Lord Kitchener was appointed Minister for War in August 1914 and, unlike many of his contemporaries, forecast a prolonged stalemate upon the declaration of war. He recognised the importance of mass recruitment and drew up significant manpower requirements in order to meet such high demands. Volunteers were required, and tapping into powerful sentiments of loyalty towards town, city, or community felt by men of all backgrounds, the Pals Regiments were formed as a means of harnessing their full potential. Lord Derby, Director-General of Recruiting, found success with his plan to raise a battalion comprised of Liverpool men, enlisting enough to form four within days. Public expressions of civic pride sparked further regiments being raised in cities and towns throughout Britain; men attracted by promises to serve alongside their brothers, colleagues, and friends.
It took the Accrington Pals a mere ten days of recruiting to reach full strength of 1,000 men, a story echoed all over the country. The majority of volunteers spent the next two years training, seeing their first battle on the Somme in July 1916. For most, it was also their last. The Serre offensive, undertaken by the 31st Division, claimed 584 of roughly 720 Accrington Pals. This division was formed entirely of Pals Battalions like Accrington’s. Most of the men who volunteered to fight at the side of their brothers, friends, colleagues, died at their sides too.