Wednesday, 23 December 2015

2nd/5th Bedfords at Newmarket

Thursday 23rd December 1915: There is a county battalion at Newmarket of which we hear very little and yet it is made up entirely of Bedfordshire men. It is the 2nd/5th Bedford Regiment, one of the Territorial Battalions. It is an Imperial Service unit and all the men are liable for service abroad anywhere and at any time. A good many of the men were in the 1st/5th Bedford Regiment before it went out, but being under 19, were held to be too young to go abroad and so were transferred to Newmarket.

The 2nd/5th was originally a drafting Battalion for the 1st/5th and has sent out 16 officers and about 430 men to the 1st/5th at the Dardanelles. Now the function of making drafts is taken over by the 3rd/5th Bedford Regiment and the 2nd/5th is training and awaiting orders at Newmarket.

The men have for the most part been away from their homes for a year or more. At first they were in billets, and in the summer went under canvas, but now they are housed in empty training stables and the prospect of a second winter in Newmarket in such circumstances is not a very alluring one.

The commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Hon Victor Russell, is raising a fund to provide NCOs and men with a Christmas dinner and to provide games, papers and other requisites for the men’s Recreation Rooms. We hope the people of Bedford and Bedfordshire will at once send us in subscriptions for this fund. They will be helping their own men and doing for them what they gladly do for the troops stationed in Bedford. The 2nd/5th Bedford Regiment cannot receive any help from the Territorial Comforts Fund as that money is all subscribed for troops actually at the front(1).

Source: Bedfordshire Times 17th December 1915

(1) The Battalion moved to Harrogate [Yorkshire] in June 1916, to Darlington [Durham] in October 1916 and to Nottinghamshire in May 1917 being disbanded without ever seeing action in March 1918. 

No comments:

Post a Comment