Friday 31 October 2014

Severe Fighting Near Zandvoorde

Remains of the fir wood seen from the west

Saturday 31st October 1914: the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment has today lost two officers and thirty two other ranks killed as well as scores of men injured in a gallant attempt to stop a German advance from Zandvoorde. Early this morning orders were received for two platoons of C Company to occupy a small wood of fir trees then held by the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. This wood was a target for German artillery and very heavily shelled. The inadvisability of the order was soon apparent as, at first light, the Germans advanced, skirting the place to either side and cutting off its garrison. Its commander, Captain Lemon was wounded and captured along with many of his men.

The rest of the Battalion was ordered to make a fighting retreat towards the Menin Road which they did, eventually holding the German onslaught. The Battalion lost both its commanding officer – Major John Murray Traill and second-in-command Major Robert Percy Stares, both shot at close range whilst in the trenches trying to stem the enemy flow. 

Sergeant Edward Hutchinson has contacted us and describes his experience: "I was with Sergeant Arthur Baldock from Clifton and Lance Sergeant Frederick Staines from Walthamstow when they were killed. We couldn't bury poor old Staines as the Germans took our trench about ten minutes after he was killed. I did have a job to get away. I wriggled away on my belly for over a hundred yards. The next trench to me surrendered, and I can tell you it is a sight to see Englishmen walking away with their hands above their heads. You don't want to see it twice".

Tonight the fighting has died down leaving the battalion at less than half strength – around four hundred men. Only four officers have survived unscathed, the most senior being the adjutant Captain Foss. He tells us that the battalion is tasked with holding its current position.

We understand that the Bedfords’ experiences today have been fairly typical. The feeling is that the Germans came as close as one can possibly come to breaking through without actually doing so. All our reserves were used up and the only British soldiers behind the front line were cooks, chauffeurs and the like. Many battalions have suffered much worse than the Bedfords, the 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers, for example, are now less than one hundred strong out of a theoretical strength of one thousand.

Yet there seem grounds for some hope. The German attacks have petered out and they are evidently as exhausted as our own men. They may be too tired and too bloodied to launch any major attacks in the near future They cannot know how close they came to a breakthrough or they would have persisted and any lull in the fighting will give our battered units time to regroup and for reinforcements to come up. Let us hope that the Germans have been persuaded not to try our defences again in the days to come.

Source: X550/3/wd; P64/30/4

Roll of Honour 31st October 1914

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: assisting in recapture of trenches lost by the 8th Ghurkhas east of Festubert
·        3/7245 Private Horace Edward GINN, 38, son of Martha and the late John Ginn, born and resided Bedford (le Touret Memorial)
·        8025 Private Horace MOUSE, 28, son of Mary Mouse of 207 High Street, Dunstable, husband of Lily Mabel of 33 Church Street, Dunstable (le Touret Memorial)
·        3/6459 Corporal Jeffrey TEARLE, 24, son of Sarah Jane Tearle of 9 Alfred Street, Dunstable; born Eaton Bray (le Touret Memorial)

