Liverpool Pals memorial to be unveiled at Liverpool Lime Street for First World War Centenary

By Richard Moss | 19 August 2014

The sacrifice of the Liverpool Pals battalions during the First World War is to be recognised with a memorial at Liverpool Lime Street station

a photo of men in straw boaters and flat caps standing in line on a street
Men of Liverpool line up to joing the Liverpool Pals in 1914© Courtesy Liverpool City Council
The Pals battalions of the First World War, locally raised volunteer battalions of men from local towns or cities, have become a byword for the tragic slaughter of the War. 

In many industrial and towns and cities in Yorkshire and Lancashire whole communities rallied to the flag - joining up with their pals. In many cases they died together in the carnage of the trenches.

The catastrophic effect this had on the moral of families and communities meant that the raising of local Pals battalions was stopped, but the story of them continues to fascinate both historians and relatives - especially in the northern towns and cities where they were common.

In Liverpool this interest has resulted in a three-year campaign to commemorate the men who served via a permanent memorial, which is to be unveiled by HRH The Earl of Wessex on Sunday August 31.

The £85,000 frieze, designed by Liverpool sculptor Tom Murphy and funded through donations, will be revealed by Prince Edward at 11am in front of an invited audience on the main concourse at Lime Street railway station.

Sited at the place many thousands of local men departed for training, Murphy’s memorial tells the story of the Liverpool Pals through a series of dramatic images - from their formation through to their emotional farewells when they left the city, onward to scenes from the battlefield, their return from war and the commemoration this year.

Following the unveiling, the focus will shift to St George’s Plateau from 11:30am, where a re-enactment of the Liverpool Pals signing up will take place - exactly one hundred years to the day since it happened, in answer to Lord Derby’s call for recruits. 

More than 1,000 men were recruited on August 31 1914 alone. Over 6,000 men were initially signed up in 1914 – enough soldiers to serve in four battalions and for two reserve battalions. Many were killed in action and never returned home.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Erica Kemp, said: “In 1914, many of our young men wished to serve alongside their friends, family and work colleagues, and sadly many paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“The Liverpool Pals will always be remembered as friends, colleagues and relations who joined up together, served together and, for so many of them, died together.

“A century on, we are rightly paying tribute to their bravery with a fitting memorial which will be a constant reminder to all those entering and leaving the city at Lime Street.”

For more information about The Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund, visit www.theliverpoolpalsmemorialfund.com/committee.php

A photo of a line of men being addressed by a another man with a mustache
recruits for the Liverpool Pals 'exchange flags'. © Courtesy Liverpool City Council
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