Thursday 30 April 2015

New Blood for the 1st Battalion

Friday 30th April 1915: The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is still in trenches to the left of Hill 60. The adjutant reports that a draft of three officers and three hundred other ranks arrived at Ouderdom this morning. One officer and one hundred of these men will be sent tonight to join their new comrades in the trenches. As these men are new to the war such a large number all at once would be a challenge for the veterans to train in all the ways of a soldier on active service in the conditions peculiar to this war and untrained men are likely to get themselves killed quickly. The rest of the new arrivals will be integrated gradually as those preceding them acclimatise to their new surroundings and duties.

The adjutant reports there is some difficulty in getting stores and supplies such as ammunition, water and food to the trenches at the moment owing to constant and persistent shelling of all roads and approaches by the enemy. He wonders if this means a German attack is on the way.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - Friday 30th April 1915

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: front line trenches west of Hill 60
  • 9772 Corporal Ernest Norman BADGER, 21, son of Lizzie Badger of Wittering [Peterborough], born Norton [Worcestershire], resided Langtoft [Lincolnshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 8082 Lance Corporal Richard COOKSEY, born Cannock [Staffordshire], resided Hednesford [Staffordshire] (Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 10263 Acting Corporal Walter Thomas COPPING, born East Finchley [Middlesex], resided North Finchley [Middlesex] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)


1st Battalion

  • 7615 Corporal Harold BATCHELOR, son of Caroline Batchelor of 6 Boxted Cottages, Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire] (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)

Wednesday 29 April 2015

Another Trench Poet

Thursday 29th April 1915: From Private S Jeffs comes the following written today “while back in billets for a little rest”.

Springtime is near, the winter is o’er,
And when shall I see the dearly loved shore,
Of beautiful England, the land of my birth,
The dearest of lands on the face of the earth?

When this great war is over I hope to return,
With all speed again to the land where friends yearn;
For I known they will welcome me with smiles on their face,
So God protect England, the loveliest old place.

And when I get back, if needed again,
I would fight for my King and Country the same,
As young fellows ought who have never yet known,
The price of their Country and King on the throne.

So young men of England, answer the call,
For your country now needs you, one and all,
And then at the end of this terrible woe,
You may say thank God I was among them to go.

God Save the King!

Source: Bedfordshire Times 30th April 1915

(1) 3/7196 Private S. Jeffs of the 2nd Battalion was killed in action at Festubert on 17th May and is buried at the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy.

Roll of Honour - Thursday 29th April 1915

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: front line trenches west of Hill 60
  • 8427 Lance Sergeant Reginald Arthur Rosamond FEARN DCM, 25, son of Elizabeth Cook (ex Fearn) of 161 High Street South, Dunstable (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)


1st Battalion

  • 8141 Private Harry Ernest TURNER, 29, husband of Edith E Birch (ex Turner) of Bury Row, Bacton [Suffolk], born Wokingham [Hampshire], resided Stowmarket [Suffolk] (Hamburg Cemetery)

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Hill 60 - a Retrospective Part III

Wednesday 28th April 1915: Yesterday we continued to pass on the story of a Londoner serving with 1st Battalion who was wounded in the fighting at Hill 60. His account had reached the point at which the mine below Hill 60 was blown. He continues: After an interval, during which the Germans continued their fire, the British guns broke out again. Then, a young chap with a wrist watch said to me, "It's almost eight". It was eight before I understood what he meant. It was eight before the order came to charge, with the great guns throwing volleys of the big stuff beyond it and above us".

"And we scrambled out of the trenches and doubled, like fellows in a sprint, for the smoky blackness of that hill. We were nearly a thousand strong, and we dashed up the hillside until we reached the crest".

"When we got there we knew what we had to do. It wasn't shooting Germans. It wasn't bayoneting. What Germans there were we had to drag out of the ground".

"What we had to do was to fill sandbags, build up new trenches, and make some sort of fortification against the trouble which we knew was bound to some".

"And the boys did it, and they whistled and sang while they did the sandbagging business and every now and again someone who was singing went down through the spit of a German bullet that came from their other lines".

"Within about a quarter of an hour we had dug ourselves in and firmly established ourselves at the foot of the hill. There was little rest. In about an hour and a quarter afterwards - about ten o'clock - the Germans came along suddenly with their great counter-attack".

"We were not surprised. We knew it was going to happen. On both sides the batteries were blazing away and for half an hour the cannonade had developed all along the opposing fronts".