2nd Battalion: First Battle of Ypres - retirement from the Geluveld-Zanvoorde Road to the Menin Road
·        9602 Sergeant Arthur BALDOCK, born Welwyn [Hertfordshire], resided Clifton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        3/6127 Private Wilfred John BARRS, 25, husband of Elizabeth Sarah of 145 Winstanley Road, Wellingborough [Northamptonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        3/7145 Private Samuel Arthur BELFIELD, 24, husband of Ethel of 7 Chesterfield Road, Belper [Derbyshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9253 Private James BRAZIER, brother of Maud Thrale of High Street, Wheathampstead [Hertfordshire], born in Luton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        3/6308 Private Michael BRESNAHAN, born and resided Deptford [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9838 Private Eric William BROWN, born Lowick [Northamptonshire], resided Wellingborough [Northamptonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9046 Private William BURNS, born and resided Tilbrook [Huntingdonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        10076 Private Edgar BUTCHER, 21, son of Mrs F Butcher of 43 Raingate Street, Bury Saint Edmund's [Suffolk] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        3/7393 Private Sidney CAIN, 28, son of Mr and Mrs Cain of 54 Duke Street, Luton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        10130 Private James Walter CRAFT, born Woodburn Green [Buckinghamshire], resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9540 Private Charles Henry GODFREY, born Cotton [Suffolk], resided Walton [Suffolk] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9242 Private Robert John HARRIS, born and resided Great Hallingbury [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9874 Private James Nelson HICKMAN, 24, son of Henry John and Mary Jane Hickman of 31 Brook Street, Daventry [Northamptonshire], born Badby [Northamptonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9052 Lance Corporal Henry Charles HOLLIDGE, born Marylebone [London], resided Pimlico [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9308 Private Edward HOOD, born Ditchenham [Norfolk], resided Waltham Cross [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        3/6130 Private Alfred HUCKLE, 23, son of W Huckle of 4 Common Road, Stotfold (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9671 Lance Sergeant Jack Fransham KEABLE, 21, son of Ernest Burroughs Keable of 41 Sunbury Lane, Walton on Thames [Surrey] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9921 Lance Corporal Benjamin LANGFORD, born and resided Stretham [Cambridgeshire]
·        Captain Ernest Hugh LYDDON, 27, son of F S and I W Lyddon of Clifton [Bristol] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9596 Private Herbert James NORMAN, 25, son of James Norman of Northill, born in Sandy (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9975 Private Emmanuel OLNEY, born Hatfield Hyde [Hertfordshire], resided Enfield [Middlesex] (Harlebeeke New British Cemetery)
·        3/6816 Private Frederick ROWLETT, 19, son of William and Mary Ann Rowlett of 32 Sun Street, Biggleswade (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        7684 Private Tom SHARP, 24, son of Annie Sharp of Salisbury Street, Semilong [Northamptonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9352 Private Albert SMART, born and resided in Luton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        7792 Lance Sergeant Frederick STAINES, 30, son of Jessie May Crone (ex Staines) of 103 Spruce Hill Road, Walthamstow [Essex], born Felstead [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        3/6861 Private Sidney John STRINGER, 21, son of Alfred and Margaret Stringer of Water End, Flitwick (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9252 Private George THOMASON, born and resided Biggleswade (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        Lieutenant Donald Godrid Campbell THOMSON, 21, son of D G P and Clara Thomson of Penrith [Cumberland] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        3/6995 Private Sidney THOROUGHGOOD, 19, son of Samuel Thoroughgood, born Ampthill, resided Bedford, (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        7765 Private Frederick THURSTON, born West Ham [Essex], resided Stratford [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        8502 Lance Corporal Thomas Alfred TOMPKINS, 27, son of Mary Ann Tompkins of New Alley, Limehouse [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9226 Corporal William Jepthah John WHITE, born Canning Town [Essex], resided Bassingbourne [Cambridgeshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9353 Lance Corporal Percy Edward WOODCROFT, 23, son of Edwin and Sarah Annie Woodcroft of 73 Ivy Road, Luton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        3/7108 Private George Herbert WRIGHTON, 20, son of Mrs A Wrighton of 53 Cromwell Street, Rushden [Northamptonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
·        7677 Private Joseph POULTON, born Tring [Hertfordshire], resided Berkhamstead [Hertfordshire] (Glasgow (Lambhill) Cemetery)

2nd Battalion
·        8932 Private Henry CLARK, 24, husband of H Walsh (ex Clark) of de Waal Road, Cape Town [South Africa], born and resided in Esher [Surrey] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres) 

·        9270 Private George William PINDRED, 24, son of James and Harriet Pindred of Market Square, Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres

Thursday 30 October 2014

Fighting at Zandvoorde and Sneaky Germans at Festubert

Looking from the 2nd Bedfords' position towards Zandvoorde

Friday 30th October 1914: again both our battalions have been in action today. Our contact with the 1st Battalion tells us that about 1.30 this afternoon they were rushed up to support the Devonshire Regiment and the 8th Battalion Gurkha Rifles who had been pushed from their positions east of Festubert: “We found that the Gurkhas were retiring in lumps and heard that the Devons were in a bad way as all their rifles had jammed in the mud and they had no rime to clean them”. Fortunately they were able to regain both sets of trenches.

Clearly the Germans had used deception tactics to gain the upper hand with the ferocious Gurkhas, as these little chaps from Nepal do not give up without a hard fight. Our contact tells us: “Captain Gale got his platoons up as far as a ditch within a few yards of the line and leaving them there went forward himself to a house which was practically on the line and standing by which were several Gurkhas. He walked up to them to find out what had happened and when within a few yards of them called out to them. They immediately turned round and fired point blank at him and then turned round and bolted. He had his left arm practically blown off. They turned out to be Germans dressed up in Indian kit”.

