Accrington Pals Trail by William Turner

By William Turner

Follow the footsteps of the friends of their trip from Lancashire to their education camps in England and Wales and to the villages and battlefields of France. A finished account, with maps and photographs, of a associates Battalion's carrier in the course of the struggle.

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The Battalion finally disembarked at Port Said on 5 January. On the 25 January they moved to El Ferdan on the banks of the Suez Canal. Here their duties included operating a chain driven flat-bottomed ferry, usually filled with men, horses and stores, across the Canal. Teams of sixteen men each hauled on two chains which lay on the canal bed. The ‘Burly Bombers’ were ideal for this task. , with all kinds of people in between. We were worn out by noon, but were driven on and on. We were rusty, dusty and musty and we must have been a bit smelly too.

His lower half appeared to be buried, but in reality he was upright on his stump. He was still looking towards the enemy, with his helmet at a rakish angle. His face was white but not care-worn and he had no blemish on any visible part. If he had a similar experience to my heavenly flight, I thought, he must have had a lovely death. ‘I now realised where the mess I’d been cleaning from my equipment came from. There was nothing I could do, except leave the cyclist as my silent companion. I’m sure he died painlessly.

Church, however, was but one of the several townships surrounding, and contiguous with, Accrington. Clayton-le-Moors, Oswaldtwistle, Rishton and Great Harwood, together with Church, were self-governing Urban District Councils. Each had a similar industrial base. Clayton-le-Moors had brickworks, cotton mills and calico printing; Oswaldtwistle had cotton mills, collieries and chemical works; Rishton had cotton mills, collieries and paper mills and Great Harwood also had cotton mills and collieries.

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