Wednesday 24 September 2014

1st Bedfords Back in the Front Line

Thursday 24th September 1914: Our source with the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment in France tells us that the battalion has gone back into the front line: “We heard that we were to cross the Aisne and relieve the troops holding the sector which we had left. In the afternoon the Company Commanders were sent off in advance to take over and see their respective sectors. The Battalion moved off at 6.15 pm”.

“We crossed the river in the dark by the same bridge and marched to the same old farm house we had been in at Sainte-Marguerite about 9 pm. D Company were allotted the forward trenches in the wood and I met a guide from the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry who led us all wrong to relieve a Company of the DCLI in trenches which were only forty yards from the Germans”.

“We careered all over the wood with German searchlights playing on us which put the wind up us from time to time and eventually discovered the DCLI and carried out the relief. Number 13 Platoon was put into the most forward trench which was in easy hearing distance of the enemy, the other platoons being along a sort of natural ditch which ran at right angles to their position. We arrived about 11 pm and settled down to a rather uncomfortable night but quite peaceful one although we were expecting an attack all the time. All night the old German searchlight played on and all round us and we were sure that he spotted us”.

Sources: X550/2/7

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