Wednesday 10 September 2014

Chasing the Hun and a Tragic Death on His Way to Serve

Thursday 10th September 1914: Yesterday our contact with the 1st Bedfords anticipated close fighting in a dawn attack. In the event this did not happen. He reports: “Moved off as a Brigade in the good old night formation on the dawn attack at 3.45 am. Expected every minute to be heard in which case we should rush the position. Nothing happened, however, and very much to our “relief”!! found that the Germans had quietly and most discreetly retired”. The Bedfords have been advancing all day, chasing the Germans back the way they were forced to retreat by them only a few days ago. This evening they lie near the hamlet of Saint-Quentin in the Bois de Bourneville, an advance of some fifteen miles. The adjutant reports that the advance began before dawn “pursuing the enemy all day. The enemy is apparently demoralised and the country strewn with wagons, motors, bicycles, stores, hundreds of greatcoats, dead and wounded horses, Germans etc.” One wonders how German units reported their pursuit of our men in the past few weeks. A German convoy was captured by our forces as well as a considerable number of prisoners.

We regret to announce the tragic and untimely death of Mr. Ronald C. M. McNaughton, son of Mr. J. J. McNaughton of 61 de Parys Avenue, Bedford. He had recently joined the East Anglian Engineers and was given the rank of Lance-Corporal. Yesterday afternoon about 2.30 he left Bedford with three other Engineers en route for Bury Saint Edmunds to join the Engineers there. The party were riding motor-cycles and near the bend at Great Barford Mr. McNaughton’s bicycle skidded and he was thrown heavily. He was picked up insensible and brought to the County Hospital by Doctor Coates but never regained consciousness and passed away at 2 am this morning Mr. McNaughton was at Bedford Grammar School 1907-9 and was in the School Corps. He was articled at the Grafton Works and after serving his time there was for about a year with Messrs Saunderson and Mills. The funeral will take place from 61 de Parys Avenue on Saturday at 2.30.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 11th September 1914; X550/2/5; X550/2/7

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