Wednesday 30 November 2016

Decorations for the Seventh Bedfords

Thursday 30th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Captain Bridcutt tells me that some offciers and men of the 7th Bedfords have received decorations for their actions on the Somme. The following officers have received the Military Cross:

  • Captain L H Keep
  • Captain W J W Colley
  • Lieut. D S H Keep
  • Captain J W Turner of the Royal Army Medical Corps, the Battalion’s Medical Officer
  • Second Lieutenant H A Reaney

These men have received the Distinguished Conduct Medal:

  • 3/8402 Regimental Sergeant Major F Antliffe
  • 16176 Company Sergeant Major R M Brand
  • 6466 Company Sergeant Major Charles Hall
  • 43340 Sergeant A Wyatt
  • 15080 Lance Corporal W Harris
  • 16540 Private G Goldhawk

The following men have received the Military Medal:

  • 14626 Lance Sergeant A Turville
  • 15318 Private A Pratt
  • 17423 Private W Crawley

Source: X550/8/1

Roll of Honour - 30th November 1916

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion

  • 43167 Private Sidney George FLINT, 22, ex-1355 Essex Regiment, resided Ilford [Essex], son of Charles and Lucy Flint of 20 Sheringham Avenue, Manor Park [Essex] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Practice for a Winter Campaign?

Wednesday 29th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are in Egypt holding the Suez Canal and patrolling eastwards in the Sinai Desert.  At the moment they are practising firing Lewis guns and throwing live grenades. The commanding officer and the adjutant are engaged in a thirty mile ride around all the various outposts held by the Battalion.

Source: X550/6/8

Monday 28 November 2016

Rest and Refit

Tuesday 28th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are at Millencourt. This village is about two miles due west of Albert. Thus it is well behind the lines following the Battle of the Somme. The Battalion is in rest billets after its exertions, refitting and overhauling kit, clothing and transport.

Source: X550/8/1

Sunday 27 November 2016


Monday 27th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The adjutant of the 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, tells me that they are at a hutted camp behind the lines near Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée, where they are training. He tells me that there has been an effort at improvement of sanitary conditions in these hutment camps.

It reminds me of a story told to me of an officer of the 4th Bedfords a few weeks ago. They are part of a brigade of four “Army” battalions whilst the other two brigades in their division (63rd) comprise Royal Marines and naval personnel, who all think of themselves as still sailors.

The new general officer commanding 63rd Division, Major-General Cameron Shute was less than impressed with the sanitary arrangements of the naval brigades under his command. On a ship there are certain facilities for disposal of effluent which are not present in the trenches. This has led to a rather casual attitude towards the disposal of waste. General Shute, quite rightly, took issue with this filthy behaviour as giving rise to dysentery. However, the fact that the “Navy” men had been reprimanded by an “Army” man did not go down well and consequently the general’s name was habitually changed by the substitution of the first vowel for another vowel in conversation within the naval elements of the division!

Source: X550/5/3

Saturday 26 November 2016

Second Bedfords' Officers Command Other Battalions

Lieutenant Mudford

Sunday 26th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field
The adjutant of the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, mentioned to me when I rode up to the rear areas at Berles-au-Bois today that they have temporarily lost three of their most experienced officers. 

Major J W H T Douglas

Lieutenant H E Mudford has proceeded on leave whilst Major J W H T Douglas has taken temporary command of 20th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment and Captain R O Wynne temporary command of 17th Battalion of the Liverpools. 

Cptain R O Wynne

A Second Lieutenant (L A L Fink) has had to take over command of C Company.

Second Lieutenant Fink

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 26th November 1916

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 23055 Private William GATES, 29, born Bardney [Lincolnshire], resided Stevenage [Hertfordshire], son of J L and S A Gates (Knebworth (Saint Mary) Churchyard)

Friday 25 November 2016

Fine Weather

Saturday 25th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is in the front line near Festubert. Readers will recall that the final weeks of the Battle of the Somme were bogged down, quite literally, in mud and bad weather. In contrast the adjutant of the 1st Bedfords told me today that their trenches have been much improved by fine weather as well as work done on them.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 25th November 1916

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 14240 Private Henry FRENCH, 26, born Bancroft, Hitchin [Hertfordshire], eldest son of Henry and Sarah French (Wimereux Communal Cemetery)


1st Battalion
  • 20351 Private Charles William WARD, born and resided Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Longuenesse (Saint-Omer) Souvenir Cemetery)

Thursday 24 November 2016

More on Casualties During the Battle of the Somme

Friday 24th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Following the analysis of the numbers of men who have sacrifices of war in the Battle of the Somme, readers may be interested in the relative costliness of different operations during the course of the battle. The figures below give the number of men killed in action in the most significant attacks made between 1st July and 18th November. The figures are restricted to those killed in action because it is usually impossible to know the actions resulting in deaths due to wounds which can take place several weeks later.

