The Militas

This is not a definative list but just  a starter as its constantly in flux with militas disbanding and reforming due to politcal rivalries, enemy action or personality conflicts.  Most will tend to fight under the Free Liverpool tricolour (and wear those armbands) as well as they’re own banners. (Much of this material was very generously provided by Paul C off the Gentlemen Wargame Parlour I have tried to thank him in the right places but in case I havent I’d like to aknowledge it here. Anything which is rubbish is my own invention.)

The Left

  • Workers Defence Corps (WDC) Made up of Labour supporters and most of the Trade Union Movement – any Union of any following will have formed a militia (often known as Volunteers, Rifles or if devoted to just protecting their works Fencibles.) A starting point for Union names is here 

They are usually militia in quality. Include:

  • Trades Council Battalions This force consists of postmen, LMS railwaymen, busmen, Corporation workers and financial sector workers organised into separate companies by trade group. Many have elected their TU officials as officers, although sufficient ex-servicemen are in the ranks to ensure that  some military expertise is present. The companies vary in size from large platoons to several hundreds of men; TU banners, branch officers sashes and the occupational uniforms of the company are much in evidence. The finance and insurance clerk’s company delights in parading in smart suits and overcoats, topped off by trilbys, to the amusement of the dockers who call them the Tailors Dummy Brigade. Some of the younger members of the clerk’s company have acquired Nortons and Triumphs to form an armed reconnaissance motorbike platoon. These companies are doughty disciplined in defence but are reluctant to march far from their homes; the LFS cannot rely these men to obey orders to advance to Manchester, for example.
  • Trade Unions Militias  These companies, which can vary widely in number,  have been raised from the port related industries and are the most numerous of the LFS forces. They include the dockers in the Transport and General Workers Union companies, which also include warehousemen and bargemen. Seamen from the merchant navy are organsied in separate companies and although these can be transient, as ships come and go, they are a significant source of manpower.These groups are generally not uniformed and wear working men’s clothes; old suits, corduroys, boots and cloth caps. Individually, they can be fierce and effective hand-to-hand fighters, although the Liverpool battalion officers describe them as an “ill disciplined mob”.
  • The Bessie Braddock’s Amazons an all female workers battalion (militia.)
  • Mayoral Guard British regular and Soviet equipped unit. A company strength bodyguard, commanded by Cllr Jack James. These ex-International Brigade volunteers were used for internal security duties, but could fight very effectively in the line. Adopted a combination of working clothes and International Brigade style uniforms; thus, khaki / blue overalls, leather jackets and berets were common. Some Soviet small arms used, but no heavy weapons.

Mayoral Guard fresh off the boats from Spain

  • Fabian Battalion moderate socialist militia.


  • IPL Militias or Worker’s Army forces of the Independent Labor party – opposed to both Communists and the Labor Party includes in it’s ranks anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists, disillusioned ex-communists and radical trade unionists. The smallest of the three main left wing groups. It goes for deliberately scruffy and eccentric military dress. Due to it’s broad church nature in the absence of other fractions IPL forces will take friendly fire opportunities at each other, includes. No love lost between Workers Army  and the Communist forces, with the experience of the Spanish Civil War leaving a legacy of bitterness and mistrust; the ILP do not benefit from the receipt of Soviet arms, for example. The ILP contingent debates and argues about tactics, which can create difficulties in command. However, they are undoubtedly committed and effective anti-fascist fighters. Red kerchiefs or scarves are much in evidence, as in the influence of the SCW.
  • Jim Larkin Battalion  lead by Bill Edwards, recently returned from Spain, where he lead the ILP contingent in the POUM.
  • Balham Battalion Trotskyite detachment includes numerous Spanish veterans it is regular. Named after a Trotskyite fraction in the CPGB. It is militia quality.
  • Kropotkin Battalion anarcho-communist detachment militia quality.
  • Proudhon Battalion anarcho-syndicalist detachment  includes numerous Spanish veterans it is regular
  • Black Flag Battalion anarchist unit – Militia quality 


  • People’s Assault Columns – Russian supported forces based around ex-International Brigade volunteers. Usually regular with a few veteran units. They are in battalion sized forces (columns) named after local labor movement heroes
    • Tom Mann Column named after the leader of the 1911 Liverpool General Transport Strike.  (Veteran)
    • Mancunian Free Companies the ‘Peterloo’ & ‘Frederick Engels.’ (Veteran)
    • “Harry Pollitt” Assault Column The forces organsied by the CPGB are increasingly influential, since the flow of arms and material from the Soviet Union is clearly dependent on fortunes of this faction. While some Communist officials and commissars affect the uniform of the Young Communist League (khaki shirts, grey flannel trousers, red ties) the inclusion of tunics and items from the USSR, create a military appearance lacking in much of the rest of the LFS forces.  Made up of men impressed by the CP’s anti-fascist record and its work amongst the unemployed prior to the crisis, these are amongst the best equipped and disciplined forces available to Liverpool. With commissars supporting the officers, many themselves ex-International Brigade veterans, with heavy machine guns, mortars, aging artillery pieces and organised into four strong companies, this is an effective military formation. Advised by Soviet experts, the battalion sized column has access to the only AFVs available to the  LFS, other than improvised make shifts efforts. The three T26s, named after the Marx brothers by some scouse wags, are an important strategic asset. Volunteer air crews are promised, together with the latest fighters and bombers available to the Red Air Force. These weapons are highly desirable to the LFS, but the growing power and influence of the “Pollitt’s” will test to breaking point the fragile alliance that is defending Liverpool.  (Many thanks to Paul C of the Gentlemen Wargames Parlour for this.)


