Monday 29 January 2018

End of the Line for the 8th Battalion

Tuesday 29th January 1918

8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment was formed on the outbreak of war in August 1914 to receive some of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers ready to serve ther country. It mobilised on 21st August 1915 and arrived in France on 10th September. Most new battalions arriving in France or Belgium had time to “bed in”. The 8th Bedfords were not so lucky, going into action on the first day of the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915. Since then they have taken part in a number of major actions: they lost 72 dead in a German attack on the Ijser Canal near Ypres in April 1916; they lost 128 dead at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette in September 1916; 24 men died in the Battle of Morval also in September 1916; 17 men fell in the Battle of Transloy Ridges in October 1916 and 21 men gave their lives in the Battle of Cambrai last November and December.

Today it has been announced that the Battalion is to be disbanded. The Battalion received a communication from Lieutenant-Colonel P Hudson, acting adjutant and quarter master general of 6th Division this morning as follows: “In forwarding the attached correspondence, the Major-General Commanding regrets that is has been found necessary to break up the 8th Bedfordshire Regiment, and he wishes to express to the Officers, N.C.Os. and men his high appreciation of the services rendered by the Battalion during the time it has been with the Division”.

“The splendid gallantry with which it has fought and the loyalty with which it has served has been in keeping with the highest traditions of the British Army”. The brigadier, H T Walker, added: “After serving with the 8th Bedfordshire Regiment for 26 months the other units of the Brigade will sadly miss the Battalion. Its conduct in action and in the line has taught them to have every confidence in it. The Battalion did practically all its fighting in the 16th Infantry Brigade and it leaves a record of which the Brigade is proud”.

With the strength of the army being reduced by about a quarter it remains to be seen how many other battalions the Regiment will lose over the next little while.

Source: X550/9/1

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