Wednesday 30 September 2015

News of the 1st Battalion

Thursday 30th September 1915: Whilst the fighting at Loos has been raging those veterans of Mons, le Cateau, the Marne, First Battle of Ypres and Hill 60, the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment have been enjoying themselves in a quiet part of the line – the area newly taken over from the French just north of the River Somme.

They have been sending out constant patrols at night to observe the enemy, learn what work they are undertaking and damage their defences wherever possible. The Battalion has erected numerous dummy sniper posts in the hope of attracting enemy sniper fire, which may be observed and answered, thus making the hunters into the hunted. The adjutant tells us: “The dummy posts attract a gratifying amount of attention from the enemy's marksmen”. Since 25th of September, the day the Battle of Loos opened, the Battalion has lost one man killed and two wounded.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - Thursday 30th September 1915

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: Battle of Loos - in the front line at Hulluch, successful German attack
  • 15134 Private Harry John GIBBS, born and resided Harpenden [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 10780 Private Leonard John ROWLEY, 19, A Company, son of Mrs M A Joiner of 34 Alexandra Road, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire], born Redbourn (Loos Memorial)

7th Battalion: manoeuvres at Morlancourt
  • 14885 Corporal Ernest George FITT, 24, son of Joseph and Ann Fitt of The Frythe Gardens, Welwyn [Hertfordshire], born Hartingfordbury [Hertfordshire] (Dartmoor Cemetery, Bécordel-Bécourt)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 18262 Private George JENKINS born Newbury [Berkshire], resided Stopsley (Étaples Military Cemetery)
  • 17815 Private Frederick James SALLOWS, 21, son of John Sallows of Great Munden [Hertfordshire] (Étaples Military Cemetery)

8th Battalion

  • 17180 Private John Edward LEE, born Brentford [Middlesex], resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Lillers Communal Cemetery)
  • 14208 Private Arthur Charles SHAMBROOK, 22, son of John and Elizabeth Shambrook of High Street, Codicote [Hertfordshire] (Lillers Communal Cemetery)

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Colonel Monteith’s Good Work

Wednesday 29th September 1915: Colonel Monteith, commanding officer of the 2nd Bedfords, tells us more of his experiences at Loos. It seems that the front line is quite a nervous place to be at present, he told us – that units from the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and Worcestershire Regiment are “rather nervy, passing down a lot of silly messages” which he has put a stop to.

He told us that there is: “A lot of shelling going on”. So he went round the trenches and found that A Company had done nothing to improve their firing positions. He could not find the Company Commander, Captain de Buriatte only “Poor little Dyer asleep, woke him and told him what to do”(1).

He came back to find the General Staff Officer of 1st Army- Robinson – with whom he had a run-in yesterday about the defence scheme. He was “in a very panicky state rather inclined to hang me but on learning that I had a line in front and that my proposal was to fire with second line behind parapet he became easier. I saw him out to the front”.

After he got something to eat: “News has come in that French have broken through and are fighting the Huns in the open!(2) I also heard, inadvertently, that Brigade are very pleased with my work. Pip! Pip!”

Source: X550/3/wd

(1) Second Lieutenant E F S Dyer, who joined the Battalion on 13th July 1915 and was to go home wounded on 13th October 1915.
(2) Sadly untrue

Roll of Honour - Wednesday 29th September 1915

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 13777 Private Albert HAWKES, born and resided Luton (Chocques Military Cemetery)


1st/5th Battalion
4791 Private Ernest Edward BURRIDGE, resided Marston Moretaine (Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery)

Monday 28 September 2015

What is Happening at Loos?

Tuesday 28th September 1915: The temporary commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel J C Monteith, has contacted us to tell us of his experiences in the last twenty four hours. He tells us his headquarters is in a dug-out sixteen feet below ground level: “The Huns know how to make themselves safe!”

As we heard from the 8th Bedfords yesterday the trenches around Loos are packed with men and there is often not enough room for units ordered to occupy certain locations. Colonel Onslow tells us that they have been ordered to relieve the 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment but there seems to be no room in the trenches to allow it. Anyway, he went to see the Wiltshire Regiment’s adjutant whom he found “very nervy and terribly anxious to get out of it”. This is because the position is “a rotten one”. He also spoke to the Commanding Officers of the units on either flank of the Wiltshires but found them “a little hazy as to proceedings”.

At this point the Colonel was interrupted by “panicky General Staff Officer - Robinson 1st Army - who thinks my arrangements for defence insufficient! He did not realise that I had a line in front! and further that it is the 4th or 5th line of defence! I forget what "he also" said or did now! Oh yes, he thinks Wiltshires are rather in the way!” This last was related to us in a weary but amused tone.