"In the flare and flash of the runs, while we sang and banked up those sandbags on the top of the hill which had been so cheaply won, we saw masses of their troops, looking grey and ghostly in the light, massed together and suddenly advance from their lines of support".

"Over 3,000 of them came at us. They came up their side of the hill like ghostly creatures. Many of them held their rifles at the shoulder, and as they came along we had our revenge for those eight cold, hungry days in which we had waited for them and suffered from them in the trenches before Hill 60".

"We kept up our rifle fire and a man fell here and a man fell there. The rest of them laughed and came on".

"But we had, of course, anticipated the counter-attack, and in the hour's lull that followed the capture of the crest of the hill we had brought up a score of machine guns".

"And the guns kept quiet. They did as they were told. They waited while our desultory rifle fire allowed their grey-coated battalions to come on and on. And they came on and on, plunging in the wet grass, but confident, until suddenly they stopped".

"Behind the ragged infantry fire of ours, the most ineffectual infantry fire that ever tried to stop an obstinate enemy in God's world, were our machine guns. The machine guns came up altogether".

"They made no noise about it, and came along quietly, and took their appointed places, while we piled up the sandbags and sang songs to each other and asked them to shoot at impossible targets".

"As they [the Germans] came on, more confident at every step, as the broken run grew steadier and their front lines formed themselves to charge, so our battery - masked batteries - spoke out. We went into them line after line".

"It was like a great harvesting and nothing was spared. I have seen plenty of slaughter since Mons, but nothing like this".

"They simply fell in heaps; hundreds and hundreds were mown down while their officers shouted the orders to "open out" and as we drove them back on their support trenches our artillery caught them midway. They went down like ninepins or rabbits, or anything else that you can think of".

"But these are figures of speech. Our officer told us they must have lost at least a third of their attacking force in this single attempt to retake Hill 60. After this attack they were very quiet".

"They lay like mice along their side of the hill - like great grey mice - most of them quiet, silent and dead"

Roll of Honour - Wednesday 28th April 1915

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion

  • 8335 Private Frederick James COX, born and resided Great Staughton [Huntingdonshire] (Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension)

Monday 27 April 2015

Hill 60 - a Retrospective Part II

Tuesday 27th April 1915Yesterday we began to pass on the story of a Londoner serving with 1st Battalion who was wounded in the fighting at Hill 60. His account had reached the point at which the mines below Hill 60 were about to be blown. He continues: "It was terrific. It went off like a big volcano. Everything in front of us went black for a moment, and yet through the blackness we could see distinctly bits of flying earth. And underneath our own trenches the earth was quivering".

"I was in the first line of our trenches and it seemed as if the walls of our trenches, which we had built up in the face of spitting bullets, would collapse".

"Our sappers had done their work slowly, but thoroughly. They burrowed deep into the hill from different points, and the extremities of these tunnels which they had mined were only a few feet from other, directly the German dug-outs of Hill 60 itself".

"When the blackness came up before our eyes, when the earth was torn up before us, when clods of it came whistling like cannon balls into our own trenches, or at least into our own advance trenches, the trouble began".

"I don't know what happened very much better than do the Germans who were lying there in advance dug-outs on Hill 60".

"A terrible sound smote upon our ears. Our guns woke and started talking. Batteries concentrated themselves suddenly upon the front for six miles. I have seen a lot of it. I have seen men smile and go suddenly deaf and go on smiling".

"We had French batteries and a Belgian battery hidden away and, by God! they did wonderful execution, but the vast majority of the batteries were our own".

"I thought about this, I mean I felt about this when I got up on the top of Hill 60, that nasty jagged crag which we had left above the crater, and pulled out a great-coated German from a morass of mud and earth".

"He was quite dazed. He didn't know me. He had experienced a lot of things, including ten minutes of our artillery, and he was simply just waiting for the next thing to happen. So I pulled him out of the earth".

"I know a lot of you will wonder why we brought such a large number of guns to play upon Hill 60, and all those little places that lay snugly hidden Behind Hill 60. I will tell you".

"We started pouring shot into them like hail because we had made up our mind that we would not allow the German supports - and there were any amount of these - to creep over the crest of Hill 60 and aid the men whom we had tossed up towards the skies - I mean their other men who had been holding the position for Germany on our little side of the hill".

"Most of you have probably seen firework displays at the Crystal Palace. It was just like that, although after every great display, after every big cascade, moans and lamentations came along to you across the grass".