  • 1st Day of the Battle and immediate aftermath – 1st to 3rd July: 106 (2nd and 7th Battalions)
  • Actions at Contalmaison and Pozières  – 9th to 15th July: 92 (6th Battalion)
  • Actions in Trônes Wood  - 11th to 14th July: 61 (2nd and 7th Battalions)
  • Actions at Longueval and Delville Wood – 22nd to 31st July: 105 (1st Battalion)
  • Actions south of Guillemont – 30th July to 24th September: 138 (1st and 2nd Battalions)
  • Actions near Morval – 13th to 25th September: 158 (8th Battalion)
  • Actions at Thiepval – 26th to 29th September: 93 (7th Battalion)
  • Actions east of Le Sars – 11th to 12th October: 83 (2nd Battalion)
  • Actions on the River Ancre – 31st October to 16th November: 110 (4th and 6th Battalions)

Roll of Honour - 24th November 1916

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: front line at Berles-au-Bois
  • 26560 Private Horace Frank LAKE, born Wiggington [Hertfordshire], resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Berles-au-Bois Churchyard Extension)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 23489 Private Sydney John VASS, 18, born Greenfield, son of Alfred and Alice Vass of 121 Castle Street, Luton (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Casualties During the Battle of the Somme

Thursday 23rd November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

In the last few days your correspondent has been engaged in a melancholy task. This is to assess the numbers of Bedfordshire Regiment men who have been killed in action or died of wounds during the Battle of the Somme. Six battalions have been engaged in the battle at various times. Of course some actions were more costly than others and success or failure of an attack seems to matter very little so far as numbers of casualties are concerned. The figures, insofar as they can be assessed, are as follows:

  • 1st Battalion: 261;
  • 2nd Battalion: 249;
  • 4th Battalion: 90;
  • 6th Battalion: 212;
  • 7th Battalion: 261;
  • 8th Battalion:  208.

This gives a figure of 1,281 men killed in action or who died of wounds between 1st July and 18th November in the Somme sector. Thus from six battalions, a total of one battalion and one company’s worth of men have given their lives in this struggle.

Roll of Honour 23rd November 1916

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 23305 Private William Richard LEWIS, 31, son of Thomas Lewis of Hitchin [Hertfordshire], resided Weston [Hertfordshire], husband of N E Lewis of Maiden Street, Weston [Hertfordshire] (Saint-Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen)

6th Battalion
  • 18556 Private Amos John JEEVES, 23, son of Susan Jeeves of Dunton (Puchevillers British Cemetery)

Tuesday 22 November 2016

1st/5th Bedfords in the Sinai Desert

Wednesday 22nd November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

I have received a communication from 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. Readers will remember hat this battalion isn part of 54th (East Anglian) Division, which took part in the fighting in Gallipoli in the latter part of 1915 and has been, since January this year, in Egypt.

Whilst the storm on the Somme had thundered and raged the situation in Egypt has been calm by comparison. The main problem for the men stationed there has been the heat, the flies and the scorpions which, we understand, make a hobby of hiding in men’s boots when they have been removed and lie in wait to deliver their venomous sting to the unthinking man putting his boots on without checking.

Given the harsh desert conditions around the Suez Canal and in Sinai the Medical Officer plans examinations for all ranks. This will weed out those unfit for active service which, in the cooler winter months, is more likely than in the heat of the Egyptian summer.