The 2nd Bedfords began the day near the village of Zandvoorde. This was held by 7th Cavalry Brigade, fighting dismounted and comorising the 1st and 2nd Lifeguards and the Royal Horse Guards – the Household Cavalry. By an overwhelming attack these gallant troops were driven from the village. A German artillery battery then emerged from Zandvoorde into the open, presumably thinking it was shelling retreating troops, only to find the 2nd Bedfords in the way, acting as Brigade reserve, and they quickly silenced it.

The capture of Zandvoorde outflanked the Bedfords’ brigade which was forced to retire, covered by the Bedfords. They have now taken up a line behind the road from Geluveld to Zandvoorde and have dug in. There will surely be another German attack tomorrow, Halloween.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/2/7; X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour 30th October 1914

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: assisting in recapture of trenches lost by the 8th Ghurkhas east of Festubert
·        8483 Private Maurice MAUNDERS, 25, son of Mark and Lucy Maunders of Dagnall [Buckinghamshire] (le Touret Memorial)

2nd Battalion: First Battle of Ypres - successful German attack on Zandvoorde
·        Lieutenant Wilfred Cruttenden ANDERSON, 22, only son of the late Lieutenant-Colonel W T Anderson, 2nd battalion, South Staffordshire regiment (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9374 Corporal Arthur BYGRAVE, 25, son of Arthur and Susan of Symonds Green, Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9946 Private Richard Turney ELMORE, born and resided Bedford (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        Major Robert Percy STARES, 47, son of John Twynam Stares of Upham Manor [Hampshire]; he was mentioned in despatches (Perth Cemetery (China Wall) Ypres)
·        Major John Murray TRAILL, 49, son of James Christie and Julia Traill of Rattar [Caithness]; he was mentioned in despatches (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        10019 Private Dick Richard WILLETT, born Henham [Essex], resided Birchanger [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
·        7951 Private William GULLIVER, 28, A Company, son of Joseph and Mary Gulliver of East End, Flitwick, husband of Mary Emmeline of 7 Church Walk, Kempston (Bethune Town Cemetery)
·        8143 Private Alfred HANKIN, 28, son of Mr and Mrs Hankin of 64 Ivy Road, Luton, a native of Dunstable, served nine years in the 2nd Battalion (Bethune Town Cemetery)

2nd Battalion
·        9504 Private Cecil Stanley Reginald Stephen Aylott ALLSOPP or ALLSOP, son of Lilian A Aylott Allsop of 94 Dalmally Road, Addiscombe [Surrey], born and resided Brighton [Sussex] (Ypres Town Cemetery Extension)

·        Second Lieutenant Walter Arthur Beaumont WALKER, 22, son of Richard Beaumont Walker (Bethune Town Cemetery)

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Both Battalions in Action

Thursday 29th October 1914: Both our battalions have been in action today. The adjutant of the 1st Bedfords, at Festubert, tells us that B and D Companies were sent to assist the Manchester Regiment who had been partially ejected from their trenches by the enemy. Our source with the battalion, however, tells us: “As we were relieving the Manchester supporting company we heard cheering and found that two sergeants of the Manchesters had just retaken the last portion of advanced trench on their own, had driven out and captured seventeen Germans themselves”.[1]

The 2nd Battalion spent the night digging in near the village of Zandvoorde where they are the reserve battalion for their brigade. This afternoon they were ordered to advance to assist in a counter-attack. As soon as they left their trenches the battalion came under heavy shellfire. Then the enemy machine guns began to be a nuisance, they were in between the battalion and a further British unit ahead meaning that the Bedfords could not fire at them for fear of hitting our own men. This left the battalion somewhat in limbo and the adjutant tells us that they expect to be ordered to retire to their original positions under cover of darkness this evening. He tells us that one officer and three other ranks have been killed.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/2/7; X550/3/wd

[1] This is not quite correct – the two men were 2nd Lieutenant James Leach and Sergeant John Hogan, both of whom were subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross

Roll of Honour 29th October 1914

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: assisting the Manchester Regiment regain lost trenches at Festubert
·        8665 Private Frank Herbert BAYFORD, born Little Hadham [Hertfordshire], resided Bishop's Stortford [Hertfordshire] (Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez)
·        8391 Acting Corporal Joseph Alfred MALLETT, 26, son of William Mallett of 62 Napier Street, Norwich [Norfolk] (le Touret Memorial)

