Wednesday 15 October 2014

2nd Bedfords at Ypres

Ypres Cloth Hall on fire

Thursday 15th October 1914: The 2nd Bedfords have reached Ypres and the front line for the first time in this war. Private T. Farmer tells us that the unit has seen local people going into Ypres from the outlying areas with their belongings, which was "a pitiful sight". The battalion has taken up a position on the Menin Road three kilometres outside the town, where it relieved the 80th French Regiment.

The 1st Battalion are still just west of Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée. Our contact tells us: “Nothing much doing today except a good bit of heavy shell fire all round us and sniping. A cow and her calf just by us were hit so I finished them off”.

A little later he reported: “The farm, our headquarters, where all our mules are has been very badly shelled. I went back to see if any damage had been done and found chaos. The civilian, who had given us so much trouble, in spite of our warnings, walked across his yard to get his horse away and on his way back, when a short distance from us, a shell killed his horse and wounded him severely in the knee. He refused to let them touch him and crawled away to a crucifix which he clung to. After much persuasion I got him into a barrow and got his friend to wheel him to the hospital and he made me promise to look after his house and farm before he went”.

Source: X550/2/5; X550/2/7; X550/3/wd

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