When the Great War began in 1914, it demanded the mobilisation of the entire population and the recruitment of a citizen army. The 8th (Service) Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment was in many ways a unit typical of the British Expeditionary Force. Yet, in recent years, military historians have tended to concentrate on recording the stories of the major Pals units raised by corporations and towns, meaning many of the unknown, but no less important battalions of the New Armies have been largely ignored. Stephen Barker and Christopher Boardman have constructed a very readable and fascinating account of this little-known battalion, have trawled local and national sources, examining personal letters, newspaper obituaries and a varied selection of photographs, many of which have never before been published. The soldiers' every-day lives are described and the actions in which they fought are forensically examined, making a contribution to the current debate about the extent to which the British Army was on a 'learning curve' during 1916-18. The story leads the reader from the initial euphoria of recruitment into Kitchener's Army, through the initiation into trench warfare, to the battles of the Somme, Arras and Passchendaele. It is an account of fortitude, endeavour and duty.