2nd Battalion: First Battle of Ypres - a counterattack in the area of Zandvoorde
·        9506 Private Alfred Arthur BLOGG, 23, son of Alfred and Eliza Blogg of 57 Denmark Road, New Catton [Norfolk] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        Lieutenant Edmund Elgood PUNCHARD, 24, son of Canon and the late Catherine Mary Punchard of Ely [Cambridgeshire]; he was mentioned in despatches (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9667 Private Fred SPARY, born Markyate [Hertfordshire], resided Luton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9455 Corporal Alfred Albert STAPLES, born and resided Horsham [Sussex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
·        9833 Private William Alexandra CLARKE, born and resided Grimsbury resided [Oxfordshire] (Ypres Town Cemetery Extension)


1st Battalion

·        7903 Private Amos ROGERS, 34, son of Ambrose Rogers of Furneaux Pelham [Hertfordshire], husband of E Ball (ex Rogers) of 29 Trinity Street, Bishop's Stortford [Hertfordshire] (Porte-de-Paris Cemetery, Cambrai)

Tuesday 28 October 2014

2nd Bedfords Waiting

Wednesday 28th October 1914: The adjutant, who yesterday explained the strategic situation at Ypres to us tells us that it was expected that during the day they would receive an attack by the XXVII German Reserve Corps in an attempt to break through the lines, but this did not materialise.

The Battalion was methodically shelled during the day, however, including the headquarters and reserve company in the rear. Remarkably only one man, Private Ernest Barker from Luton, has lost his life, though others have been wounded. A whole platoon of A Company had its trench blown in on it and the forty or so men had to be dug out.

The Battalion is due to be relieved tonight.

Source: X5503/wd

Roll of Honour 28th October 1914

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: in Festubert at night as support to the front line
·        8444 Private Albert George BRAND, born and resided Fulham [London] (le Touret Memorial)
·        8869 Private John BRANT, born Lewisham [London], resided Sydenham [Kent] (le Touret Memorial)
·        7973 Private Albert William ROACH, 27, son of Mr and Mrs W Roach of 72 Westbourne Road, Bedford, born Wantage [Berkshire] (le Touret Memorial)
·        8969 Private Ernest STAPLETON, born and resided Bedford (le Touret Memorial)
·        7410 Private Arthur James STONEBRIDGE, 32, son of George and the late Sarah Rachel of 42 Cronham Road, Rotherhithe [London], born Bermondsey [London] (le Touret Memorial)
·        8109 Private Edward John TEW, 30, son of Emma and the late Henry Tew of Billington Crossing (le Touret Memorial)
·        8370 Private William VIGUS, born Southwark [London], resided Bermondsey [London] (le Touret Memorial)

2nd Battalion: First Battle of Ypres - relieved from positions between Zandvoorde Chateau and the Menin Road

·        3/7094 Private Ernest BARKER, 21, son of Sarah Barker of 21 Back Street, Luton, born Earl's Barton [Northamptonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

Monday 27 October 2014

2nd Bedfords at Zandvoorde

Tuesday 27th October 1914: The adjutant of the 2nd Bedfords tells us that they have taken up a position south of the Menin Road outside Ypres in between Kruiseke and Zandvoorde in the front line, facing south. A Company is on the right, B Company in the centre and C Company on the left with D Company held in reserve.

The adjutant tells us that the Germans appear to be concentrating in the south and east. He feels that during the next few days there will be a major German attack all along the British Expeditionary Force line around Ypres. Should the enemy be able to take the city they will have conquered the last little piece of Belgium. More significantly for the BEF, if the Germans break through their line there will be nothing to stop them running south and west down the French coast, taking major ports such as Dunkirk and Calais. They will then be only twenty one miles from England and in a position to mount an invasion. The battle over the next few days may decide the fate of the war.

Sources: X550/3/wd

Sunday 26 October 2014

Burials at the Front

Monday 26th October 1914: The 2nd Battalion at Ypres has been holding the line. Sadly it has lost two of its officers today. Captain Arthur Hall from Eastbourne was shot by a sniper as was, later in the day, Lieutenant William Bastard. Particular care is taken, when burying the dead, to mark their resting place. The adjutant told us that Lieutenant Bastard was buried: “On the north edge of the wood south of the road junction at the foot of Beselare Hill in the centre of the north edge on the west of the road, close to the bend in the road”[1]. William Bastard had only just been gazetted as a lieutenant on 30th September.[2]