We understand that 8th Battalion has not moved since the evening of its abortive advance on the quarries in support of the Norfolk Regiment. Battles, of course, are, by their very nature, muddled and confusing. This particular operation, however, we sense from the officers we speak to, seems to be even more muddled than usual. In the two days since the initial attack and our army has made some gains, without achieving the break-through which was desired. It seem likely that the men, now greatly thinned in number and very tired, have achieved about as much as they can and that consolidation will be the next phase(1)

Source: X550/3/wd; X550/9/1

(1) The Battle of Loos would drag in stalemate until 13th October with a German counter-attack and British counter-counter-attack from 8th-13th October. British casualties would amount to 59,247, the Germans about 26,000. Lieutenant-Colonel Monteith himself would be killed on 1st October.

Roll of Honour - Tuesday 28th September 1915

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: front line trenches near Fricourt, frequent patrolling in no-man’s-land
  • 4/6948 Private Alfred William SHADBOLT, born Camden Town [London], resided Wood Green [Middlesex] (Carnoy Military Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

8th Battalion

  • 19867 Private Ferdinand Brenyer Reuben DODSON, 19, son of John and Eliza Ann Dodson of Caldecote [Hertfordshire] (Chocques Military Cemetery), his brother 4998 Private A J C Dodson was killed with 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade on 10th August 1918 and is buried at Vielle-Chapelle New Military Cemetery, La Couture)

Sunday 27 September 2015

The Battle of Loos – Second Day

The 7th Division Attack at Loos (Official History of the War - Military Operations in France and Belgium 1915 - Vol II)

Monday 27th September 1915: The battle of Loos entered its second day yesterday but 2nd Bedfords played little part in it. They were left to man Gun Trench until 8 pm when they were relieved and went back to the original German front line.

The 8th Battalion, nearby, forming part of 24th Division were ordered at 3 am yesterday morning to support 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment in an attack on the quarries [shown in yellow on the above plan] from which rifle fire hit the 2nd Battalion in their advance yesterday.

The morning was thick and misty. The Battalion advanced north from la Rutoire in open formation as far as the Vermelles road [shown in yellow on the above plan]. Their advance was four hours behind that of the Norfolks and when they came on trenches occupied by the Cameron Highlanders(1) they discovered that they knew nothing of the whereabouts of the Norfolks. Patrols were sent out but they failed to get in touch with the Norfolks.

All this while the 8th Bedfords were subjected to severe rifle and shell fire as well as gas bombs. After three hours as no news could be obtained of the Norfolks, so the Commanding Officer decided to reoccupy the front line British trenches, as the Cameron Highlanders stated there was no room in the captured enemy trenches.

On returning to the First Line British trenches the Battalion became somewhat separated owing to portions of the trench being occupied by other units. The Battalion was relieved about 6 pm and returned to Vermelles for the night where they bivouaced. Casualties received were two other ranks killed and Second Lieutenant A G Hodges and 23 other ranks wounded. Colonel E S C Kennedy and two other ranks were gassed(2).

We hope that this Battalion can overcome the disappointment of this somewhat farcical introduction to active service and achieve great things in the future(3).

Sadly we hear that the popular and able commander of 7th Division, Sir Thompson Capper is dead. He was wounded by a sniper yesterday, the bullet passing through both lungs and he died this morning, aged 51(4).

Source: X550/9/1

(1) Probably 1st/4th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders of 21st Brigade, 7th Division (the same Brigade as 2nd Bedfords).
(2) These light casualties contrast strikingly with the 9th Norfolks, who had 64 dead that day.
(3) 8th Battalion do not seem to have been a lucky unit and, by contrast with 7th Battalion, for example, would have a frustrating war.

(4) he is buried in Lillers Communal Cemetery.

Roll of Honour - Monday 27th September 1915

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: Battle of Loos - in support at Hulluch, finding working parties
  • 3/8644 Private Herbert John CLARKE, born Offley [Hertfordshire], resided Lilley [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 8575 Lance Sergeant Frederick George MOLE, 26, son of Thomas and Mary Ann Mole of 37 North Street, Rushden [Northamptonshire], born Carlton (Loos Memorial)
  • 18273 Private Albert SEARLE, 32, son of Stephen and Matilda Searle of Little Eversden [Cambridgeshire], husband of Kate Elizabeth of Cambridge Road, Sandy (Loos Memorial)

6th Battalion: relieved from the front line at Bienvillers
  • 12688 Private William FENNELL, 23, son of Richard and Catherine Spraggs of 28 Carver Road, Walworth [London], born Southwark [London] (Bienvillers Military Cemetery)

8th Battalion: relieved from front line trenches near Vermelles
  • 22021 Private George James WOOLLEY, 41, husband of Harriet Lena of 11 Kew Street, Brighton [Sussex], born Hackney [London] (Loos Memorial)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion

  • 17696 Private Ernest William MARTIN, son of J Martin of 70 Water End, Cople (Noueux-les-Mines Communal Cemetery)
  • 15231 Private Henry Charles WESTON, born and resided Streatham [London] (Labourse Communal Cemetery)

Saturday 26 September 2015

The Bedfords and the Battle of Loos

The Attack of the 7th Division at Loos (The Official History of the War - Military Operations in France and Belgium 1915 Vol II)

Sunday 26th September 1915: We have just heard from 2nd Bedfords who yesterday took part in the big push around Loos, intended to break through the German lines. We understand that while gains have been made the break through as yet remains elusive.

