The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery


IDLE and DISSOLUTE – The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery by Philip William Adams (Author) - Paperback - 16th August 2013

In response to a request from the War Office in January 1915, the Mayor and the Recruiting Committee of Sunderland agreed to raise by public subscription a complete Brigade of Field Artillery for service overseas.

Recruitment commenced on the 1st March 1915 and soon 750 volunteers from Sunderland, Wearside and Co. Durham answered the call. The unit was afforded the official title of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery.

Following a period of training in England and attachment to the Thirty-Fourth (Northern) Division, the Brigade embarked for the western front in January 1916.

The Brigade served in many of the infamous battles of the First World War – The Somme in 1916, Arras and Passchendaele in 1917 and the Great Offensives of 1918. After the armistice, the Brigade was stationed in Germany before returning home and being disbanded on the 10th December 1919.

In total 2,500 men served in the 160th Brigade and although the majority of them hailed from Sunderland, Wearside and the surrounding districts (an area as far north as South Shields, west across the border into Northumberland to Cramlington, down through Newcastle, Gateshead, Rowlands Gill, Chester-le-Street and the City of Durham, then back east to Easington Colliery and up to Seaham), these original recruits were eventually joined by men from throughout the nation. In particular, transfers from the 176th Leicester (Howitzer) Brigade (who provided a whole Battery of the Brigade strength), 152nd (Nottingham) Brigade and 175th (Staffordshire) Brigade.

The other home nations of Scotland and Wales along with Ireland (North & South) were also well represented, along with nations from across the former British Empire and beyond. The Brigade would eventually boast a truly international contingent with men, mainly expatriates, who travelled from their homes in Australia, Canada, United States of America, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, British Guiana (now Guyana), China and France to join up.

However, the backbone, heart & soul of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery was provided by the men of Wearside and Co. Durham.

The book titled: IDLE and DISSOLUTE – The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery has been meticulously researched over a period of twelve years (approx. 25,000hrs) and totals 411 pages (185,000 words) containing more than 150 original photographs and fold-out maps.

Chapters I to VIII cover the history of the brigade from 1915 through 1919, each chapter provides details on the location, services, casualties, awards and war activities of the Brigade. Chapter IX covers the numerous reunions of Brigade (1919-c.1960) and Chapter X offers an insight to the authors personal journey in search of his great-uncle who was killed serving with the 160th Brigade.

The Appendices (218 pages) contain detailed Nominal Rolls recording the names of all 2,500 officers and men, a Roll of Honour, personal profiles (with numerous photos) of the officers of the brigade and similar profiles of many NCOs and men and lists of awards to personnel of the Brigade.

Review: "In my opinion this is the way a unit history should be written! Well worth the price." - Prof. Dick Flory

Copies can be obtained directly from the author priced at £24.99 or £25.00* signed (plus postage and packing) for the paperback, and £29.99 or £30.00 signed (plus postage and packing) for the limited hardback edition. Visit the "buy" page for details.

Group photograph of officers and NCOs.