Friday 23 January 2015

The Perils of Gathering Brushwood

Saturday 23rd January 1915: Private S. Lovell of the 2nd Bedfords, who lives at 38 Sandhurst Road, Bedford(1) tells us: “The 6th Gordons occupy the trench on our right(2) and I don’t think I shall ever forget them. I will tell you why. Two days ago one of our officers told six of us to go  and collect brushwood for the bottom of the trench (also some planks) We proceeded to the rear of 6th Gordons where a farm had been heavily shelled by German artillery, when we were fired at by German snipers. We all made a belt for the farmhouse, at least five did, myself being too far away in a field adjoining. I had to make the best cover possible so I chose the side of a ditch with large trees along it. I lay down behind one and four shots wee fired at me, three hitting the tree and one miss. Where I was lying I could see my comrades in the farmhouse. They told me to crawl round the ditch and then make a run for it, about fifty yards. I did so and reached them safely. The 6th Gordons’ trench is immediately in front of the farm, so four of the party went through into ours. I and another fellow, not to be done out of our brushwood, waited until dark, and then dragged it home.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 22nd January 1915

(1) This may be 9095 Sergeant S Lovell MM, 32, whose wife lived at 23 Eastville Road, who died with 2nd Battalion on 23rd August 1918 and is buried at Daours Communal Cemetery Extension.

(2) 1st/6th Gordon Highlanders were part of 20th Brigade, 7th Division (the same division as the 2nd Bedfords) from 5th December 1914. 

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