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 22nd November 1916

Killed in Action

6th Battalion
  • 43191 Private Percy KNIGHT, 19, ex-1069 Essex Regiment, son of R Knight of Percival Cottage, High Street,  Ingatestone [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 28420 Private Ernest James POULTON, 30, born and resided Barnet [Hertfordshire], husband of Rose Lewsey (ex-Poulton) of Danesboro, Hadley Road, New Barnet [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

Monday 21 November 2016

Second Battalion Decorations

Tuesday 21st November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The adjutant of the 2nd Battalion, at Berles-au-Bois just north of the Somme battlefield, has reported that the following men have received the Military Medal:

  • 5846 Lance Sergeant F Selby (a bar to his existing MM)
  • 9509 Sergeant J Allen
  • 9138 Lance Corporal G Eley(1)
  • 18589 Lance Corporal T Pearce(2)
(1) Lance Corporal George Eley died of wounds on 9th April 1917 and is buried at Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux
(2) Private Thomas Pearce was killed in action on 23rd October 1918 and is also buried at Bucquoy Road Cemetery

Roll of Honour - 21st November 1916

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 23500 Private Joseph WARD, 24, bornToddington, resided Luton, brother of Alice Gore of 86 Park Road West, Luton (Étaples Military Cemetery)
  • Second Lieutenant Roger Leslie Stuart WILKINSON, 18, son of Richard and Margaret Wilkinson of 237 Knightsbridge [London], native of Wraysbury [Buckinghamshire] (Étaples Military Cemetery)


Bedfordshire Yeomanry
  • 815 Private Reuben Henry CHERRY, 25, C Squadron, son of Titus Cherry of Houghton Conquest Forge (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Sunday 20 November 2016

The Battle of the Somme - What Has It Achieved?

Monday 20th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

If, as looks likely, the battle of the Somme has come to an end until the Spring, it is time to reflect on what it has achieved. A total of twenty four villages have been captured. It is true that the objective for the battle was Bapaume which has not quite been reached, the Butte de Warlencourt has stood as a German sentry in the dreadful weather of October and November denying the army their prize, but still much ground has fallen to our attacks.

Many of these attacks have been made by untried “Kitchener” battalions, such as the 6th and 7th Bedfords, whose first taste of action was during this battle. Some formations have already, as a result of their actions of the last five months, received a reputation as very efficient and deadly fighting formations – not least 18th (Eastern) and 30th Divisions.

The casualties have been high. There is no clear word from High Command about the numbers of dead, wounded and missing from our army, let alone calculations about the enemy but, given that for every British and Empire attack there was at least one corresponding German counter-attack, it is unlikely that the enemy have lost much less than we have(1).

It is clear that our attacks on the Somme materially aided our allies the French who were struggling against a vicious German offensive at Verdun. To be engaged in three major offensives, the Anglo-French offensive on the Somme, their own offensive at Verdun and the Brusilov Offensive in Russia, must have seriously depleted German reserves of manpower.

It seems, therefore, that, though the weather is gloomy, the outlook for the allied cause in this war is not. We know that Germany is not yet beaten and that severe fighting will take place in 1917 but we can reasonably expect that victory is much closer than it was on 1st July this year.

(1) Figures for casualties vary but British and Empire casualties were probably around half a million, the Germans not far behind or maybe slightly higher. French casualties probably exceeded 200,000. German Chief of Staff Erich Ludendorff called the Somme “the muddy grave of the German field army”.

Roll of Honour - 20th November 1916

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion

  • 29058 Lance Corporal Leonard CARTER, born Wretton [Norfolk], resided Stoke Ferry [Norfolk] (Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension)

Saturday 19 November 2016

Casualties and Awards

Sunday 19th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today the battlefield on the Somme is as quiet as we have heard it during the last five months or more. There is no sustained barrage anywhere that we can hear, just occasional muffled reports from rifles or the occasional chatter of machine guns, brief and widely spaced. There is a rumour in the army that the bad weather and the approach of winter mean that the battle is likely to have come to an end, probably to be taken up again in the Spring.