21st Brigade, of which the Battalion forms part, was held in reserve, the other two brigades of 7th Division undertaking the initial assault. At about 11.30 a.m. the Battalion, which had proceeded from the village of Vermelles, entered the former British Front Line. They then advanced on a frontage of two companies immediately north of the road from Vermelles to Hulluch(1) [shown in pink on the above plan]

By this time the 20th Brigade, to which they were acting as support, were already a long way ahead. The Battalion moved across and over the former enemy front line [shown in blue on the above plan] practically without casualties. B Company was on the left, D Company on the right, C Company in support and A Company in reserve. As soon as it began to advance across the open behind the German front line, however, it came under a very heavy rifle fire from the direction of the quarries [shown in yellow on the above plan] and the northern houses of Cité-Saint-Elie.

Captain J W Hurrell [X550/1/81]

The Battalion now suffered severely but continued to advance by rushes of small parties until Gun Trench [shown in red on the above plan] was reached. Second Lieutenant Forward was killed and Lieutenant-Colonel Onslow, Captain and Adjutant J W Hurrell, Captain J W Hutchinson, Second Lieutenant H E Mudford and Second Lieutenant R Hopkins were wounded. Sadly, Captain Hutchinson died from wounds later in the day. Between two and three hundred other ranks also became casualties.

Captain J W Hutchinson [X550/1/82]

Two platoons got about 100 yards in front of Gun Trench, but being unsupported had to fall back by ones and twos – Captain J McM Milling and Second Lieutenant R L Shaw were then wounded. So the Battalion remained in Gun trench holding the gun pits north of the road during the afternoon, digging itself in. At dusk the men of the 20th Brigade who were in the trench were sorted out and rejoined their Brigade. All four Battalion Machine Guns were in the trench.

Captain J McM Milling [X550/1/82]

At about 7 pm A and C Companies were withdrawn from Gun Trench and started digging a Support trench about 100 yards in the rear. At about midnight a number of men were seen coming down the Hulluch Road at a double calling out "Don't shoot we're the Gordons"(2); close behind them came a number of Germans. Almost at the same time the Borders(3) holding Gun Trench south of the road began to retire. At once bombs were rained upon Gun Trench and men began to leave it in increasing numbers, falling back on support trench, where they stopped. The Company on the left of B Company was not attacked and stood firm. Two Machine Guns were with the company and remained in action.

Lieutenant R L Shaw [X550/1/82]

A heavy fire was brought to bear from support trench and shortly afterwards a charge was organised, which was completely successful, practically all the Germans in Gun Trench were killed or taken prisoners, including the artillery captain who led the counter-attack. Second Lieutenant T C Pearson and Second Lieutenant K L Stephenson were killed and Second Lieutenant C J Hunter wounded. The left company suffered some casualties from our own shrapnel during this counter-attack. The rest of the night passed quietly. Two Companies were in Gun Trench and two Companies in the support trench.

Second Lieutenant T C Pearson [X550/1/82]

At the commencement of the action. Captain H de Buriatte commanded A Company, Captain J W Hutchinson commanded B Company Lieutenant R O Wynne commanded C Company and Captain J McM Milling commanded D Company. Second Lieutenant R B Gibson and Lieutenant B R Taylor, both of 3rd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, attached, took command of B and D Companies respectively after Captains Hutchinson and Milling were wounded. Second Lieutenant W J Stonier has become Acting Adjutant.

The 2nd Battalion were not the only ones involved in the battle yesterday. The 8th Battalion, which only arrived in France at the beginning of this month arrived in Béthune in the early hours yesterday and just after midday moved towards the fighting. Their Brigade was ordered to support 72nd Brigade, 24th Division, in a move on Hulluch, meaning they were immediately south of the 2nd Battalion.

The 1st Division reported that it had captured Hulluch but these first, optimistic, reports later turned out to be wrong. Believing a great victory was at hand the Commander-in-Chief decide to throw in the two new divisions, 21st and 24th, to secure the crossings over the Haute Deule Canal to the east. The 24th Division accordingly assembled about la Rutoire farm, south of the Vermelles road believing that little more was require of it than a march after a tired and beaten enemy. The reality proved very different and the adjutant of the 8th Bedfords tells us, candidly, that he was very glad that the division’s orders to attack were countermanded due to the lateness fo the hour and the poor visibility.