Roll of Honour - Tuesday 27th April 1915

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 3/8605 Private Charles JACKSON, 29, son of William and Mary Ann Jackson of Bourn [Cambridgeshire], husband of Susannah of Church Lane, Great Paxton [Huntingdonshire] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

2nd Battalion

  • 4/7173 Private James John BAKER, husband of Clara of 70 Sopwell Lane, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire], served in the 2nd Boer War, born Stoke Hammond [Buckinghamshire] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Sunday 26 April 2015

Hill 60 - a Retrospective Part I

Monday 26th April 1915: We hear from the adjutant of the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment that they are back in the front line, near Hill 60, for which the savage, but ultimately fruitless, fighting took place earlier this month. Very heavy artillery and rifle fire has taken place on the battalion’s left as V Corps counter-attack German gains made north-east of Ypres. Some of this has strayed onto the Bedfords’ position and Second Lieutenant Fawcett and a number of other ranks have been killed.

With this as a back-drop it seems reasonable to pass on the story of a Londoner serving with 1st Battalion who was wounded in the fighting. He told us: “This is the biggest thing of the war. This is the biggest thing this war has given us yet and I have been in it all from the time when we fell back, yard upon yard and mile upon mile from Mons, with lumps of lead going into every other man and the men who didn’t get it falling down and going to sleep because he couldn’t march any further”.

“But this business of Hill 60 beat the lot. Think of batteries trained on a front of six miles and doing their worst. Then you will understand what our artillery was like. We went deaf, but it was splendid”.

“We knew it was coming and we were anxious that it should come our way. We’d had so much of the deafening overture from the guns that we wanted to be in the play itself. And we of the Bedfordshires had been in front of Hill 60 for days and terrible nights and days again”.

“In fact, they thought we were so worn out that when the hour came for the assault they told us to get out and give place to fresher men. But we held on. The place was ours by right of endurance. We would rather have mutinied than gone back, so they let us – we who had waited so long – go on with the others and take the crest of that hill”.

“Hill 60 isn’t really a hill at all. It is just what we should call a little mound. It’s a sort of pimple on the face of the earth, but it was the little gateway we wanted and we meant to take it and hold it”.

“It had been in front of us for days and for weeks, sometimes obscured by misty rain, sometimes quite clear in the sunshine, but always the point from which the Germans were firing upon us, and always the point against which we could never reply, except with the hope of digging our bullets into the earth”.

“We all know that Hill 60 meant to us long before we took it, long before we ever attempted to take it, long before we ever made that charge. We had gone to work underground. We had been sapping and burrowing under Hill 60 for weeks. We knew it had to be taken even at a great sacrifice of life”.

“And while the men underground dug their way slowly along we nodded to each other and wondered when the time would come when Hill 60 would go up in the air and be no more”.

“All sorts of rumours spread amongst us. We were always going to blow the hill up. We heard so much about it that the sight of Hill 60 got on our nerves. Then the time came when we didn’t believe it was going to be true”.

“I am talking for the men of the Bedfordshires who lay in the trench in front of that hill and watched the Germans fire day after day, night after night”.

“It was early on Saturday morning, the 17th that we heard at last our preparations for attack upon Hill 60 were completed and the attack itself was to be made at any moment”.

“Our coffee tasted different that morning. We felt different men. We shook off our trench weariness as by a miracle”.

“The time for advance had sounded and there was not a man in the lot, caked with mud or rotten with rheumatism, who was not inspired by the news”.

“The Bedfords had been in the advance British trenches at Zillebeke, only 180 yards distant from Hill 60, for days. We had been there so long that we thought they had forgotten us”.

“It was only eight days, but it seemed an eternity, and a cheer went up that must have surprised the Germans on the hill when the news came round that the West Kents were coming to our relief”.

“We were a pretty bad lot at that time, pretty well done up, but two of our companies, under Major Allason, volunteered to remain in the trenches and do the double with the West Kents when they went up that hill”.

“We knew what they had come for, and we wanted to see that little bit of ground go up in the air”.

“I have said that it was like a pimple on the face of the earth, but it was near us. It overshadowed us; it might have been a mighty mountain”.

“I don’t think you people in England can realise what Hill 60 meant for the men of the Bedfords, who had been lying under its fire for eight days in the British trenches”.

“We had been in the trenches eight days. The two companies, as I have said, stuck it out on that misty morning”.