Readers might be interested in news from 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, which exemplifies a battalion’s tour in the front line when no attack is made. The adjutant, Captain Bridcutt, has sent me a list of named of those who have become casualties in the last few days:

  • 28991 Lance Corporal Robert Dungay, A Company, killed 16-11-16;
  • 15760 Private Arthur Turney, A Company, killed 16-11-16
  • 40532 Private Walter Ward, A Company, killed 16-11-16
  • 40506 Private Frederick Charles Osborne, A Company, killed 16-11-16
  • 40508 Private Herbert William Thompson, A Company, killed 16-11-16
  • 40535 Private Amos Hickmore, B Company, killed 16-11-16
  • 16524 Private Nathan Cain, C Company, killed 15-11-16
  • 29774 Private Herbert Rolfe Halls, C Company, killed 14-11-16
  • 43309 Private Robert Marshall Johnson, C Company, died of wounds 15-11-16
  • 27348 Private William Charles Pitts, B Company, missing 16-11-16
  • 29786 Private J W Moore, A Company, wounded 16-11-16
  • 28039 Private H Fuller, A Company, wounded 16-11-16
  • 28084 Private Herbert Eric Berry, A Company, wounded 16-11-16
  • 40501 Private J B Saunders, A Company, wounded 16-11-16
  • 40519 Private F A Ovenden, A Company, wounded 16-11-16
  • 14135 Corporal W Dean, B Company, wounded 16-11-16
  • 10034 Private J Hammond, B Company, wounded 16-11-16
  • 26234 Private G Bottomley, B Company, wounded 16-11-16
  • 29793 Private G S Parker, C Company, wounded 15-11-16
  • 18255 Private W G Ellis, C Company, wounded 15-11-16
  • 29859 Private W North, C Company, wounded 15-11-16
  • 15491 Private A Miles, C Company, wounded 14-11-16
  • 4366 Private F H Hughes, C Company, wounded 14-11-16
  • 27855 Private T Swain, C Company, wounded 14-11-16
  • 3/8636 Lance Corporal J Holmes, D Company, wounded 14-11-16
  • 3/7661 Lance Corporal R Smith, D Company, wounded 14-11-16
  • 27627 Lance Corporal M Skevington, D Company, wounded 13-11-16
  • 13581 Private A Dillingham, D Company, wounded 13-11-16
  • 14854 Private W Hargford, D Company, wounded 17-11-16
  • 29772 Private C Selsby, D Company, wounded 14-11-16
  • still at duty Second Lieutenant L E Taylor, C Company, wounded 14-11-16
  • 29796 Private Bertie Redding, killed, 15-11-16, C Company

The adjutant also tells me that the following mken have been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry:
  • 15400 Company Quarter Master Sergeant A Fountain
  • 12827 Private B F Silsby
  • 15198 Private A Chandler
  • 18176 Company Sergeant Major R M Brand
  • 17642 Lance Corporal G S Clarke
  • 15333 Pte G B Fuller

Roll of Honour - 19th November 1916

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 25522 Corporal Frank Samuel TWYDELL, 22, son of George and Mary Ann Twydell of Shillington (Contay British Cemetery)

6th Battalion
  • 25369 Lance Corporal Bert GOSS, 21, born Northill, son of John and Elizabeth of Lower Caldecote (Boulogne Easten Cemetery)


5th Battalion
  • 3776 Private William James LAMBERT resided Kempston (Kempston Cemetery)

Friday 18 November 2016

Day One Hundred and Forty One on the Somme

Saturday 18th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

It has been very wet again today here on the Somme. There was even a heavy fall of snow at Berles-au-Bois where 2nd Bedfords are in the line.

The rain and snow has simply added to the misery of the troops in the front and support lines. The word here is that the Battle of the Somme has probably come to a close. This morning the Higland Light Infantry from 32nd Division attacked Frankfort Trench, east of Beaucourt, in a blinding sleety rain. Sadly their attack ran into heavy fire and, though a small number of men made it into the trench they were forced out again. The two battalions taking part have lost around 275 dead between them(1).

Source: X550/3/wd

(1) This was the last attack during the Battle of the Somme.

Roll of Honour - 18th November 1916

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion

  • 28201 Private John William POTTER, 33, son of Frederick and Jane Potter of Thornham [Norfolk], husband of Maud M of High House, Docking [Norfolk] (Étaples Military Cemetery)

Thursday 17 November 2016

Day One Hundred and Forty on the Somme

Friday 17th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Lieutenant L T Despicht has taken over the duties of adjutant of the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. There have also been changes in command of companies following the severe losses of officers in the attck on 13th November. Lieutenant A J Clarke has assumed command of A Company, with Lieutenant G F Wray has taken over B Company and Lieutenant E C Wilson D Company.