Sources: X550/3/wd; X550/9/1

(1) Today’s D39.
(2) Presumably men on 2nd Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, 20th Brigade, 7rh Division.
(3) 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment, 20th Brigade.

Roll of Honour - Sunday 26th September 1915

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: Battle of Loos - relief from the old German Front Line at Hulluch
  • 8480 Private John BLIGH born and resided Hatfield [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 14469 Private Albert Edward COLLINS, 21, son of George and Rosina Collins of The Princess of Wales, Weston [Hertfordshire], born Eastbourne [Sussex] (Loos Memorial) his brothers William and Henry George also fell
  • Second Lieutenant Terence Charles PEARSON, 22, son of C F and Ellen Mary Pearson of 74 Chaucer Road, Bedford (Loos Memorial)
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant Kenneth Langton STEPHENSON, 23, son of Henry Langton Stephenson of 5 Copthall Court, Throgmorton Street [London] (Loos Memorial)

8th Battalion: Battle of Loos - abortive attack on Hulluch
  • 13670 Private Peter CORNWELL, 18, son of Elizabeth Cornwell of 2 Barracks Square, Little Downham [Cambridgeshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 21288 Private Sidney Charles WALLIS, 24, husband of Florence Barbara Baxter (ex-Wallis) of Black Cottages, Redgrave [Suffolk], born South Lopham [Norfolk] (Loos Memorial)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 9586 Lance Sergeant Frank HALSEY, born and resided Great Gaddesden [Hertfordshire] (Labourse Communal Cemetery)

1st/5th Battalion

  • 3237 Private Percy HOLLIMAN, son of E Holliman of 300 High Street, Dunstable, resided Houghton Regis  (memorial at Embarkation Pier Cemetery, Suvla)

Friday 25 September 2015

The Battle of Loos Begins Today

The Attack of the 7th Division (Official History of the War, 
Military Operations France and Belgium 1915 Vol II)

Saturday 25th September 1915: As these words are written the latest and largest offensive so far undertaken by the British Expeditionary Force is under way around the coal-mining town of Loos in Northern France. We will report on the part taken in this conflict by our regiments tomorrow as information becomes available. We know that 7th Division is to make an attack on the village of Hulluch and that 2nd Bedfords are in reserve. The adjutant tells us that just after midnight the Battalion proceeded to ab position of assembly at the village of Noyelles, arriving there 3.35 this morning. From there it proceeded at five minutes past 6 a.m. moving by platoons at 200 yards distance to Vermelles, moving up a trench called Chapel Alley.

The following document, leaked from I Corps Headquarters shows what is taking place.


1. The enemy is to be beaten on a certain length of front and driven out of it and must not be allowed time to reform in rear of the captured trenches.
For this a violent and continuous action is required.

The keynote of all the work, both as regards details and the general idea, is offensive action.

When once the enemy's front system of trenches is broken, delay is usually the chief cause of failure and heavy casualties.

Commanders must, however, bear in mind that, once the enemy's line is broken, it is the intention to follow up by such action as will cause a general retirement of a great part of the enemy's line. Thus the operations will be continued during a considerable period.

Supports and Reserves.

2. Bearing the above in mind, it is of the highest importance that all commanders should consider carefully the handling of their reserves to maintain the forward movement.

Under the existing conditions, only one definite offensive blow can be expected from one body of infantry, and, therefore, fresh troops must be pushed through those making the first attack to develop the success won. Troops heavily engaged during the day should not ordinarily be expected to continue the offensive on the following day, but should be either actually be relieved or arrangements made for fresh troops to pass through them. The Organization of reserves in depth should be made with this object.

Supporting and reserve troops must be close up from the commencement of the operations, so that they can follow close on the heels of the troops in front.
Commanders of such troops must clearly understand the objective and their role, and use their initiative.

Ample cover must be provided for the reserve troops well forward, with good and sufficient communication trenches. Direction boards must be put up to prevent mistakes in the existing labyrinth of trenches.

The Infantry Attack.

3. Infantry Commanders must know the time table of artillery fire, and regulate their progress and time their assaults in accordance with it.

The attack on the front trenches will probably not be equally successfully all along the line. Support must be given at once to the units which have been successful to enable them to press on. Where unsuccessful a new attack must be organised from a flank where the line has been broken.

If a certain body of infantry fails to gain its own particular local objective, there is no reason why the troops on either flank should be held up. Every body of infantry must push on and thereby facilitate the task of the troops on the right and left.

The whole operation can be regulated with the greatest precision. Parties of infantry should be detailed beforehand for the capture of the several localities at definitely stated times in accordance with the artillery time table. The accuracy of the photographic maps permits of this being done.