“The rest of the Bedfords went on to Ypres, a mile and a quarter away, and got a bit of rest in the place that people in England still think to be a town, but which is really now only a bit of a cathedral”.


Roll of Honour - Monday 26th April 1915

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: in support west of Zillebeke Lake
  • Second Lieutenant Robert Heath FAWCETT, son of Henry Heath and Colina Fawcett of Berkhamsted [Hertfordshire], born Wimbledon [Surrey] (special memorial in Tuileries British Cemetery)


1st Battalion

  • 4/6698 Private William GRAY, born Tewin [Hertfordshire], resided Essendon [Hertfordshire] (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)

Saturday 25 April 2015

Rides for Wounded Bedfords

Kempston Barracks

Sunday 25th April 1915: There are about seventy wounded soldiers at the Bedford Barracks and they would greatly appreciate a motor-car ride. Moreover, an occasional outing in the fresh air would assist the convalescing process and hasten their return to the front. Among the hundreds of motor car owners in Bedford and county there must be many who would be only too pleased to place cars at the disposal of our country’s defenders. Let us hasten to assure them that cars are really needed and that the convalescent soldiers would be most grateful for such a pleasant change from the interior of the hospital.

If those car owners who are willing to take one or two soldiers out, say for two hours a week, will communicate with us, we shall be pleased to take up the matter with the military authorities. It should be stated that any day of the week except Sundays would suit the soldiers. The most convenient hours are from 2.30 pm to 3 pm.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 23rd April 1915

Roll of Honour - Sunday 25th April 1915


4th Battalion

  • 19391 Private John JEFFREY, 25, son of Walter and Emily Ann Jeffrey of 71 South Mill Road, Bishop's Stortford [Hertfordshire], born Brent Pelham [Hertfordshire] (Harwich Cemetery)

Friday 24 April 2015

Bedfordshire Yeomen at the Front

Bedfordshire Yeomanry cap badge

Saturday 24th April 1915: Trooper R G Jarvis, Bedfordshire Yeomanry, is attached to Headquarters of the 48th (South Midland) Division. He was in business in Bedford before the war and has told us: “Perhaps it would interest your readers to know that there are 25 Bedfordshire Yeomanry out here attached to the division. We have now been out here over a fortnight and haven’t had such a bad time up to now. We are quite near the firing line and are slowly working our way up. We saw an aeroplane fight last night and one was brought down. Also saw another brought down by shrapnel. The living is not so bad, and we reside in barns. Our present residence is a loft, which we have made quite comfy. Should be glad if you could send us a “Times” weekly so that we can have some news”.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 23rd April 1915.

Roll of Honour - Saturday 24th April 1915

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion: in support west of Zillebeke Lake
  • 14095 Private Clement Victor Arthur CUSTANCE, born Slough [Berkshire], resided Luton (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)
  • 10296 Private George William KIDWELL, 18, son of Mrs E Kidwell of 40 Albion Road, Twickenham [Middlesex], born Norbiton [Surrey] (Twickenham Cemetery)
  • 10340 Private Alfred John ROLLINGS, 23, brother of Miss N Rollings of 10 Garden Road, Dunstable (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

2nd Battalion

  • 10370 Private Albert KEEN, son of Charles Keen of Church Street, Buntingford [Hertfordshire], born Layston [Hertfordshire], resided Edmonton [Middlesex] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Thursday 23 April 2015

New Enemy Atrocity

Map of the s'Graventafel Area (here shown as Gravenstafel) - Ypres is to the south-west

Friday 23rd April 1915: Yesterday around five o’clock in the evening a foul thing took place near Ypres, one of the foulest things to happen yet in this foul war. Near the hamlet of s'Graventafel to the north-east of Ypres a greenish cloud was seen to issue from German lines and float with the wind towards our own. It passed through a section of the line held by Moroccan and Algerian troops of French 45th and 87th Divisions. At once men were see to clutch their throats and to fall, gasping for breath and many died. Not surprisingly the rest ran for their lives(1).

It looks very much as if the bestial foe has resorted to even baser methods of slaughter. Experts we have spoken to are of opinion that the green cloud was chlorine gas. It chokes, it blinds and it asphyxiates. The poor men who breathed it did not stand a chance but died, victims of the German chemical industry and German barbarism.

