The Old Cock Inn – Halifax Pals?

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The Old Cock Inn Phil Champion
Above: The Old Cock Inn
Phil Champion [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In the early days of recruitment for Kitchener’s Army a popular concept was the Pals Battalion. The idea was that men who came from a similar background could enlist together in groups . They would be kept together in the same companies and battalions. Halifax never managed to form a true ‘Pals Battalion’ although the Reserve 4th Battalion West Riding Regiment, a territorial battalion is often refereed to as ‘Pals or ‘Chums’ because they were recruited in companies from local districts. Another initiative also came close to being a ‘Pals’ battalion. Under a column headline ‘Pals Corps idea’, the Halifax Courier of 6 September reported that a:-

‘meeting of those interested in another local corps was held on Wednesday at the Old Cock Hotel. The idea appeared to be to form an organisation in some way more advanced than the Volunteer Guard.’

The idea came from local businessmen who wished to create their own unit which would be prepared to join the national forces, ‘if such circumstances should arise as a complete stoppage of business or conscription’. The military authorities did not like it because it smacked of a private army and the existing Volunteer Guard did not like it because it was too similar to what they were doing. It does not appear to have taken off and any further mention disappeared from the local newspapers.

Below: Pals idea mooted. Halifax Courier 12 September 1914