Source: X550/5/3

Roll of Honour - 17th November 1916

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 27607 Lance Corporal Arthur Charles BOWLER, 20, ex-8835 Royal Flying Corps, born Elstow, resided Mansfield [Nottinghamshire], son of Christopher Ernest and Emily Bowler (Contay British Cemetery)
  • 23309 Private William COLEMAN, 36, son of William Levi and Caroline Coleman of Woburn (Puchevillers British Cemetery)

7th Battalion
  • 28084 Private Herbert Eric BERRY, born and resided South Heigham [Norfolk] (Contay British Cemetery)


1st Battalion

  • 8687 Private Charles PALLETT, 27, son of Hammond and Fanny Pallett of Essendon [Hertfordshire], died as a prisoner-of-war (Niederzwehren Cemetery, Hessen)

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Day One Hundred and Thirty Nine on the Somme

Thursday 16th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today the 4th Bedfords, after their exertions near Beaumont-Hamel, have moved to bivouacs and huts on the road from Englebelmer to Martinsart, quite well behind the lines.

Source: X550/5/3

Roll of Honour - 16th November 1916

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: at Wagon Road near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 28445 Private Alfred James ADCOCK, 35, son of James and Emma Adcock of Chapel Street, Shipdham [Norfolk] (Redan Ridge No.1 Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 20006 Private Stanley ANGELL, 23, born Welwyn [Hertfordshire], son of Stanley Angell of The Meadows, Breachwood Green [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 43168 Private Albert Henry BEADLE, ex-1678 Essex Regiment, resided Walworth [London] (Frankfurt Trench British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 22580 Private Frederick Charles BUNDY, 33, resided Boreham Wood [Hertfordshire], son of William Bundy, husband of Mary of 46 Malden Road, Boreham Wood (Waggon Road Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 19973 Private Ernest CANNON, 26, son of Charles and Edith Cannon of 86 Whinbush Road, Hitchin [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 13885 Private Joseph CLIFTON, 31, born and resided Battersea [London], husband of Annie Florence Millo (ex-Clifton) of 42 Gilbey Road, Tooting [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 28449 Private Horace Bertie EMMERSON, born and resided Wolferton [Norfolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 12487 Private John William FENWICK, born Camberwell [London], resided Barnes [Surrey] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 43232 Private James FOGG, ex-2047 Essex Regiment, born and resided Leek [Staffordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • Second Lieutenant Arthur JESSON, 28, son of Charles Jesson of Gumley [Leicestershire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18298 Corporal George KNIGHT, born Windsor [Berkshire], resided Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Serre Road Cemetery No. 1)
  • 19708 Private Ralph MABBOTT, born Clifton, resided Shefford (Waggon Road Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 7394 Private Arthur Thomas MILES, 33, born Buntingford [Hertfordshire], son of Walter and Rachel Miles of Newsells, Royston [Hertfordshire] (Frankfurt Trench British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 28105 Private John Thomas MORTIMER, born and resided Marlingford [Norfolk] (Waggon Road Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 28200 Private Percival John NOBBS, 28, born Hoveton Saint Peter’s [Norfolk], resided Tasburgh [Norfolk], son of John and Emily Nobbs of Erpingham [Norfolk] (Waggon Road Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 13739 Private Herbert James PINK, born Plumstead [London], resided Greenwich [London], son of Frederick Pink of 61 Christ Church Street, East Greenwich [London], husband of Lily of 15 Evelyn Street, Deptford [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18303 Private George PLUM, born and resided Willian [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19000 Private George Aldred POULSON, 25,son of Thomas and Frances Poulson of Harwich Road, Ardleigh [Essex] (Frankfurt Trench British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 12938 Private Frederick RUSSELL, 22, son of W Russell of Gustard Wood, Wheathampstead [Hertfordshire] (Serre Road Cemetery No. 2)
  • 14868 Private Harry TURNER, 35, born Babbacombe [Devon], resided Bristol, son of Henry and Elizabeth Rose Turner of Avoca, 5 South Ford Road, Dartmouth [Devon] (Waggon Road Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 12227 Private Joseph WALLER, 26, son of Eliza Waller of 8 New England Street, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 10623 Acting Sergeant Harry WHITE, 24, son of Thomas White of Almshouses, Stratford-upon-Avon [Warwickshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14733 Private George WILDER, 22, son of Susan Wilder of of 29 High Street, Markyate [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 25249 Private John Henry WILLIAMS, born and resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