As a result of the French North African troops’ flight a four mile wide gap was left in our lines. This was no doubt the enemy’s intention and they were expected to pour through the gap. However, here the enemy’s treachery worked against him for the gas lingered in the old French trenches and the German troops feared to enter and to share the fate of their original defenders.

Here we are happy to praise the steadfast courage of our Canadian troops. They were next to the French troops who ran, but, despite taking casualties themselves, they stood firm and, by virtue of wetting cloths and putting them over their faces, were able to mitigate, to an extent, the effects of the gas(2). It is feared they have taken grievous casualties as a reward for their bravery.

The adjutant of 1st Bedfords tells us that they were ordered to march from their rest at Reningelst to Ouderdom in preparation to check any German breakthrough but no breakthrough, thankfully, came.

Earlier that day the Bedfords had been visited by Commander-in-Chief British Expeditionary Force. He congratulatd them on their fine performance at Hill 60.

Source: X550/2/5

(1)  This was not the first gas attack in history; the Germans had employed the gas against the Russians in January, but the intense cold had prevented it working properly. This was the first successful use of poisoned gas and the first use on the Western Front. The British army would soon begin to use gas itself.

(2)  In fact they urinated on the cloth.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Accidents Happen

Sir Thompson Capper

Thursday 22nd April 1915: The 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has heard, with regret, that its divisional commander, Major-General Sir Thompson Capper, K.C.M.G. C.B. D.S.O. has had to resign the command of the 7th Division. He was badly injured earlier this month when he was struck on the shoulder by shrapnel from an improvised “jam-tin bomb” during a demonstration behind the lines. Sir Thompson, who is 51, has been unable to recover within a certain period of time he was allowed and has been replaced by Major-General Sir Hubert de la Poer Gough, formerly commander of 2nd Cavalry Division. General Capper: “desires to express his extreme sorrow and regret at having to part with his gallant comrades of 7th Division with whom he has been and whose fortunes he has shared since the formation of the Division in August last. General Capper has the assurance of the Commander-in-Chief that he will be again employed as soon as fit.  He hardly dares to hope that he may be able to get back to the 7th Division. But if that cannot be, he hopes at least that he may be permitted to fight as near the 7th Division as circumstances will allow. General Capper knows the Division will continue to fight with that stubborn nobility that has always marked its conduct in the past”.

Meanwhile Lance Corporal W. Lee of the 1st Battalion, who was in the thick of it at Hill 60 over the last few days has told us: “But we stuck to it and repulsed the Germans three times in one night, but at what a cost. I went into it with eleven men in my section and I was the only one who answered his name at roll call next morning, I am sorry to say. Perhaps you have heard that Nibby Keech’s brother got killed(1). He died fighting like a hero. It was the hottest time I have had since I have been out here, as General French said when he came to congratulate the Bedfords on the fine stand they made. He said the Germans made the hottest counter-attack they had ever made since the start of the war, and he couldn’t express his thanks enough for what we had done. Several of my mates were wounded, but I hope to have my revenge some day for the. There’s one thing more. I have to say – that is, Bedfordshire ought to be proud of the boys out here as they are doing some excellent work, as good as any regiment in the British Army”.

Source: X550/3/wd; Bedfordshire Times 23rd April 1915

(1) 8683 Private William Keech from Goldington, killed on 19th April and commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial

Roll of Honour - Thursday 22nd April 1915

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: moving up to Ouderdom
  • 13048 Private Richard HEMMINGS, 18, son of C F and Mary Ann Hemmings of 4 Council Cottages, Codicote [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion

  • 8589 Acting Lance Corporal Alfred Andy COX, 31, son of Alfred and Elizabeth Cox of 67 Woburn Road, Kempston, born Stevington (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Tuesday 21 April 2015

The Bedfords Hold Hill 60

Wednesday 21st April 1915: yesterday at 6.30 pm the Germans made another attack on the 1st Bedfords, holding Hill 60 with 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. This came after a day of interminable bombardment from three sides as the hill sticks out into the German lines. The attack was beaten off as was another at 8 pm. The adjutant reports that casualties on both sides have been very heavy. He adds that German machine guns and now firing into the flank of their position, as mentioned yesterday, this unpleasant situation is known as enfilading fire.

