From the colourised photograph of a Harrogate Terrier on the dustwrapper, to Zillebeke (Ypres); the final entry of an extensive index, this is a superb study of a Territorial Force battalion (the 1/5th West Yorkshire Regiment).
The battalion's genesis was the 1st Volunteer Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment and the author dedicates early pages to this Volunteer Force unit and its subsequent metamorphosis into the 5th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment in 1908. The later re-designation as 1/5th W Yorks, and the reserve 2/5th and 3/5th Battalions can often be confusing to many, and John Sheehan explains when these reserve battalions were formed and when the battalion titles changed to reflect the re-organisation.
But of course, it is the stories of the men - the boys in many cases - and the battalion's war service which is the strength of this work. This is a heacy and densely packed volume; 350 pages long and packed full of photographs - many of these unseen before - and touching strories. Over a hundred years on, these stories still never fail, with this reviewer at least, to bring a lump to the throat and moisture to the eye. How would this country react to such enormous losses today? I've often wondered what the response today would be. Let's pary we will never know the answer.
For those who went before, this is a fitting memorial. The author has even attempted to pull together a nominal roll of officers and men who served with the battalion and I suspect that even though this book has now been in print for a few months, there will be further names that the author has uncovered which did not make the cut.
Essential reading for anyone with a specific interest in this battalion, Harrogate Terriers will also be a boon to researchers; a quick and easy reference to be read alongside the official battalion war diary, service records and newspaper reports. Well done, John Sheehan and well done Pen & Sword on another cracking battalion history.