The Irish

  • Irish Militias these include:
    •  ex-British regulars and territorial of the Liverpool Irish Regiment (disbanded 1922) (Green caubeens, with red and blue heckle, combination British army dress, civilian clothes, saffron kilts and shawls for pipers.) Regulars.

    Liverpool WW1 Raiding party take away the Picklehaubles and quite accurate as a ALFIES led raid

    • Wild Geese Battalion Irish Free State ‘Volunteers’ – these wear Óglaigh na hÉireann uniforms of 1918 German style coal shuttle helmet and Green uniforms: They are regulars.

Wild Geese Battalion troops marching towards front lines near Speke. 

  •  Irish Flying Columns  These consist of various shades of Irish catholic opinion. Ranging from overtly republican groups like the “James Connolly” and “Starry Plough” Columns to the more faith based “Knights of St Columba” and the “Patrick Pearse” companies. Made up of both working and middle class recruits, with some “advisers” from the USA and Eire in evidence, happy to be fighting the forces of the “English Crown” again. Some groups little more than defensive LDVs, designed to defend their local areas or churches, but some equipped with lorries and buses, designed to emulate the flying columns of the IRA in the IWI in the 1920s. These are capable of being used in offensive operations. Their loyalty is untried and uncertain; the more republican are comfortable with working with the left forces, but the more conservative confessional groups are uneasy about the influence of the Reds and support the moderate Lord Mayor as a bulwark against Bolshevism. None of these groups prepared to trust any of the Protestant or Orange groups and have little respect for the regular Army troops. Some Thompson guns donated from IRA supplies, green much in evidence in colours, while berets and trench-coats affected by some members. Items from the Free State army have appeared in their ranks. Priests been known to bless the colours of he less radical companies at Church parades. Very difficult to predict how strong these companies will be.  (Many thanks to Paul C of the Gentlemen Wargames Parlour for this.) The most disciplined companies contribute to the ‘Irish Brigade’ of the Celtic Tigers Division in the so called 1st IRA (Scotland Road) Battalion  which fights alongside the Wild Geese and the Liverpool Irish.

The Protestants

  • Bishop of Liverpool’s Cathedral Anglican League Volunteers A number of battalions recruited from across the city and the broader area these have been brigaded and usually serve together (militia.) They are armed civilians. They are not as uniformed or equipped as those with AL forces in the south with Continental supply sources.
  • Orange Companies These men are members of Liverpool’s numerical strong Orange Order. Although more commonly associated with the Protestant or Conservative Parties in Liverpool, these men supported the move to independence, in order to try to isolate that city from the civil war raging elsewhere. The Order split and some Orangemen were attracted to the BUF’s anti-left stance, together with an instinctive opposition to closing ranks with the Irish Catholics. Other Orangemen argued that Edward had abused his position as monarch by appointing an unelected Prime Minister, thus “betraying the spirit of 1688”; these men formed their own companies with names like the “Loyal defenders”, “Remember the Somme”, and “No surrender” Companies. Some drew parallels between the siege of Londonderry and the siege of Liverpool. These men were  willing to stand by their TU workmates and found themselves on the same side as the Irish groups. They adopted the slogan “Neither Fascists nor Fenians”, and deployed the full range of Orange iconography; the Orange regalia, flute and drum bands on parades, bowler hats and sashes, while some groups adopted lowland Scots references (glengarries, Tams) in their dress. The LFS authorities encouraged these companies to play down anti-Catholic sentiments and play-up the commitment to a constitutional monarchy.   The faction was influenced and armed from with assistance from Ulster. Unlikely and unwilling to be brigaded with Irish groups or left wing forces, they will cooperate alongside Anglicans, Police or Spec Constabulary companies, regular Army or the more moderate Trade Unions. Viewed with some suspicion by some factions, they are not entirely trusted by, for example, socialist groups and Catholic units. (Many thanks to Paul C of the Gentlemen Wargames Parlour for this.)
  • Liverpool Welsh Free Church Council Fusiliers Welsh speaking forces a militia of Battalion size. They may have been in contact with the Joshua Force. They are an uniformed force.


