The 6th Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment, was a pre-war Territorial battalion that recruited in the North Cheshire towns of Stockport, Hyde and Stalybridge, together with the Derbyshire town of Glossop. The majority of its part-time soldiers worked in the area s cotton mills and hat making factories. One of the first Territorial battalions to see action in the Great War, it went overseas in November 1914, taking part in the famous Christmas truce a few weeks later. In 1916, it saw major action during the Battle of the Somme. The following year, it suffered heavy casualties during the action around the Belgian town of Ypres, which is often known as the Battle of Passchendaele. In 1918 the Battalion fought to hold off German advances in the spring but, along with the rest of the BEF, was forced to retreat many miles. By the summer of that year the tide had turned and the Cheshire's took part in the final advances that ended the war in November. The story is told from the Battalion s formation in 1908 to its disbandment in the 1920s and beyond with details of the Old Comrades Association.
Official accounts are supplemented by the men s own words, taken from diaries, letters and newspaper reports.
John Hartley was born in North Cheshire, on the fringes of Manchester. He worked for Manchester City Council for a number of years before joining the Probation Service as an administrator. Now retired, he and his wife continue to live in the area. He is the author of 6th Battalion the Manchester Regiment in the Great War (Pen & Sword, 2010) and Bully Beef & Biscuits, Food in the Great War (Pen & Sword 2015). He has also researched the men commemorated on the war memorials in Stockport. That project sparked his interest in the 6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, the area s local Territorial unit, the subject of this book.