The adjutant of the battalion has contacted us to inform us of Captain Hall's death: "I am told he was looking through his glasses for a sniper when he was shot. The bullet entered his neck and killed him instantly". Sergeant Major F. J. Whitemore has added a warm tribute to the late captain and his behaviour during the late fighting: "A and D Companies of our regiment were ordered to take up positions in the firing line [on 23rd October]. The attack was carried forward to a certain point but with the loss of Captain Bassett of A Company, wounded, also of about thirty six other officers and men killed and wounded. Captain Hall, at great risk to himself, proceeded to give what help was possible to all the officers and men of A Company, and after seeing all the wounded back, the Captain and I took up a position in advance, whilst the battalion entrenched in the rear, and the words he said were to the effect that if possible we must have revenge for the loss that was inflicted on Captain Bassett and his company. After waiting for some time, satisfaction was obtained by dropping three out of a patrol of six. After the event we had a very rough time , being continually under shell fire and fighting with heavy odds against us - it would be impossible to enumerate the acts of bravery by all ranks of our company, needless to say Captain Hall being the first to set the example. The night before his death he was talking with me  over the previous night's attack and remarking how lucky the company was to get back safely with so few casualties and at the time he passed a few remarks on what to do in the event of him becoming a casualty. Unhappily he became one the following morning about 8.20. At the time we were sitting in the trench talking over our escape earlier this morning when a stray bullet struck him and he instantly fell on me, and examining him I found the vein on the right side of the neck was severed and he never spoke a word after being struck, as nothing further could be done, he was buried where he fell. Previous to this incident no night passed without he and I going round the company to look after the welfare of his men and on most occasions bullets were striking all around him and I never once saw him show any signs of fear".

During the morning it was decided that the Guards Brigade would attack Beselare, following the aborted attack of yesterday. Heavy shellfire meant that this attack was, again, aborted. The Bedfords were to advance in the wake of the Guards but in the event did not have to do so.

Sources: X550/3/wd; de Ruvingny's Roll of Honour

[1] Despite this careful marking of its position the war later rode over Lieutenant Bastard’s grave and obliterated it. He is commemorated, along with so many others, on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing in Ypres.

[2] Lt William Bastard was born in Exmouth in 1891 and educated at Tiverton School. He is commemorated on the Exmouth War Memorial.

Roll of Honour 26th October 1914

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: relieved from front line trenches one mile east of Festubert
·        Lieutenant Saint John Alan CHARLTON, 25, son of Saint John and Elizabeth Bronwen Charlton of 9 Sloane Gardens [London], born Cholmondeley Malpas [Cheshire] (Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez)
·        8142 Private Lewis DYER, resided Luton (le Touret Memorial)
·        10160 Private Percy REEVE, 20, A Company, son of Mrs S Reeve of 50 Pix Road, Letchworth [Hertfordshire] (le Touret Memorial)

2nd Battalion: First Battle of Ypres: abortive advance from Geluveld on Beselare
·        3/6189 Private Alfred BRIGHTMAN, born Streatley, resided Great Bramingham (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        8421 Sergeant John Charles BROWN, born and resided Dunstable (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        8138 Private Thomas Robert BULLOCK, 26, son of Thomas Bullock of 2 Saint Anne Street, Hanley [Staffordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9377 Lance Corporal Horace CHALKLEY, 24, son of William Chalkley of 5 Church Street, Slip End, he was born and lived in Markyate [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9426 Corporal Frank Hector CHURCH, born Ilford [Essex], resided Leytonstone [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9251 Private George COOK, born and resided Hatfield Broad Oak [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9525 Private Morris Edward COOPER, born Steeple Bumpstead [Essex], resided Bury Saint Edmund's [Suffolk] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        8512 Private William Frederick CORKETT, 28, son of Elizabeth Corkett of 52 Wyke Road, Old Ford, Bow [London], born and resided Bromley [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9791 Private George Henry GOODSHIP, 22, son of Mrs M A Rook of Upper Caldecote, born Barnsley [Yorkshire] (Harlebeke New British Cemetery)
·        Captain Arthur Gordon HALL, 34, commander of D Company, son of the late Edward and Anna Hall of Eastbourne [Sussex], born in Shimogah [Mysore]; he was mentioned in despatches and served in the Second Boer War (Perth Cemetery (China Wall) Ypres)
·        9020 Private Michael HAWLEY, 24, brother of Peter Hawley of 6 War Seal Mansions, Fulham [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        8773 Lance Corporal Alfred Mathew KEIRLE, 25, son of George Mathew and Elizabeth Ann Keirle of 10 Windsor Street, Paddington [London], born Brighton [Sussex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        8526 Private Charles William MEAD, 27, son of George and Eliza Mead of Gosfield [Essex], a native of Great Parndon [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9087 Sergeant John Henry MORTER, 25, B Company, son of John Morter of 89 Ashville Road, Leytonstone [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        7294 Private Harry NEWMAN, born and resided Great Staughton [Huntingdonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        10119 Private Walter O'BRIEN, 20, son of Edwin James and Elizabeth O'Brien of 65 Warwick Road, Luton
·        7202 Private Frederick ROBINSON, born Hammersmith [London], resided East Ham [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9456 Private William ROBINSON, born Overstone [Northamptonshire], resided Linslade (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9088 Private Augustus SPELLER, born Henham [Essex], resided Hertford (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9537 Private Henry WALLINGER, born and resided Fenny Stratford [Buckinghamshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
·        9508 Private Herbert WEBSTER, born and resided Norwich [Norfolk] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres

