Pals’ guard of honour for Gallipoli VCs

Todmorden Pals re-enactment group at the Lancashire Fusiliers Gallipoli Parade, April 2015. Picture: Brian Whittaker
Todmorden Pals re-enactment group at the Lancashire Fusiliers Gallipoli Parade, April 2015. Picture: Brian Whittaker

Todmorden Pals were chosen to be the guard of honour at a Great War commemoration event last Saturday, 100 years to the day after a major campaign had begun.

Nationally, last weekend saw the country remember the Gallipoli campaign - most often associated with the Anzacs but one in which British troops played a major role and those in the Lancashire Fusiliers in particular.

Famously, six Lancashire Fusiliers won Victoria Crosses “before breakfast” in the Gallipoli landings on April 25, 1915, and until May 16 all six medals are on display together at the Lancashire Fusiliers’ Museum in Bury.

In May, men from Todmorden who were part of the 1/6th Lancashire Fusiliers, the town’s first Territorial Army volunteer force, landed in Gallipoli and were in action within days, many losing their lives in fierce fighting, mainly around Krithia, which eventually saw five Todmorden men being awarded Distinguish Conduct Medals.

Last year the Todmorden Pals formed to recreate the march Todmorden’s Territorials made to muster at Rochdale on the outbreak of the first world war and have since had their services called on at a number of commemroation events.

They were very honoured to play their part in last weekend’s events remembering a conflict in which men from the town had found themselves, said Darren Widdup of the Pals, and Todmorden branch of the Royal British Legion.

“The Tod Pals were asked to be the guard of honour for the official unveiling of the six VCs won before breakfast, 100 years to the day the Lancashire Fusiliers landed at ‘W’ beach at Gallipoli.

“We were also was asked to take part in the Gallipoli 100 Parade in Bury a day later on Sunday, April 26, where approximately 1,600 took part including the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Band, the Royal Marines Band and the Lorne Scots who travelled from Canada and who led the Tod Pals,” said Darren.