He goes on that German artillery is within thirty yards of the hill, firing at his men at point blank range. Strikes from shells have blown the trench parapet to pieces “mangling the defenders”. Our own artillery dare not fire at these guns for fear of hitting the defenders of Hill 60 and so giving them fire to cope with from a complete 360 degrees. They also seem to be ineffective at taking out the larger German guns, a good way behind the German lines, which are also doing great execution. He tells us that four officers have been killed and eight wounded. Over four hundred other ranks have been killed or wounded, thus reducing the battalion to about half strength. As he spoke to us men from the Cameron Highlanders and 1st Devonshire Regiment were beginning to relieve the battered Bedfords and Surreys who will leave this wasteland of shell craters and corpses to rest and sleep at Reningelst.

Source: X550//5

Roll of Honour - Wednesday 21st April 1915

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: German attack on Hill 60
  • 4/7129 Private Sidney ABRAHAM, 36, nephew of R Abraham of 27 Cassidy Road, Fulham, he was born Godmanchester [Huntingdonshire] and resided Waltham Green [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 6586 Private Leonard ASHTON, born Flitton, resided Ironville [Derbyshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 3/6951 Private Frank BARBER, brother of R Barber of 12 Edward Road, Bedford, born Kempston, (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 4/7275 Private Hugh Leonard BRICE, 31, son of Samuel Brice of Buntingford [Hertfordshire], born Little Hadham [Hertfordshire], resided Much Hadham [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 3/6094 Private Herbert CROFT, 26, son of Felix and Annie Croft of Brewer's Hill, Wheathampstead [Hertfordshire], born Luton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 14062 Private Frederick DAZELEY, 28, son of I and A Dazeley, born and resided Radlett [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 10240 Private Henry William DOWNES, 20, son of Henry William and Sarah Ann Downes of 10 Granville Avenue, Lower Edmonton [Middlesex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 14058 Corporal Walter Seabrook GAY, born Goole [Yorkshire], resided Luton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 10066 Private Albert GODWIN, born Bermondsey [London], resided Southwark [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 13441 Private Henry Ernest GOODGER, 18, B Company, son of Henry Jesse and Alice Goodger of 39 Upton Park, Forest Gate [Essex], born Canning Town [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 4/7291 Private Daniel Charles GRAY, 30, son of Emily Gray of Howe Green, Little Berkhamsted [Hertfordshire], born Tewin [Hertfordshire], resided Essenden [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 8104 Acting Lance Corporal George Edward GRIFFIN, 26 C Company, son of George Griffin. husband of Jesse Grace of 126 Chester Road, Watford [Hertfordshire]; joined the battalion at Hertford aged 15, born Colchester [Essex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 14315 Private Henry HAGGERWOOD, 27, son of Joseph Haggerwood of Mill End, Sandon [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 13217 Private George HOOKHAM, 23, son of George and Eliza Hookham of 6 Bury Lane, Rickmansworth [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 16506 Private Francis George IZZARD, 23, son of Harriet Izzard of 25 Raynham Street, Hertford (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 13054 Private Edward JONES, born Harpenden [Hertfordshire], resided Codicote [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 3/8793 Private Frederick KEEN, born Caddington, resided Luton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 3/6054 Private John LAWSON, born and reside Leighton Buzzard (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 16450 Private Alfred LUDFORD, 27, son of George Ludford, husband of Elizabeth of 15 Barnard's Yard, Hitchin [Hertfordshire] (Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm), Ypres)
  • 14143 Private Victor John MEAD, born and resided Ickleford [Hertfordshire] (Oostaverne Wood Cemetery)
  • 8048 Corporal George Robert RUSHMER, 29, son of Sergeant G R Rushmer, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, husband of Helen of 1 Greenhill Street, Bedford, born Kempston (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 14310 Private Frederick James SHARP, born and resided Boxmoor [Hertfordshire] (Oostaverne Wood Cemetery)
  • 13214 Private Frank SMITH, 23, son of Annie Smith of Saint Anne's Cottages, Naphill [Buckinghamshire], resided Marylebone [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 6641 Private Oswald SNELL, 41, son of Francis and Sarah Snell of Saint Catherine's Road, Long Melford [Suffolk] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 10711 Private Philip George SPARROW, 24, son of the late George and Cynthia Sparrow, born Lewisham [London], resided Catford [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 4/5076 Sergeant George TARBOX, 33, son of George and Emily Tarbox of 17 New Street, Berkhamsted [Hertfordshire] (Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm), Ypres)
  • 3/6691 Private George THOMPSON, born and resided Pitsford [Northamptonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 3/8561 Private Harry TRIPLOW, born and resided Stotfold (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 7578 Private Henry TUFFNELL, born Woolwich [London], resided Luton (Oostaverne Wood Cemetery)
  • 14344 Private Albert TYLER, born and resided Hatfield [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 13852 Private Thomas UNDERWOOD, 26, son of David and Mary Underwood, husband of Ethel Povey (ex Underwood) of 18 Lawn Road, Northfleet [Kent], born and resided in Leighton Buzzard (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 4/7372 Private Frederick WELCH born and resided Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 18219 Private James WRIGHT, 54, son of James and Elizabeth Wright, born and resided Kingston-on-Thames [Surrey] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

