Sunday 28 December 2014

The Truth About the 1st Bedfords' Christmas

The Christmas Truce (from Wikipedia - men of the Royal Warwickshire and 134th Saxon regiments)

Monday 28th December 1914: Readers may remember that the colonel of the 1st Battalion neglected to report any fraternisation between his men and the enemy on Christmas Day, leading us to the assumption that there had been none. It appears we were mistaken. Sergeant Blundell has been in touch today and told us: "We were in the trenches all Christmas week and the weather was awful. On Christmas Day we had a lot of firing over us and shells too. All at once it ceased and I looked up and saw the Germans on top of their trenches shouting to us and asking us to meet them. All our Brigade (15th Infantry Brigade) went and we were talking to them for about two hours. They asked us not to fire that day and said they would not; and no firing was done until the next day and then we were fighting for all we were worth”.

Sergeant Blundell went on: “Times are very hard here. In the trenches we are up to our waists in water with shells bursting over us and no sleep. We keep on advancing and having to retire on account of fierce shelling. We should be relieved now by Kitchener's Army(1). I was in the battles of la Bassée and Ypres and the retirements and it was simply awful. My bayonet was stained more than once. I said my prayers! The Bedfords regained the trenches that other regiments had lost. They retired and we had to retire also. It was like hell upon earth. Then we rallied up and charged the Germans out of them and took a lot of prisoners but at what a loss! When we mustered up the next day we had lost about 76 in my company (A Company). I had some marvellous escapes". He is clearly referring to the events of the first part of November at Ypres.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 8th January 1915

(1) The majority of these battalions landed in France in July 1915.

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