Friday 21 November 2014

A Stirring Appeal for Recruits

Quartermaster H M Cressingham [X550/1/81]

Saturday 21st November 1914: Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson of 3rd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment at Kempston Barracks has received the following letter from Sergeant T. W. Andrews of the 2nd Battalion in a stirring message to new recruits and to those yet to join up: "Our Regiment is proving its fighting qualities, but our losses are heavy, but nothing compared with those of the enemy. Our machine guns of the Battalion have done some deadly work, and our officers, NCOs and men are perfect heroes, especially in our advances under artillery fire. My own company advanced under a perfect hail of shell and we only lost three men, but in a few days later we have nearly lost the whole of our officers. Nothing can be spoken of them too highly and I, as an NCO of our Regiment with 17 years' service, know something of them, having been with them the last seven years or more connected with them in "Gib", Bermuda and South Africa. I do not know if you know Major Traill or Stares, but they were both killed on the morning of 30th October. They both died doing their duty in the field by rallying men to hold their trenches".

"Our Regiment's history should be great and read by all in Bedfordshire, and then I am sure that recruits would come up much easier. Nobody knows the daring and pluck of our boys, as all the officers called us at the first instant of the engagements around Ypres. Well, we have lost nearly all our officers: only three were left in the field when I left on November 5th, when we were relieved in the trenches for a short spell, namely Captain Foss, our adjutant and a brave man, Lieutenant Mills and Captain and Quarter Master Cressingham.[1] Hoping this is news to you and the reinforcements will do as we have done".

Sources: Bedfordshire Times 20th November 1914

[1] Captain Foss would go on to win the Victoria Cross in 1915 and Captain Cressingham would soon leave the battalion as being too old for service.

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