7th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: improving communication trenches near Ovillers
  • 28991 Lance Corporal Robert DUNGAY, born Denver [Norfolk], resided Royston [Hertfordshire] (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 40535 Private Amos HICKMORE, 40, ex-29019 Essex Regiment, born Eastbourne [Sussex], resided Ramsgate [Kent], husband of D. Mildred of 12 Hollicondane Road, Ramsgate (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 14161 Lance Corporal Frank HOBBS, born and resided Croxley [Hertfordshire], son of Thomas and Martha Hobbs (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 29084 Private Frederick Charles OSBORNE, 39, ex-29084 Essex Regiment, born Wortwell [Norfolk], resided Starston [Norfolk], husband of Annie Eliza of Dairy Cottages, Starston (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 27848 Private William Charles PITTS, 24, son of Charles and Eliza Pitts of Great Barford (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 40508 Private Herbert William THOMPSON, ex-29085 Essex Regiment, born and resided Swaffham [Norfolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15760 Private Arthur TURVEY, born and resided Houghton Conquest (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 40532 Private Walter WARD, 38, ex-29102 Essex Regiment, son of William Ward of Brewery Yard, White Hart Lane, Swaffham [Norfolk], husband of Harriet of 2 Albert Terrace, Swaffham (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 22378 Private John Abraham PEACHEY, 35, born Marylebone [London], resided Rickmansworth [Hertfordshire], husband of H M Peachey of 26 Elfrida Road, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Wimereux Communal Cemetery)

6th Battalion
  • 18688 Private Albert Stanley HOLLOWAY, born Chorley Wood [Hertfordshire], resided Chenies Bottom [Buckinghamshire] (Serre Road Cemetery No. 1)

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Day One Hundred and Thirty Eight on the Somme

Wednesday 15th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today Munich Trench (just east of Wagon Road, itself just north-east of Beaumont-Hamel) has been taken by 51st (Highland) and 2nd Divisions. Early this morning 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, including the 4th Bedfords, was relieved by 37th Division, including the 6th Bedfords. An attack on Frankfort Trench, east of Beaucourt, by part of 37th Division, including the Bedfords, was unsuccessful. The Battalion lost three officers killed – Second Lieutenant John Griffin, Second Lieutenant Cecil le Messurier and Second Lieutenant George McEwan. No other ranks were killed.

The adjutant of the 7th Bedfords has been in contact today. They have been in the front line at Regina Trench, waiting to attack Petit Miraumont and the bridge over the River Ancre. However: “The Battalion moved back to Huts in Ovillers. During this tour in the trenches all preparations were made for attack on Miraumont but the weather was very wet and it was not carried out before the Battalion was due for relief”.

Sources: X550/5/3; X550/7/1; X550/8/1

Roll of Honour - 15th November 1916

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: attack on Munich Trench near Mailly-Maillet
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant John James Wahab GRIFFIN, 22, son of Robert Anderson and Alice Griffin of Saint Catherine's Park, Rathfarnham [Dublin] (Frankfurt Trench British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant Cecil Cooper LE MESSURIER, 32, son of Alfred Noel and Louisa Arabella le Messurier, husband of Winifred Lucy of 16 Hungerford Road, Holloway [London] (New Munich Trench British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)

7th Battalion: front line at Regina Trench near le Sars
  • 16524 Private Nathan CAIN, born and resided Kempston (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 29761 Private Bertie REDDING, born Peterborough, resided Old Fletton [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

9th Battalion
  • Second Lieutenant George Edward MCEWAN, attached 6th Battalion (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 25126 Private Sidney RISELEY, born and resided Carlton (Varennes Military Cemetery)

7th Battalion
  • 29798 Private Samuel Samson PARKER, 31, born Bethnal Green [London], son of Tom Parker of 8 Great Butts Street, Bedford, husband of Mary Louisa of 50 Sandhurst Road, Bedford (Thiepval Memorial)

Monday 14 November 2016

Day One Hundred and Thirty Seven on the Somme

Tuesday 14th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

During the day today 4th Bedfords have been counting their losses whilst acting as carrying parties taking bombs, sand-bags and other accoutrements to the men in the front line in front of the village of Beaucourt. This afternoon they withdrew to their second line trenches of yesterday.

