Monday 5 January 2015

East Anglian Royal Engineers Near the Front Line

Tuesday 5th January 1915: Today we have heard from some of the men of the 1st East Anglian Field Company, Royal Engineers, a Territorial Army unit based in Bedford in peace time. Sapper H. Statham of 147 Castle Road, Bedford told us: “We are 600 yards off the firing line, digging trenches, with the shells flying over us. You can see the ambulances bringing the wounded up the road”. The company is Guarbecque, north-west of Béthune.

Sapper W. Prentice of Clapham told us: “We had our first experience of actual warfare today when we were digging trenches. Our artillery was shelling the German lines behind us. It was a funny sensation to hear the shells screaming over our heads, but we soon got used to it. The Germans tried to reply, but they were a bit wide; we could see the shells explode in the field next to us, and a stray bullet or two came over our heads. Send me some chocolate and cigarettes as soon as possible”.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 15th January 1915

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