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Bristols Own A History
By Dean Marks. Hardback, 304 pages. Illustrated in black and white throughout. Published by Dolman Scott, 2011
Soon after war was declared in August 1914, the ‘Bristol Citizens Recruiting Committee’ was formed and recruiting got under way. Very soon it was decided to form a ‘special’ Bristol battalion and permission from the War Council was sought and granted. That battalion eventually became the 12th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. From its city of birth it received the soubriquet ‘Bristol’s Own’.
The battalion trained in Bristol until June 1915, then moved to Yorkshire and finally Salisbury Plain before, with 990 men and officers, it sailed to France on 21st November 1915. It took part in all the major battles in France, Flanders and Italy between then and October 1918 when it was disbanded.
One-third of its original men died, many more were disabled and 22 Battle honours were awarded.
This book tells the story from the pint of view not of the official historian, but of the ordinary infantry soldier that formed the ranks of ‘Bristol’s Own’. And in doing so fills a gap in the history of a famous regiment that is long overdue.