2nd Battalion: relieved from front line trenches near Fauquissart
  • 3/7155 Private Cecil Edgar BARNES, born and resided Leicester (le Touret Memorial)
  • 14634 Private Herbert Frederick GILBERT, 21, son of James and Emma Gilbert of Neneside, Midland Road, Thrapston [Northamptonshire], born Croxton [Cambridgeshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 5474 Corporal George TITMUS, husband of Beatrice of 26 Western Road, Aldershot [Hampshire], born Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (le Touret Memorial)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 13400 Private Alfred ANSELL, born Rickmansworth [Hertfordshire], resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Monday 20 April 2015

Terrible Shelling at Hill 60

Tuesday 20th April 1915: At Hill 60 south-east of Ypres 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is holding the newly won Hill 60 along with 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. They have suffered from a huge German bombardment all night which has lasted into this morning. The guns are close and on three sides of the hill, which juts out into the German lines. This means that shells are coming from the side, or flank, a situation known as enfilading fire as well as from the front. It must be terrible. No doubt further German attempts to take the hill will be made during the course of today.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - Tuesday 20th April 1915

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: German attack on Hill 60
  • 6892 Private Arthur BUTTERWORTH born Somercotes [Derbyshire], resided Warboys [Huntingdonshire] (Bedford House Cemetery)
  • 19047 Private William James CHAPMAN, 32, son of Samuel and Ann Chapman of Everton, husband of Clara Daisley (ex Chapman) of 11 Everton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 4/7117 Private Walter Harry CLARKE, born London, resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 8598 Private Frank COUSINS, 20, son of Caroline Cousins of 4 Hawthorn Cottages, Eaton Ford (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 13043 Private Walter James COX, born Hatfield [Hertfordshire], resided Codicote [Hertfordshire] (Bedford House Cemetery, Ypres)
  • 8943 Private Frederick HAWKINS, born Hackney [London], resided Upper Holloway [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 4/7005 Private Frederick HIPGRAVE, born and resided Hatfield [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 10419 Private Sidney JEFFRIES, 19, son of Emma Jeffries of 29 Harley Street, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 13368 Private Henry George JONES, born Battersea [London], resided Millbank [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 18280 Private Henry MARTIN, 40, son of the late George and Mary Ann Martin, born Great Hadham [Hertfordshire], resided Clerkenwell [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 9773 Corporal Bertie Douglas MILLS, 21, A Company, husband of Mabel of 39 Shelley Street, Kingsley Park, Northampton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 6974 Private Walter PICKING, 33, son of Walter and Annie Picking of Swan Street, Ashwell [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 4/7306 Private Frederick William PRINGLE, born and resided Gateshead [Durham] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 8772 Private Frederick William REA, born and resided Erith [Kent] (Bedford House Cemetery, Ypres)
  • 16579 Private Herbert REVILL, born and resided Little Hallingbury [Essex] (Oostaverne Wood Cemetery)
  • 3/7998 Private William SAMPSON, 28, son of William and Emily Sampson of 79 Iddesleigh Road, Bedford, husband of A S Wilson (ex Sampson) of 19 Wood Street, Luton , he was born Taunton [Somerset] and resided Letchworth [Hertfordshire] (Oostaverne Wood Cemetery)
  • 13556 Private Joseph Walter SEAR, born and resided Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire] (Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery)
  • 4/7312 Private James THOMPSON, born Stapleton [Bristol], resided Bristol (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 10410 Private Wilfred VINE, 19, B Company, son of W Vine of TAEA Cottages, Henlow (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 14684 Private James Wilfred WHITEHORN, 19, son of Albert and Mary Jane Whitehorn of 27 Meeting Alley, Watford [Hertfordshire] (First DCLI Cemetery, The Bluff, Ypres)
  • Private Alfred William WRIGHT, born and resided Godmanchester [Huntingdonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 7645 Acting Lance Corporal Edward WRIGHT, born Northampton, resided Guildford [Surrey] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 10291 Private William Charles COOPER, 19, son of William E Cooper of 14 Greyfriars Walk, Bedford (Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm) Ypres)
  • 3/7569 Private Albert KINGHAM, born Wingfield, resided Toddington (Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery)
  • 3/7465 Private Cyril MEAKINS, 20, son of Emma Pratt of Bower Lane, Eaton Bray (Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery)
  • 8810 Private Henry William WEBB, born Islington [London], resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery)