The  commanding officer told me today that he reckons nine officers and 57 other ranks were killed yesterday(1). Five officers, including the Medical Officer have been wounded. 108 other ranks have been wounded and 16 are missing. The officers killed were:
  • Captain F G C Ashmead-Bartlett
  • Lieutenant Bartlett L S Frere
  • Lieutenant Richard H Boys
  • Lieutenant William A Turnbull
  • Second Lieutenant John Brodie
  • Second Lieutenant Harold B Hudson
  • Second Lieutenant Sydney H Agate
  • Second Lieutenant Thomas H Hill
  • Second Lieutenant L S Wilkinson
Source: X550/5/3

(1) The total killed actually seems to have been 81.

Roll of Honour - 14th November 1916

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line at Regina Trench near le Sars
  • 29771 Private Herbert Rolfe HALLS, born and resided Albury [Hertfordshire] (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 188561 Private Walter BOYCE, resided East Barnet [Hertfordshire] (Mesnil Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 23496 Private John RADFORD, 19, son of Harry and Julia Radford of 9 Windsor Street, Luton (Puchevillers British Cemetery)

7th Battalion

  • 43309 Private Robert Marshall JOHNSON, 23, C Company, ex-8147 East Kent Regiment, son of Gilmore and Elizabeth Johnson of 50 Caradoc Street, East Greenwich [London], born Greenwich [London] (Albert Communal Cemetery Extension)

Sunday 13 November 2016

Day One Hundred and Thirty Six on the Somme

Monday 13th November 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division made its first attack on the Somme. Together with 51st (Highland) Division, whose base of operations in 1914 was Bedford, as residents will well remember. Other divisions, too, have been involved in an attack which stretched from Hébuterne in the north to Grandcourt, the front forming a rough L-shape.

31st Division made the attack near Hébuterne. They easily took the German front line trenches and got into a hot fight at the enemy’s support line, many Germans being killed during one of their counter-attacks. This evening, we understand, the division has been ordered to return to its front lines, yielding ground gained. This is because 3rd Division failed completely in its attack on the village of Serre. This area was the site of terribly costly attacks on 1st July by many pals battalions from the north of England, forming 31st Division. Then the ground was rock hard, today it was waist deep in mud and it was this, more than the German defences, which caused the failure. 2nd Division attacked to the south of 3rd Division, advanding along the Redan Ridge. Here some ground, including the German front line was taken.

The Highlanders attacked Beaumont-Hamel itself together with Y-Ravine with the Naval Division attacking between Y-Ravine and the River Ancre. The Scots’ attack was aided by the explosion of a huge mine at Hawthorn Crater. The blast was terrific, the very mud beneath one’s feet quivering with the shock waves. We have been told that 30,000 pounds of explosive were used. The attackers were also aided by a low mist which hampered the Germans’ line of sight. It was some recompense for the deep mud through which the men had to stumble and slog. Their achievement in taking Beaumont-Hamel and Y-Ravine was thus a very notable one of which the men from the glens can be proud.

The Royal Naval Division attacked with its sailors and Royal Marines (188th and 189th Brigades), the “army men” of 190th Brigade, including the 4th Bedfords, being held in reserve. The German front line was taken, along with Beaucourt Station and Station Road, four hundred prisoners being captured into the bargain. The attack on the left, closest to Y-Ravine, suffered many casualties and 190th Brigade was inserted at that point.

The Bedfords suffered from fire from an enemy strongpoint between the German first and second lines. This had been by-passed by the leading brigade. Nevertheless the battalion got to the enemy second line and from there parties pushed on to Station Road and beyond. Thus, in their first action the battalion did itself great credit, though I understand that losses have been heavy, disproportionately so amongst the officers.

On the other side of the River Ancre, 39th Division met with considerable success, advancing over a thousand yards and taking Beaucourt Mill. The village of Saint-Pierre-Divion fell before eight o’clock this morning. 19th (Northern) Division formed the right-hand of the attack. The brigade on the left managed an advance but the brigade on the right, where it joined 18th (Eastern) Division failed to make any headway.

So although today’s attacks have met with mixed success, two more villages, Saint-Pierre-Divion and the much longed-for prize of Beaumont-Hamel have been added to the “bag” in this battle of 136 days.