The Pals Battalion - The Later Years

The Leedspals Association was setup in 1919 after Colonel Sir Edward Brotherton gave a dinner at the Leeds Town Hall for the remaining surviving members, it was run by a commitee elected from its members, irrespective of their former ranks.This would not be their last reunion. The exact details of the founding of the Association can no longer be found however it is thought that the criteria was that you had to be an original Colsterdale man. This was because they didn't want soldiers joining whom they didn't know. What ever the precise details, we know that the Leedspals Association was founded on the bonds of friendship forged at Colsterdale, Egypt and on the battlefields of France.

The dinner organised by Edward Brotherton was not the last, after this, the remaining Pals took many trips the battlefields in France where they served and also three annual pilgrimages each year. In 1935 a memorial cairn was placed at Colsterdale on the site where the original Leedspals were sent to train in 1914. On the anniversary of the Pals leaving Leeds for Colsterdale the Pals Association returned each year to place a wreath from the previous years service held at Leeds Parish Church. Along with this on Armistice day the Pals would lay a wreath on Leeds cenotaph. These two dates were held so that the memories of their friends and comrades would not be forgotten. The service at Colsterdale is still held today, unfortunately there are no remaining survivors left but family members go to make sure the memory is kept alive.

One of the important roles that the association played was to take care of the less fortunate members who were disabled as a result of the war. the last president of the association was Arthur Dalby who served for two and a half years and had been a member of the committee since the beginning.

" I never met a finer body of fellows in my life, and ive always been proud to have been on the Committee and Chairman and President of the Leeds Pals, because they were such a grand lot of fellows"

Arthur Dalby.

" The comradeship continued long after the war, and he Fred Naylor always attended the annual outing to Colsterdale, and remembrance service at Leeds Parish Church where the Pal's Memorial is. The real meaning of that comradeship was brought home to me when Grandpa died in 1974 at the grand old age of eighty two. At his funeral I was surprised to see a contingent of Pals stood to their attention outside the crematorium. Then they did a smart right turn in to pay their last respects. This really was a 'Pals' Battalion in the true sense of the word."

Margaret Sudol - Granddaughter of Fred Naylor.

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