The Pals battalions of World War I were specially constituted battalions of the British Army comprising men who had enlisted together in local recruiting drives, with the promise that they would be able to serve alongside their friends, neighbours and colleagues (“pals“), rather than being arbitrarily allocated to random placements.
Although the ideology wasn’t published, commanders hoped that if pals all joined together, they would look out for each other more and if one of them was killed, may even fight harder to instigate revenge. Sadly, as often happened, this meant whole groups of friends were wiped out, often from the same town or even the same street, deeply affecting communities.
One such band of brothers is pictured in 1914. Only Charles Frame (left) survived the war and he must have often looked back on this photo, taken on the Eve of his departure for war, heartbroken and with great sadness, as all his other best friends pictured were killed in action.
With Charles are friends Bobby Brown, David Murdoch and Hugh Boyle of Auchentibber. Young men, taken in their prime of life. Today, we remember their sacrifice.
With thanks to Isobel Fleming for access to this photo.