the battalion noting casualties and awards.