2/5th Bn Gloucestershire Regt 1914-18
By A. F. Barnes MC. Paperback,192 pages with 12 maps and 39 b&w photographs. Published by The Naval & Military Press, 2003
Facsmile reprint of the original 1930 edition.
The 2/5th Gloucestershire was a second line Territorial battalion, formed in Gloucester in September 1914 and allocated to the 2/1st Gloucester & Worcester Brigade of the 2nd South Midland Division. Both the latter formations were also second line, and in August 1915 were numbered 184th Brigade, 61st Division. The battalion remained in the same brigade throughout the war, serving on the Western Front from May 1916 (when the division landed in France) to the armistice. The Roll of Honour lists some 600 officers and men giving details of place of burial or memorial on which commemorated. There are also details of Honours and Awards. The battalion began its active service in the Laventie sector where the newly arrived division was alongside the newly arrived 5th Australian Division. Both divisions took part in the ill-fated attack on Fromelles in July which cost the Australians 5,500 casualties and the 61st Division 1,550; it also earned the division the soubriquet “61st and worst” from the Australians. 2/5th Glosters were in reserve and it was they who had the depressing task of bringing in and burying the dead, which took three or four days, nor did the Germans fire a shot on stretcher bearers and others wandering about No Man’s Land in broad daylight. The battalion moved down to the Somme at the end of October, too late for any of the battles but in time to follow up the German retreat to the Hindenburg in March/April 1917. Then Third Ypres, Cambrai and the German counter-attack, the March 1918 offensive during the first two weeks of which the division suffered some 6,000 casualties. In preparing this account the editor stresses that it purports to be the story of a battalion and so he has been “ruthless” in omitting a mass of material he received dealing centering round companies, platoons and sections. Furthermore he asserts that the narrative should reflect a human document rather than a treatise on military operations, and so he has included anecdotes wherever possible and mentioned names but excluded matters of a technical nature such as operation orders or dispositions of other units except where they affect the 2/5th Glosters. For the bare facts of the narrative he has relied almost entirely on the notes of three of the COs and on other officers and NCOs. Most of the photos are of individuals or groups.