The Forces of Law and Order  

  • Free State Police forces including the City of Liverpool Police, Borough of Bootle Police – militia in quality.  There  are companies formed from the Liverpool Constabulary and the newly created Special Constables. Lightly armed, but with a high proportion of ex-servicemen and middle-class volunteers, with access to the resources of the local police force, including motor bikes, police vans etc. Loyal to the Corporation and Lord Mayor. Frequently used to maintain order within the city, as fighting between the factions is endemic. Commanded by Councilor Jack Mayes, the former police officer who had lead the 1919 Liverpool police strike and became the City’s first Labour MP in 1923; a highly popular Commander with his men ( and WPCs). The rank and file wore flat police caps, custodian helmets or very dark blue steel helmets; puttees or gaiters were worn on by some men on occasions. (Thanks to Paul C of Gentlemen’s Wargame Parlour for help with this.)

Mutinied elements of the regular and territorial Army including 

  • Liverpool Artillery formerly 106th (Lancashire Yeomanry) Field Brigade, R.A equipped with 4.5 inch Howitzers (424 Bty) and 18 pdr Field Guns (423 Bty). 424 Battery has been renamed red and 423 Battery it has been named blue. 
  • Liverpool Regiment former 2nd Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment forces. (The 1ST Battalion being in India) It has a veteran 2nd Battalion. From former servicemen, Liverpool based territorials and volunteers there has been formed a regular 1st and 3rd Battalions (Liverpool Regiment Volunteers.) Uniformed and equipped as a standard Regular, with the additional of the LFS colours on helmets and brassards 
    • The infantry are mechanised with military and civilian trucks and are used as a mobile reserve by LFS GHQ.
    • It also has a regular bicycle company, mounted infantry company and artillery battery supplied with ‘gor blimey’ guns of jury rigged manufactured and captured pieces.


The Navy

RN Divison at Antwerp 1914 but you get the idea

  • Mutinied Royal Navy Forces including
  • The Worker’s Naval Brigade formed of the Nore, Spithead, Invergorden and Bounty battalions. (Namely after famous mutinys)
  • Liverpool Free State Marines is a battalion sized force formed from fleet Marine forces as well as ex-Marines and more disciplined Sailors. They are Veteran and are mobilised on bicycles. Uniformed and equipped as a standard Marines, with the additional of the LFS colours on helmets and brassards

Ethnic Minorities (see Cosmopolitan Division)

  • Jamaica Street Rifles African/African Caribbean brigade of 2 (weak) battalions one always remains in Jamaica Street to defend the neighborhood while another is on ‘foreign’ service in defence of the city. Militia quality. Use mix AK-47 republic militia and 1930s troops.
  • Berry Street Irregulars Battalion of Chinese seamen and Chinatown residents (militia.) Chinese Civil War figures and 30s civillians.
  • All Indian Volunteers  unit of mainly Bengali seamen (militia) mix civillian and Indian Army Figures (painted as civillians)
  • King David Legion Jewish militia unit. A number of companies made up of orthodox Jews (confederate ACW in slouch hats and frock coats should do nicely if painted right.).
  • Scandinavian Seamen’s Squadron company sized infantry militia.
  • Dabrowski  Battalion Polish and other east European sailors and volunteers. Soviet equipped.  


The Wirral and other Woollybacks

On the urban  South bank of the Mersey leftist forces have taken control. While not offically part of the Liverpool Free State the CWWC is fighting alongside them their forces include but are not limited too.

  • Coalition of Wirral Workers Councils (CWWC)
  • Various Worker’s Defence Corps and ILP Militia as per Liverpool (milita)
  • A Combined Wirral Irish Battalion not as fractionalised as LFS Irish forces (regular.)
  • United Wirral Police Militia Wallasey Borough Police, Birkenhead Borough Police, Cheshire Police deserters and political volunteers. Police uniforms and civilian dress.  Militia.
  • Associated Society of Engineers and Firemen Wirral Railway Squadron  Armored trains with HMGs, AT artillery and armored carriages to transport infantry (regular)
  • Port Sunlight Lever Brothers Pals Battalion  (militia)
  • Various Local Defense Volunteers Battalions of part time neighbourhood soldiers for various districts (militia).
  • Bishop of Birkenhead’s Anglican League Force Battalion (regular due to heavy ex-British Army element) There is no official Bishop of Birkenhead at this time but given the house arrest of the Bishop of Chester by Lord Farndon the Dean of Chester Cathedral escaped and raised his standard at Birkenhead. No leftist Army personnel opposed to Mosley government in the area have flocked to his side. 
  • Harding’s Bidston Hill Rangers irregular veteran light infantry made up of poachers, gameskeepers and the like making trades on Dee side of the Wirral pro-Government forces. 
  • Mancunian Army of Liberation in Exile (MALE)
    • An alliance of Mancunian WDC and ILP Militia much as they oppose each others politics and the Mosley regime they are aware they are vulnerable within a potentially hostile city. As such they are sometimes posted to the Wirral Front were there is less hostility. As the survivors of a bitter fighting retreat from Manchester they are regular.
  • Free St Helens Forces (FSHF)
    • Worker’s Defence Corps forces including
      • National Mine Workers Union St Helens Battalion 
      • National Glass Workers’ Trade Protection Association St Helens Battalion
      • St Helens Local Defence Volunteers in Exile




Published on November 28, 2010 at 10:45 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Paul also provided some very useful stuff which has been folded into my own for the miltias […]

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