Written by Phil Adams published The Memoir Club and printed at JASPRINT 12 Tower Road, Washington NE372SH
This month (March 2015) has witnessed a number of events coinciding with the centenary of the formation of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade. On 2nd March, his Right Worshipful the Mayor of Sunderland Cllr. Stuart Porthouse and the lady Mayoress Mrs Marie Porthouse unveiled a blue plaque at Houghton Hall, Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham, the place of the original H.Q. of the Brigade.
Philip W. Adams author of IDLE and DISSOLUTE – The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery was also present to say a few words at the unveiling and attended the post event gathering and display of WW1 Memorabilia held at the nearby Keiper Hall, organised by the Heritage Department of Sunderland City Council and local Cllr. Shelia Ellis.
On Saturday 14th March – Phil Adams gave a talk on the history of the Brigade at the invitation of the FoSUMS at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. The Deputy Mayor Cllr. Barry Curran and the Deputy Lady Mayoress Mrs. Curran attended as did nearly one hundred members and guests (some of who had travelled from as far away as Portsmouth).
Finally Phil is proud to announce that a Limited Hardback Edition (160 copies) of IDLE and DISSOLUTE has been produced by the Memoir Club and Jasprint. Copies are now available, priced at £30.00 each and can be obtained by contacting Phil directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org by (Mobile) telephone 07749-403942 or by visiting the website 160wearsidebrigade.co.uk
Also anyone wishing to learn more about Phil's ongoing search for more of the men that served with the 160th Brigade or the 15 years research behind the book is welcome to visit the Brigade Facebook page via the following link:
Just received a copy of your book in the mail this morning and it is amazing! I own 200+ Great War unit histories and yours has to be the best of all! An excellent model for anyone writing a unit history to emulate. Congratulations on a job very well done. Dick Flory
Just received a newly published Royal Artillery unit history that has to rank as one of the best: Idle and Dissolute: The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery by Philip W Adams. The book is 411 pages which are crammed full of information on the brigade and excellent maps and photos. The first 150+ pages (Chapters I through VIII) cover the history of the brigade from 1915 through 1919 with excellent maps and numerous photos. Each of these chapters gives details on the location, services, casualties, awards and war activities of the Brigade and are illustrated by many photos of members (both officers and other ranks) of the brigade. Chapter IX covers the numerous reunions of brigade personnel, again with numerous photos. In terms of data, the best part of the book are the appendices (218 pages) which include annotated nominal rolls of both officers and men; profiles (with numerous photos) of the officers of the brigade and similar profiles of many NCOs and men; a detailed roll of honour; and lists of awards to personnel of the Brigade.
In my opinion this is the way a unit history should be written! Well worth the price (£24.99). For those interested it may be obtained from The Memoir Club, Ltd, Dartmoor Suite, The Courtyard, Arya House, Langley Park, Durham DH7 9XE (0191-373-1739).
This book is without doubt the definitive history of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade. It has been meticulously researched by the author who describes it as both a 'labour of love' to a long lost relative and a ‘debt of honour’ to all 2,500 men that served with the unit. The title of the book The Idle and Dissolute is taken from the ironic nickname given to the soldiers of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery during the early days of training in Co Durham. The 'I & D' name stuck and was proudly worn as a badge of honour by all who served.
It was public subscription that helped raise the Wearside Brigade in March 1915, with local miners and shipyard workers providing the backbone of the new unit. However during the course of WW1 men from all parts of the British Isles as well as from South Africa, America, Australia, Canada, Mexico, China, France, Argentina and later India would swell the ranks.
The 160th Brigade embarked for battlefields in northern France during January 1916 and proceeded to take part in the famed battles of The Somme, Arras, Passchendaele and the Great Offensives of 1918.
The author Philip W. Adams interest in the 160th Brigade dates back to his childhood, when he became fascinated by a photo of a soldier hanging on a wall. All he knew was that it showed his grandfather's brother, William Henry Adams, a Gunner with the Royal Field Artillery who had been killed in the First World War.
The old picture proved the inspiration Phil needed to start a 10 year research project into his uncle William and the 160th (Wearside) Brigade. His investigations revealed that William and 59 of his comrades were among the 38,000 casualties suffered by the British Army on the 21st March 1918 – a fateful day that would prove to be both the darkest and finest hours in the history of the Brigade.
By the end of the Great War, the Wearside Brigade had suffered many casualties. From the original 766 volunteers, that enlisted in Co Durham during 1915 and marched off to France in 1916, only 156 marched back into Sunderland, for their ‘Welcome Home’ parade in 1919.
The men of the Brigade were awarded 157 medals for gallantry. This included four Distinguished Service Orders, nineteen Military Crosses and ten Distinguished Conduct Medals. The Brigade was officially disbanded in August 1919, but those who survived remained close friends. The first of many reunions was held at the Palatine Hotel, in 1919, and the meetings continued until the 1960s.
This book is a must have, it weaves together private documents, photographs, memories, letters and diaries, to tell for the first time the full story of the Idle and Dissolute. Soldiers, so modest and humble about their part in the Great War that the story of their deeds was never fully recognised in their own lifetime.