The Hood Battalion
The Royal Naval Division, of which the Hood Battalion formed part, was raised at the beginning of the First World War and was made up of officers and men of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, stokers of the Royal Fleet Reserve and seamen of the Royal Naval Reserve. Its 'father' was Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty; Mr Asquith, the Prime Minister, christened it 'Winston's Little Army'. It was quite unlike any other formation in that these were soldiers who adhered to all the traditions and the practices of the Royal Navy, or if you like, sailors who went to war as soldiers.
The Hood Battalion also attracted numerous officers of the highest calibre, among whom may be mentioned 'Oc' Asquith, the Prime Minister's son, Patrick Shaw-Stewart, said to be the most brilliant young man of his generation, Bernard Freyberg, and, most famous of all, the poet Rupert Brooke, who was to die so tragically in a foreign field. The Hood Battalion saw some of the fiercest fighting of the First World War, particularly at Antwerp, in the Gallipoli Campaign and then again on the Western Front at the Ancre, at Gavrelle, and at Passchendaele. Len Sellers, whose interest in the Hood Battalion was first aroused when he discovered that his great-uncle had served with them, lets the participants tell their own story, having expended prodigious labour in unearthing the many first-hand accounts of the Hood's exploits included in this book.