2nd Battalion

  • 13514 Private Arthur SCOTTON or SCOTTOW, born Saint Bede's, South Shields [Durham], resided Sunderland [Durham] (Estaires Communal Cemetery and Extension)

Sunday 19 April 2015

The Bedfords In Charge of Hill 60

Monday 19th April 1915: As we predicted yesterday the Germans have spent much of the day trying to retake Hill 60. They succeeded in retaking part of it, though, seemingly, at great cost to themselves. Around six o’clock yesterday evening the two companies of 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, which had been held in reserve counter-attacked the Germans and drove them from the lodgement they had made on the hill. At this point the Brigadier-General commanding 13th Infantry Brigade handed over command of Hill 60 to the Bedfords’ commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Griffith DSO. The Bedfords have 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment to help them hold the hill.

For two companies of the regiment to help take the hill and for the other two companies to help secure it means that the regiment has achieved something of real value to the war effort.  The value of this place is clear by the amount of shells and bullets that the garrison are having to endure as we write this. The adjutant of the Bedfords’ tells us that casualties are likely to be severe. So far the battalion has lost four men killed on 17th and thirteen men yesterday as well as numbers of men wounded.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - Monday 19th April 1915

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: consolidating the front line east of Hill 60 under heavy shelling
  • 3/7302 Private Arthur Edward FARMER, 19, son of William George and Emma Farmer of Ivy Cottage, The Leys Terrace, Woburn Sands [Buckinghamshire], born Aspley Hill, Aspley Guise (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 10149 Private Henry Frank FRANKLIN, born and resided Greenwich [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 13432 Private Henry FREEMAN, born Luton, resided Saint Pancras [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 10135 Acting Corporal George GRAY, 21, son of Fanny Buckingham of 18 Bunyan Road, Hitchin [Hertfordshire], born Datchworth [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 14280 Private Charles HARROWELL, 19, son of Eli Harrowell of 19 Langdon Street, Tring [Hertfordshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres) his brother James was killed with 9th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps on 22nd October 1917 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial
  • 13461 Lance Corporal George HAYNES, 25, D Company, husband of E M Ilott (ex Haynes) of 19 Spencer's Street, Hertford, born Hemingford Grey [Huntingdonshire], resided Huntingdon (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 8747 Private William JEWELL, born Weston Turville [Buckinghamshire], resided Chiswick [Middlesex] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 8683 Private William KEECH, born and resided Goldington (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • Second Lieutenant Esmond Lawrence KELLIE, 20, son of Lawrence and Gertrude Mary Kellie of 191 Portsdown Road, Maida Vale [London], educated at Westminster School (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • Second Lieutenant Charles Sidney KIRSH (Bedford House Cemetery)
  • 8876 Private Joseph MANSFIELD, 26, son of Elizabeth Seekings of Over Cote Lane, Needingworth [Huntingdonshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 10368 Private Thomas POTTINGER, 19, son of Louisa Barrett (ex Pottinger) of 45 Sultan Street, Camberwell [London] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 10481 Private Edward RUSSELL, born Wootton, resided Cardington (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 18166 Private William SHANE, born and resided Luton (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)
  • 16937 Private Edgar STEBBINGS, 21, son of James Edgar and Ann Stebbings of Alexandra Road, King's Langley [Hertfordshire] (First DCLI Cemetery, The Bluff, Ypres)
  • 7237 Private Bertie Charles WATSON, born and resided Bassingbourn [Cambridgeshire] (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

2nd Battalion: trenches near Fauquissart – attack on a German sap

  • 4/4560 Private Frederick William EMERY, 28, son of John and Julia Emery of 9 North Road, Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Fauquissart Military Cemetery, Laventie)
  • 3/7682 Private Alfred YOUNG, born and resided Bedford (Fauquissart Military Cemetery, Laventie)