Remembering the West Ham Pals

This Remembrance Sunday at 11am please remember the 1,000 West Ham Pals killed in the first world war.

upthehammersOne of the reasons why the First World War was so traumatic an event to British society was that so many of the new infantry Battalions formed to fight in the trenches were the so called “Pals Battalions”. Where men could serve with local friends, neighbours or workers.

The West Ham Pals were officially called the 13th Battalion of the Essex Regiment. Unofficially they were West Ham football team supporters who joined on mass with their mates and whose battle cry (and bayonet charge) was “Up the Irons”.

recruitThe Battalion fought in some of the worse battles in the Somme, Vimy Ridge and Cambrai during the War and suffered many causalities with many killed, wounded or missing.

The impact of all these deaths and casualties in battle on the local community was therefore immense. About one quarter of the original battalion volunteers were killed and nearly half were returned to UK with severe injuries

This poster on the right was issued to help recruit for the Reserve Company of the West Ham Battalion. Formed at Brentwood in September 1915 they undertook their training in Cambridge and after a few men were initially sent as replacements to those men who had been killed in Laurie LeggDecember 1915, the unit became the 14th (Reserve) Battalion of the Essex Regiment under the command of the Mayor’s son, Captain Leo Dyer.

Sergeant Laurie Legg MM (right) was an Original volunteer to the West Ham Battalion. Born in Leytonstone and growing up in Wathamstow, he lived at home with four sisters in Forest Road

The West Ham Pals website can be found here 

In 2009 Sir Trevor Brooking unveiled a plaque at the Boleyn ground to remember the West Ham Pals. Hopefully this plague will be relocated to Olympic Stadium when we move next August.



About Sean Whetstone

I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called MooreThanJustaPodcast.co.uk. A Blogger on WestHamTillIdie.com a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at http://www.youtube.com/MrWestHamFootball, I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh. Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons! Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter

2 comments on “Remembering the West Ham Pals

  1. Sad tale, They were mostly boys, but good to imagine the battle cry!
    Respect to them all.

  2. R.I.P. the horrors they faced everyday can never really be understood by any one who was not there. The way wars are fought have changed due to the mindless slaughter of these brave souls. The way our men were sent over the top to their near certain death must have been terrifying for them.

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