We must not wait to be counter-attacked, but must follow up our attack at once. Infantry must push on, and field guns, trench mortars, machine guns, etc., must be pushed forward in close support of the attacking infantry to batter down houses, etc. The responsibility for supporting the attacking infantry in this way rests with Infantry Commanders, and special guns will be allotted to them for this purpose.

Localities must be seized promptly to act as supporting points to further advance, but only the necessary number of men will be left to entrench each of these points.

All ground gained will be secured.


4. The artillery objective is not only the wire entanglements and front trenches, but the whole position, with a view to destroying the hostile infantry, actually and morally; (i.e. second line, communication trenches, shelters, etc., must be systematically dealt with).

The task of the artillery is: -
(a) The support of the infantry during its attack.
(b)To gain superiority of fire over the hostile artillery.

The artillery fire must be time-tabled and registered as far behind the enemy's front line trenches as possible, with due regard to range and accuracy.

The guns must be registered beforehand on all the objectives and tactical localities as far forward as possible.

Similarly, the barrages of shrapnel must be arranged beforehand. These will be gradually expanded as infantry advances.

The nature of the artillery support required by the infantry depends on the local conditions of the fight.

Some field or horse artillery guns must be ready to push forward rapidly in support of the infantry as the latter get beyond the support of the remaining guns.

Special Parties.

5. Special parties must be detailed for work subsidiary to the attack, such as bomb parties, sandbag parties, bayonet parties, entrenching tool parties.

These parties must all be conversant with their various duties.

The idea of the offensive must be inculcated in the grenadier parties, so that their efforts are directed to bombing so as to assist the movement to front and flank, rather than to mere defensive work and blocking approaches.

Special attention must be given to repairing roads, and detachments of Royal Engineers, with infantry working parties attached, must be organized and in position to follow up the attack for clearing away obstacles and mending roads, to allow free passage for troops.

Special parties for extending and maintaining the telephone wires must also be organized beforehand (see para.7).

Royal Engineers Stores and Materials.

6. Advanced depots of RE stores must be established close up behind our own lines at short intervals along the front of the attack. The depots should contain material for entanglements, sandbags, trench-bridging materials, tools, etc.

Parties of RE with infantry must be specially detailed to move forward with these stores to secure positions gained.

The experience of Neuve Chapelle gives a good indication of the nature and quantities of stores required for any given length of line, and estimates should be framed accordingly with regard to the length of the probable successive lines likely to be required to be placed in a state of defence.


7. In order that the offensive may be continued without interruption and be suited to the changing conditions of the fight, the several commanders must be kept in close touch with the situation; hence communications must be carefully organised beforehand and adequate means of getting information back from the front provided. Wherever possible communications should be triplicated and arrangements made to carry on communications by flags, lamps, etc. when wires are broken. This is of the first importance, and all commanders will give this matter their close attention.

The ground over which the attack is to pass and the localities to be attacked can in most cases be seen and studied, so far as is possible, therefore, arrangements should be made beforehand between what points communication by flag or otherwise is to be established as the attack progresses.

The position of commanders must be carefully thought out and suitably protected points organized for commanders near their troops.

Telegraph and telephone wires must be buried up to our front trenches, and arrangements made to push wires on as soon as possible after the attack has passed beyond them.

Staff officers must be pushed well forward with the object of collecting information and keeping commanders regularly informed of the situation.
With this object in view, positions of observation and dugouts should be made, and special communications established beforehand with these places.
Special attention must be given to instructing signal companies in their duties and action during an advance, and all preparations must be made with a view to the forward movement being sustained.

Divisional Cavalry and Cyclists.

8. Divisional Cavalry and Cyclists must be kept handy to push on rapidly as opportunity offers, to anticipate the enemy in occupying houses and other tactical points, and so facilitating the advance after the enemy's main lines of defence have been broken.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - Saturday 25th September 1915

