Salford was late in recruiting for its Pals battalions, with many of its men already joining Territorial units and a new Pals battalion in Manchester. Yet within a year it had raised four Pals battalions and a reserve battalion. Raised mainly from Lancashire's most notorious slums, the men trained together in Wales, North East England and on Salisbury Plain, they had great expectations of success. On the 1st of July 1916 the Somme offensive was launched and in the very epicentre of that cauldron the first three of Salford's battalions were thrown at the massive defences of Thiepval - the men were decimated, Salford was shattered. Michael Stedman records the impact of the war from the start on Salford and follows the difficulties and triumphs. Whether the actions small or great the author writes graphically about them all. Unusual photographs and a variety of sources make this both a readable and a scholarly account.
Michael Stedman was born in Salford in 1949 and graduated from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne after which he became a school teacher in Manchester for 24 years. During the 1980's his first book, The Salford Pals, was published, followed in the early 1990's by The Manchester Pals. He moved to Worcester in 1994, subsequently devoting his time to many projects most of which centre on the Great War's history. Since 1995 he has written numerous books on the history of the Great War including, Thiepval, La Boisselle, Fricourt, Guillemont and Advance to Victory in the Battleground Europe Series as well as Great Battles of the Great War which accompanied a Tyne Tees / ITV series of the same name. He is married to a doctor, Yvonne, and has two sons.