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"Bristols Own" 12th Glosters


On September 3rd 1914, Bristol was granted permission to begin forming a 12th service Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. Almost immediately it became known as `Bristol's Own`. It was originally planned to be 1,100 strong, but that figure was increased to 1,350 to cope with the demand. At first the boys of `Bristol's Own` were allowed to live at home and many continued to work. Eventually the temporary buildings constructed for Bristol International Exhibition at Bower Ashton were used as a headquarters for the battalion. Ashton Court

The Battalion arrived in France on the 21st November 1915, and had a complement of 27 officers and 886 men and spent some time in the then quiet area of the Somme, moving to Arras during the spring and early summer of 1916. The Battle of the Somme began on the 1st July 1916 and the Battalion was moved back there on July 20th. By the end of the month they were in the line facing Delville Wood or `Devil's Wood` as it had already become known. On the 3rd September 1916 `Bristol's Own` saw their first action when they attacked the German positions in an area known as Wedge Wood. This attack required the Battalion to advance in daylight over a distance of one and a half miles, in full view of the enemy and as a target for the murderous machine-gun and artillery fire. The attack was successful in the terms of the First World War but the cost to the `Bristol's` was horrendous the casualty list for this brief action was one officer and 44 men killed and another 48 missing. Six officers and 225 other ranks were wounded. From a total of 913 men, 324 had been killed or injured in their first full action.

In 1917 the Battalion was involved in the Third Battle of Ypres, better known as the Battle of Passchendaele. Again the price paid by the `Bristol's` was high, the casualties for an 11 day period was, four officers and 59 men killed, six officers and 177 men wounded and four officers and 91 men gassed.

When an Armistice was declared on the 11th November 1918 `Bristol's Own` no longer existed, having been disbanded and transferred to other units on the 5th October 1918.