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: Battle of Loos – unsuccessful attack at Hulluch
  • 4/6755 Private Ernest George ALDRIDGE, 28, son of William and Eliza Aldridge, born Layston [Hertfordshire], resided Sandon [Hertfordshire](Loos Memorial)
  • 14702 Private Frank AYLOTT, 18, son of Henry and Argentine Aylott, of High Street, Buntingford [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 17659 Private Arthur Winfield BATES, 21, C Company, son of R W Bates of 45 Leavesden Road, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 17710 Private John BATTAMS, 23, son of Charles and Elizabeth Battams of 36 Dukes Cottages, Streatley (Loos Memorial)
  • 18718 Private Harry BIGGERSTAFF, 20, son of Fred and Fanny Biggerstaff of Green End, Sarratt [Hertfordshire], born Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  •  9441 Sergeant George BLAKE or BLAKES, 22, son of Arthur of 131 London Road Bishop’s Stortford [Hertfordshire], born and resided Great Hallingbury [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/6946 Private James BRAMMER, born and resided Baldock [Hertfordshire (Loos Memorial)
  • 9434 Lance Sergeant William BRANDOM, born and resided Leighton Buzzard (Loos Memorial)
  • 19068 Private John BREED, born and resided Shefford (Loos Memorial)
  • 19211 Private Hubert Edward BRIM, 19, son of Walter and Emma J Brim of Hatley Road, Wrestlingworth (Loos Memorial)
  • 19227 Private James CHERRY, born Arncott [Oxfordshire], resided West Hyde (Loos Memorial)
  • 17776 Lance Corporal Richard Frank CHILLERY 20, son of T S and Hilda Chillery of 200 Elstow, born Bedford (Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez)
  • 4/6893 Private Henry Frederick George CLARK, 21, son of Ellen Clark of Woodgates End, Broxted [Essex] (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/7370 Private Frederick COLE, born and resided Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 13491 Private Edward George COMERFORD, 27, son of John Comerford of Saint George’s Hill, Bristol, husband of Laura Annie of 273 Hotwell Road, Bristol, born Pill [Somerset] (Loos Memorial)
  • 14460 Private Henry COPE, 25, son of George Henry and Ann Cope of New Road Balderton [Nottinghamshire], born Sibsey [Lincolnshire] (Vermelles British Cemetery)
  • 4/7034 Private Arthur William DAY, 19, son of Reuben and Susan Ann Day of Brockinghall Cottages, Widbury Hill, Ware [Hertfordshire], resided Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 17809 Private Arthur DEAR, born  and resided Hartford [Huntingdonshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/6253 Lance Corporal John DICKERSON, 25, son of Joseph and Martha Dickerson of Church End, Braughing [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • Second Lieutenant Charles Arthur FORWARD, 19, son of A Forward of Beechcroft, Bickley [London] (Loos Memorial)
  • 17903 Private Percy William GAMBRIEL, 19, son of Edward and Agnes Gambriel of Wilshamstead (Loos Memorial)
  • 9511 Lance Corporal William John GAUGE, born and resided Biggleswade (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/6261 Acting Corporal Albert Isaac HAMMOND, 23, D Company, son of Charles and Jane Hammond, husband of Sarah Alice Butterfield (ex-Hammond) of Lynch Hill Bank, Kensworth; born Farnham [Essex], resided Thorley [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 8786 Sergeant George Joseph HATCH, 25, brother of John George Hatch of 43 Peterborough Road, Fulham [London], born Fulham, resided Putney [London] (Loos Memorial)
  • 17617 Private Sidney George HILL, born and resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 17578 Private Edward HODSON, born and resided Sawtry [Huntingdonshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 19144 Lance Corporal Alfred HOLLAND, 23, son of James Holland of 116 Victoria Street, Dunstable (Loos Memorial)
  • 13209 Acting Lance Corporal Thomas Frederick HOWLETT, 20, son of J. Norwood of Level Crossing, Park Street, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 19246 Private Frank HYDE, son of Frederick and Rebecca Hyde of High Street, Arlesey (Loos Memorial)
  • 8534 Lance Corporal Frederick James KING, 26, D Company, brother of C J King of Mortlock Street, Melbourn [Cambridgeshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 17769 Private Herbert Charles LAWSON, 24, C Company, son of Charles and Emily Louisa Lawson of 17 Hartington Street, Bedford, born Luton (Loos Memorial)
  • 19387 Private Frederick LINSELL, born Sheering [Essex], resided Harlow [Essex] (Loos Memorial)
  • 3/6845 Private John MAJOR, 22, A Company, son of George Major of 32 Bedford Street, Leighton Buzzard and Beatrice Florence Major (stepmother) (Loos Memorial)
  • 9914 Private Henry Francis MEARS, 26, son of William Henry Mears of 7 Foley Street, Marylebone [London] (Loos Memorial)
  • 18360 Private Albert NEWBURY, born Bedford, resided Luton (Loos Memorial)
  • 17964 Private James Edward PAPWORTH, 20, son of S Papworth of West End, Brampton [Huntingdonshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/7050 Private John PEARMAN, born and resided Hertford (Loos Memorial)
  • 10428 Private Ernest PENNY, 18, son of George Penny of Shepherd's Row, Redbourn [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 3/8786 Private William PHILLIPS, born Warboys [Huntingdonshire], resided Brampton [Huntingdonshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 6982 Company Sergeant Major Edward PIPE, born and resided Stradbrook [Suffolk] (Loos Memorial)
  • 13430 Private Thomas David POLLARD, 25, son of Henry and Rose Pollard of Wild Hill, Hatfield [Hertfordshire](Loos Memorial)
  • 7975 Private Charles PRESTON, brother of G Preston of 26 Cromwell Mews, South Kensington [London], born and resided Colchester [Essex] (Loos Memorial)
  • 8056 Private William RAW, born and resided Hertford (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/6883 Private Jack ROBERTS, born and resided Whetstone [Middlesex] (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/6372 Private Arthur John ROGERS, 21, son of Annie Rogers of 101a High Street, Barnet [Hertfordshire], born Saint Pancras [London] (Loos Memorial)
  • 3/6442 Private Harry RUMSEY, born and resided Ipswich [Suffolk] (Loos Memorial)
  • 17938 Private Herbert Victor SMITH, 18, D Company, son of Arthur and Rebecca Smith, born Luton, resided Flitwick (Loos Memorial)
  • 13472 Private John William STEADMAN, born and resided Clerkenwell [London] (Loos Memorial)
  • 16765 Lance Corporal William STEVENSON, born Rishton [Lancashire], resided Blackburn [Lancashire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 17616 Private Arthur TAYLOR, 19, son of Samuel and Sophia Taylor of 33 Parker Street, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 19220 Private Walter THOMAS, 25, son of Philip and Eliza Thomas of The Gas Works, Wellington [Somerset] (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/6993 Private Arthur WAGSTAFF, born and resided Hertford (Loos Memorial)
  • 9064 Private Eli WALKER, born Rickmansworth [Hertfordshire], resided Hertford (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/6553 Private William WELCH, born Colney Heath [Hertfordshire], resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 18583 Private Cyril Cecil WELFORD, born Aylesbury [Buckinghamshire], resided Bidwell (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/6645 Private Cecil George WHEELER, 21, son of William and Ellen Wheeler of 8 Cassio Bridge Terrace, Watford [Hertfordshire], born Wheathampstead [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 19018 Private George WHEELER, 23, Somerset of Samuel Charles Wheeler of Cleat Hill, Ravensden (Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe)
  • 8352 Acting Corporal Harold WISBEY, 29, son of Joseph and Emily Wisbey of 113 Alma Road, Ponders End [Middlesex], born and resided Barkway [Hertfordshire]
  • 14214 Private William James WOOD, born and resided Hertford (Loos Memorial)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion

