The Manchester Bantams

The Story of a Pals Battalion and a City at War - 23rd (Service) Battalion the Manchester Regiment (8th City)

Caroline Scott

Date Published :
March 2017
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
100 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781783463893
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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In May 1916 Major Eustace Lockhart Maxwell, a former Indian cavalry officer, was given command of an infantry battalion in France. After 48 hours with his new unit, Maxwell wrote to his family: ‘The outstanding characteristic of those who belong to it seems to be their extraordinary self-complacency! Esprit de corps is a fine thing, but the satisfaction with which they regard themselves, their battalion, its internal economy, its gallantry, its discipline, its everything else, is almost indecent! If at the end of a month my opinion of them is half as good as their own, I shall think myself uncommonly lucky.’ This was the 23rd Manchester ‘Bantam’ Battalion, a unit entirely composed of men of a height between 5ft and 5ft 3”, and its esprit de corps was about to be severely tested.

The ‘Bantams’ left colorful, characterful, moving and often amusing records of their experiences. Using a wealth of previously unpublished sources, this book follows the Manchester men through their training, their experiences of the Somme and the Third Ypres Campaign, to Houthulst Forest where, in October 1917, the Battalion was ‘practically annihilated’.

About The Author

After completing her Ph.D in History at Durham, Caroline Scott joined an investment banks graduate training scheme and spent two years working in the City. Since then she has worked as a market analyst for a diamond trading company, in London, Belgium and latterly France. In her spare time she continues to enjoy historical research. She has transcribed battalion War Diaries and works as a transcription volunteer for the National Maritime Museum (1915 Crew List Index Project).


"Making the best of excellent sources and well-illustrated with contemporary photos this book could serve as a template for anyone considering writing a battalion history themselves."

- Who Do You Think You Are?, February 2017

"Caroline's second book this month takes as its subject something quite amazing - the formation of a battalion comprising only men between five feet and five feet three inches - one cannot help but think of the company of dwarves in The Hobbit - not in any derogatory sense, but in the sense that they actually thought it necessary to form such a battalion in the first place. Were there other such "bantam battalions", one wonders. Caroline's book is something of an eye-opener!"

- Books Monthly

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