Leeds Pals Recruiting Tram
1915. In this view Lieutenant Colonel S.C. Taylor and officers of Leeds Pals stand in front of the decorated tram in the June of 1915. Over 800 recruits passed through the tram, the Leeds Pals recruited approximately 2,000 troops, the average age was 20/21. Over four hundred individual battle honours were awarded. The policy of encouraging men to join the same units as friends and family extracted a terrible price on communities. Multiple losses were inflicted on neighbours and families when groups of Pals died together. Britain's involvement in the First World War began on the 4th August 1914. In response to Lord Kitchener's call for volunteers to join the army, Leeds solicitor, Colonel Walter Stead suggested a City Battalion. A recruiting office was located on City Square and this illuminated tram was one of the means used to draw attention to the campaign. It was decorated with patriotic and emotive posters, as seen directly in the centre; 'Remember Scarborough' This refers to the shelling of the east coast. Also displayed are the words 'More men and still more men until the enemy is crushed' and 'Boys, come over here'. There was an enthusiastic response from Leeds men and by the end of September over 1,000 had joined the Leeds Pals (15th Battalion). In addition to the 1st Leeds Pals it is important to remember other Leeds battalions including Leeds Rifles (7th and 8th battalions West Yorkshire Regiment) who were established and ready for duty before the Pals. The men were sent to Colsterdale Camp near Masham for training, to become the 15th battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. Initial duties were patrolling the coasts of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire then North Africa. The men saw action at Ypres and the Somme, where 750 of 900 men of the Leeds Pals perished.
One can only shed a tear for these poor brave recruits who trusted their country with blind faith.Reading these casualty figures is horrific and quite a few of my ancestors and their friends perished as a result. I don't think they would have recruited many had they had the insight of todays technology and social networking. There for the Grace of ......