  • 13186 Acting Lance Corporal George Albert CHANDLER, 29, A Company, son of Joseph and Charlotte Louise Chandler of Hammersmith [London], resided Shepherd's Bush [London] (Gosnay Communal Cemetery)
  • Temporary Captain James Walter HUTCHINSON (Loos Memorial)
  • 4/6438 Private Alfred KITCHENER, 23, son of Alfred and Charlotte Kitchener of 36 Middle Row, Bishop's Stortford (Loos Memorial)

Thursday 24 September 2015

Lloyd George’s Cough Tablets

British Heavy Trench Mortar at IWM Duxford

Friday 24th September 1915: Private W Fuller of 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, writing to his wife at 46 Pilcroft Street, Bedford said: “I am sending you the photograph of a piece of German culture. Of course it is only a rough sketch in front of a once beautiful chateau in France(1)”.

“Not ten yards from the front door lie the victims of German culture in their graves, the mother, two daughters and one infant, who were foully murdered by the Germans. A rough cross marks their resting place. Let the stay-at-home brigade only realise it. If it were their homes and people that the Germans had murdered it would fill their hearts with revenge and the sooner they come out here the better I say, and my comrades say “Three cheers for the little man from Wales”. They know who I mean – Lloyd George (2). Only the other night, whole on look-out, the Germans were singing “Love, I am lonely” but they did not remain lonely long, for the Major gave them about twelve, in their abode of love, of Lloyd George’s patent cough tablets(3) and they did not sing any more”.

“I see German prisoners are given nosegays and go for nice walks. They will get none of those things out here. The finest thing to give them is a high explosive of Lloyd George’s type”.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 1st October 1915

(1) Obviously destroyed by shell-fire

(2) Minister of Munitions at this date.

(3) Probably from a trench mortar.

Roll of Honour - Friday 24th September 1915

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: relieved and en route to Fauquereuil
  • 4/5319 Private Henry Josiah JAMES, husband of Sarah of 219 Newmarket Road, Cambridge, born Ware [Hertfordshire] (le Touret Memorial)

Died of Wounds

1st/5th Battalion
  • 2726 Private Hedley ROBINSON, born and resided Houghton Regis (memorial at 7th Field Ambulance Cemetery, Suvla)


1st/5th Battalion

  • 3974 Private Herbert MOORE, resided Wootton (Pieta Military Cemetery, Malta)

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Plans for the Big Push

The Loos area (Official History of the War: 
Military Operations France and Belgium 1915 Vol II)

Thursday 23rd September 1915: A leak from 7th Division shows the scale of the offensive our forces at Loos are expecting to deliver in the next few days.


