Wednesday 29 October 2014

Both Battalions in Action

Thursday 29th October 1914: Both our battalions have been in action today. The adjutant of the 1st Bedfords, at Festubert, tells us that B and D Companies were sent to assist the Manchester Regiment who had been partially ejected from their trenches by the enemy. Our source with the battalion, however, tells us: “As we were relieving the Manchester supporting company we heard cheering and found that two sergeants of the Manchesters had just retaken the last portion of advanced trench on their own, had driven out and captured seventeen Germans themselves”.[1]

The 2nd Battalion spent the night digging in near the village of Zandvoorde where they are the reserve battalion for their brigade. This afternoon they were ordered to advance to assist in a counter-attack. As soon as they left their trenches the battalion came under heavy shellfire. Then the enemy machine guns began to be a nuisance, they were in between the battalion and a further British unit ahead meaning that the Bedfords could not fire at them for fear of hitting our own men. This left the battalion somewhat in limbo and the adjutant tells us that they expect to be ordered to retire to their original positions under cover of darkness this evening. He tells us that one officer and three other ranks have been killed.

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

[1] This is not quite correct – the two men were 2nd Lieutenant James Leach and Sergeant John Hogan, both of whom were subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross

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