Thursday 23 October 2014

2nd Bedfords at Geluveld

Friday 23rd October 1914: Private T. Farmer of 2nd Bedfords' transport has been wounded and tells us that he had got a chicken from a nearby farm the previous evening and had eaten well: "I retired with the other drivers to sleep in a house about 8 pm, and about 10 pm a shell struck the wall and exploded in the room we were sleeping in; 16 men including myself, out of twenty, were wounded, I was hit in the foot and rather badly in the hip. After being carried into the road I was left until the ambulance came along. Carts were passing all night, and I had to keep shouting to let them know I was lying in the road, so as not to get run over. When I was put on the ambulance, shrapnel burst all around, four shells being fired at us. The driver's seat was blown into the cart at the side of me, and then the horses bolted. The other man, a Bedford chap too, fell out of the cart which ran for about two miles, when the reign caught in the wheel and stopped the horses. Eventually I arrived at a convent in Ypres where I was attended to".

We contacted the adjutant and discovered that things have been happening. The battalion were in reserve trenches supporting 22nd Brigade, though overnight C Company had been ordered up to the front line to take up a position on the right flank of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (of 21st Brigade), where it dug a trench. Early this morning it advanced and filled a gap which had developed between the Royal Scots Fusiliers and the 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment (also of 21st Brigade). The company got as far as a bend in the road when it came under heavy rifle and machine gun fire and had to fall back.

Later in the day the battalion was again ordered to fill the gap. This time B Company was despatched and, moving via the west end of Geluveld under heavy shell fire reached the edge of a wood behind the left flank of the Yorkshires and dug in. Altogether three men were killed during the day and a large number wounded.

Sources: Bedfordshire Times 13th November 1914; X5590/3/wd

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