(a) The enemy.
The enemy's defences on our front consist of two well defined systems of trenches. The front system runs west of Fosse No. 8 and follows the ridge southwards towards Loos. 1,500 yards to the east is the second system of trenches running through Haisnes -  Cité-Saint-Elie – Hulluch. Both these systems are protected by wire. The 117th Reconstituted Division is holding the trenches immediately in our front, with its regiments in the following order from the North: - 11th Reserve Regiment, 157th Regiment, 22nd Reserve Regiment. The VIIth Corps is to the north and the IVth Corps to the south of this Division.

(b) Our own troops.
The 1st Division (IV Corps) is on our right.
The 9th Division (I Corps) is on our left.

(a) On conjunction with the French, the 1st Army will assume the offensive on September 25th and advance between Lens and the la Bassée Canal towards the line Henin – Lietard - Carvin, I Corps moving generally on to the line Pont-à-Vendin - Bauvin, IV Corps advancing simultaneously south-eastwards, with its left on Pont-à-Vendin. The Western end of Hulluch is included in the IV Corps area of advance.

(b) The task of the 7th Division is to clear the trenches in front of them; occupy the remainder of Hulluch, Benifontaine, Puits No.13, and Cité-Saint-Elie; and from these places continue the advance on Pont-à-Vendin and Meurchin, seizing the Canal crossings about these places.

(c) Immediately on the right of the 7th Division, the left Brigade of the 1st Division (IV Corps) will advance simultaneously and attack the west end of Hulluch. The boundary between our right and the 1st Division left runs just South of the Vermelles - Hulluch Road.

(d) Immediately on our left the 9th Division will attack the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and thence FOSSE 8, continuing their advance on Haines and Douvrin.

(a) The 7th Division will be distributed as follows, according to preliminary orders already issued.

In front.
On the right, 20th Brigade Column (20th Infantry Brigade, 95th Field Company, RE, No.1 Mortar Battery).
On the left 22nd Brigade Column (22nd Infantry Brigade, 54th Field Company RE, No.10 Mortar Battery, D Trench Mortar Battery).

In reserve.
21st Infantry Brigade.
Highland Field Company RE
Divisional Mounted Troops (Divisional Squadron and Cyclists - Commander. Major Hall, the King's (Liverpool Regt.).

The Divisional Artillery is under the immediate orders of the GOC I Corps until the advance begins.

After the advance begins, the 14th Royal Horse Artillery Brigade will operate in immediate conjunction with the 20th Brigade Column; and the 35th Field Artillery Brigade in immediate conjunction with 22nd Brigade Column, and the remainder of the Divisional Artillery, including attached Batteries, will be under the orders of the Brigadier General, Royal Artillery, 7th Division.

(b) The 20th Brigade Column will attack the enemy's trenches from the Vermelles-Hulluch Road inclusive to the Slit Work exclusive; and thence move on Hulluch.

The 22nd Brigade Column will attack from the Slit Work inclusive to approximately G.5.c.8.7. and thence the Quarries, Cité-Saint-Elie, and Puits No.13.

From the above places, the 20th Brigade Column will continue its march on Vendin-le-Vieil, and, Pont-à-Vendin and the 22nd Brigade Column on Wingles and Meurchin.

(c) The artillery will bombard the enemy's trenches and positions previous to the assault, under orders of the Corps Commander. A separate daily programme has already been issued.

The action of the Divisional Artillery to cover the actual infantry assault, is shown in the Time Table attached.

After the preliminary bombardment is over, Artillery will be lifted on to objectives further in rear according to the prepared programme.

It may so happen that some points will have to be re-bombarded.

On such occasions the general arrangement will be as follows (unless special orders are issued at the time for counter procedure).

On the obstruction being detected either by sight or by information being sent back, the Artillery bombardment will be ordered on the place from where resistance comes.

This will continue for half an hour, the last five minutes will be intensive.

The Infantry attacking such pints will thus know when the Artillery bombardment is going to cease; even if they fail to note when it actually begins, they will recognise its approaching end by the 5 minutes intensive fire. The infantry may thus be able to gain graound [sic] during the bombardment and will be prepared to rush in directly the intensive 5 minutes fire is over.

This applies to important places.

Small localities must be dealt with by the Forward Observation Officer accompanying the troops.

The Divisional Artillery will push on to closely support the infantry, as soon as possible.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - Thursday 23rd September 1915

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 13034 Private Archie William KING, 28, son of S A King of Tilsworth (Chocques Military Cemetery)

1st/5th Battalion

  • 3073 Private William George IBBETT, 18, son of J T Ibbett of 6 Warwick Road, Luton, born Northampton (Helles Memorial)