Thursday 25 September 2014

An Old Soldier Tries to Re-enlist, the 1st Bedfords in the Line

Friday 25th September 1914: Ex-Sergeant A. Hardwick of Station Road, Oakley, presented himself at the Bedford Barracks but on account of dental troubles was not accepted. He served for twelve years with the Notts and Derby Regiment and then joined the 3rd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment in which he did another twelve years, holding the rank of full sergeant. His foreign services included Chitral, 1895 and the Tirah, 1897[1]. He holds the medal and three clasps for these services. He is now fifty and has been for some years employed on the Duke of Bedford’s Estate.

Our contact with the 1st Bedfords has informed us of a sad circumstance: “Stood to arms in the trenches at 4 am and sniped and were sniped at all day long. While I was sitting on a biscuit box well under cover as I thought, talking to Drummer Chequer, a sniper plugged at us and hit Chequer, who was practically touching me, in the shin bone. It was a most extraordinary wound and took about six inches out of his leg. He didn’t think much of it at the time and was splendid about it although it must have been very painful bore it awfully well”.[2]

“We have been occupied in burying several men of the Manchester Regiment and some dead Germans whom we found lying about and some who were only half buried. We go back to meals at the farm and have to run the gauntlet between it and Battalion Headquarters in the wood, as German snipers are very active”.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 25th September 1914; X550/2/7

[1] The Chitral Campaign and the Tirah Campaign were both fought against native tribes in the area of the Khyber Pass in what is today Pakistan.

[2] Drummer Herbert Chequer died on 28th September after having the leg amputated.

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