Saturday 25 October 2014

Action at the Front

Sunday 25th October 1914: Our contact with the 1st Battalion tells us of a tragic event: “During the day Lance Corporal Warrell of A Company was killed. It happened as follows: He was in charge of a post on my left and I went over to see him. When I was talking to him a bullet came past my left ear, so close that I am still deafened from it in that ear. It appeared to come from the rear so I asked the post if they had many others over. They said that several had been over from that direction”.

“As I knew that quite close behind there was a support trench, I told Lance Corporal Warrell to crawl back to them and find out if they had been shooting at all from there and to say that on no account was there to be any more. He went back a few yards and then bobbed over the parados[1] and started to shout at them. Almost at the same time a bullet came and practically blew off his head. I picked him up and held him until he died, if he was not already dead”.

“I then went back to the reserve trench but there had been no shooting from there at all and I could not discover where the shots came from. German snipers were, however, all over the place and behind us”.

By contrast the 2nd Battalion have been on the move today, ordered to co-operate in an attack on Beselare. This afternoon they advanced from their trenches by executing a wheel to the right. The men behaved very steadily but, due to the onset of darkness the attack was abandoned and the unit returned to its trenches. The adjutant remarked to us: “There were at least two burning houses, one of them Battalion Headquarters which had been shelled during the day and set alight, behind us as we advanced”.

We might remark that today is the 499th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.

Sources: X550/2/7; X550/3/wd

[1]  A raised bank at the back of a trench.

Roll of Honour 25th October 1914

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: front line trenches one mile east of Festubert
·        7458 Private Frank BLAND, born Kensworth, resided Layer-de-la-Haye [Essex] (le Touret Memorial)
·        10274 Private Arthur DOWNES, 23, son of Robert Downes of 3 White Entry Yard, Norwich [Norfolk], born Thorpe Hamlet [Norfolk] (le Touret Memorial)
·        9752 Private Richard Leonard FREEMAN, born and resided Luton (le Touret Memorial)
·        8332 Private David GROOM, born Whitwell [Hertfordshire], resided Kimpton [Hertfordshire] (Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy)
·        8289 Private Walter HURRICKS, 28, son of Walter and Ellen Hurricks of 8 Tanners Lane, Ipswich [Suffolk] (le Touret Memorial)
·        8873 Private Charles Bridgestock JONES, born Southwark [London], resided Bermondsey [London] (le Touret Memorial)
·        8972 Private James Sainsbury MOULD, 28, son of William Mould of 33 Upper Park Place, Marylebone Road [London], he was born and resided in West Ham [Essex] (le Touret Memorial)
·        8902 Private Reginald Herbert SINDEN, 25, son of James Sinden of Fairtrough Cottages, Pratts Bottom [Kent], he was born in Sevenoaks [Kent] (le Touret Memorial)
·        8190 Private William SKINNER, son of Fred Skinner, born and resided Kensworth (le Touret Memorial)
·        7960 Lance Corporal Charles Karrell WARRELL, 31, son of C and E Warrell of Solesbridge Lane, Chorley Wood [Hertfordshire] (le Touret Memorial)
·        7354 Private George WILDMAN, 36, husband of Annie Rose of 36 Millbrook Road, Bedford, he had been born in Riseley (le Touret Memorial)
·        7506 Lance Corporal Edmund William WILSHER, born and resided Canning Town [Essex] (le Touret Memorial)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
·        10216 Private Sidney CLARK, born and resided Lilley [Hertfordshire] (Lilley churchyard)

2nd Battalion

·        6689 Sergeant Drummer William Charles DYER, 29, C Company, son of William and Eliza Jane Dyer of 42 Saint John's Street, Bedford, he was born Colchester [Essex] and resided Ware [Hertfordshire] (Longnuenesse (Saint-Omer) Souvenir Cemetery)