Thursday, 22 January 2015

Praise for the 2nd Bedfords

Sir Thompson Capper

Friday 22nd January 1915: Major-General Sir Thompson Capper KCMG, CB, DSO has written a despatch in which he praises the conduct of the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment so far in this war. He writes: “This battalion was in the Brigade Reserve during the early days of the fighting round Ypres, but portions of it were continually called upon to move up under shell fire and occupy positions in the face of hostile rifle and machine gun fire. Steadiness and good leading were required and given and the Brigade Commander considers that the battalion behaved in a most gallant manner throughout a trying and arduous period”.

On the 29th October the battalion took part in a general counter attack, advancing steadily and gallantly in spite of heavy enfilade(1) artillery and rifle fire when its losses were heavy. On the 31st October the battalion made several counter-attacks and lost many officers and men, including the Commanding Officer and Second in Command”.

At a later date Sir Thompson inspected the battalion when it had again been brought up to strength. He inspected the men closely and afterwards spoke a few words to the battalion. He complimented them on their appearance and turn-out generally, and again impressed on all ranks how well the battalion had carried out its duty on all occasions, and when the time came, with what confidence he knew he could rely on all ranks to upload the traditions of the regiment.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 22nd January 1915

(1) Enfilade meant that the unit was being shot at from the flank. When a unit was advancing in a line this meant that rifle fire by a group of enemy, for example, would rake down the line and thus kill many more men.

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