Thursday 26th July 1917
The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is in camp, training. Over the last few days they have had ten new officers join them. They are as follows: Second Lieutenant F Hague (B Company); Second Lieutenant S Allport (B Company); Second Lieutenant A W Matson (C Company); Second Lieutenant P N J Christie (C Company); Second Lieutenant A E Croockewit (C Company); Second Lieutenant R C Hare (B Company); Second Lieutenant F Flavell (D Company); Second Lieutenant J Cotchin (D Company); Second Lieutenant J T Dickinson (A Company) and Second Lieutenant J T Laughton (C Company) (1)
Bedford House shown in red on the extreme left
The 2nd Battalion are, like the 7th Battalion, in the vicinity of Zillebeke, east of Ypres. Today Major R O Wynne went to the staff of 30th Division as a liaison officer and Lieutenant-Colonel Bunbury proceeded to the trenches to take command of the Battalion. Two hours ago the 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment and 18th Battalion, Manchester Regiment combined to raid the enemy near the Bedfords’ positions. For his assistance in this raid 8718 Corporal F Aveling was immediately awarded a Military medal. Second Lieutenant G Lenton. Eleven other ranks were killed and nineteen wounded during the day. These included Company Sergeant Major R Kirby and a seventeen-strong party returning to the front lines who were hit by a shell near Bedford House, killing six, wounding six and inflicting fatal wounds on five more(2).
Lieutenant Timberlake [X550/1/81]
The 4th Battalion are in the front line at Oppy. Lieutenant R Timberlake, commanding a party bringing up rations was killed by a machine-gun.
As the 1st/5th Battalion continue to practise their second raid on Umbrella Hill, they have been collecting stores. The adjutant wired me no note that this is not such an easy task as might appear on the surface, material, safety pins and cotton (for identification armlets to be worn on every raider’s sleeve) had to be got from Cairo!
Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/WD; X550/5/3; X550/6/8
(1) Second Lieutenant Paul Norman Jones Christie would be killed on 9th October 1917; Second Lieutenant Alexander Edward Croockewit, of Bedford School, would be killed on 26th October 1917; Second Lieutenant Joseph Cotchin, from Ridgmont, would be killed on 9th October 1917; Second Lieutenant Joseph Thornton Laughton, from Bedford, would die on 29th September 1918.
(2) The six fatalities are buried in Bedford House Cemetery, including Sergeant Major Robert Kirby.