Tuesday 28 February 2017

New Rules for the Trenches

Wednesday 28th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

Second Lieutenant Anstee, acting adjutant of 2nd Bedfords has been in contact again today. Some new rules have been issued which “will be rigidly complied with in trenches”. They are as follows:

  • The officer on duty will inspect the front line and support dug outs. At night time no one except platoon sergeants will remain in the front line dug outs.
  • Attention is drawn to Divisional Trench Orders. All men will wash and shave each day and present as clean an appearance as possible.
  • Sergeants on duty will report to officers on duty ten minutes before time.
  • "Stand to" and "stand down" will be passed down to Company Headquarters by the officer on duty.
  • Platoon commanders and sergteants please note that non-compliance with any orders with reference to discipline in the trenches falls on them and severe disciplinary action will be taken as well as all indulgences stopped, such as leave etc.
As the adjutant explained, Divisional Headquarters are evidently worried that units have become lax during the enforced inactivity of winter. They now evidently want everyone at maximum alertness for the campaigning season to come, particularly if the enemy are withdrawing.

Source: X550/3/WD

Monday 27 February 2017

Enemy Still Near Arras

Second Lieutenant E E Bath [X550/1/81]

Tuesday 27th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

For all that the Germans have pulled back quite some way on the Somme it seems that around Arras they have not gone very far. Second Lieutenant G A Anstee spoke with me this afternoon to tell me that from their positions at Agny, south-west of the city, they could hear and observe our artillery active throughout the day on enemy’s lines. Lieutenant-Colonel H S Poyntz has returned from leave and once more taken command. A new officer has also joined the Battalion, Second Lieutenant E E Bath.

Source: X550/3/WD

Sunday 26 February 2017

Russians Spotted

Monday 26th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is in billets at le Touret, east of Béthune. The adjutant tells us that a mission of senior Russian officers passed the billets and called in at the officers’ mess.

The extent of the German retreat is still unclear. The army has been feeling forward for them all day across a broad front.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 26th February 1917

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: front line north of the River Ancre
  • 23540 Private Frederick COUGHTREY born Tring [Hertfordshire] resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 33729 Lance Corporal Frank HUCKLE, 34, ex-34178 Suffolk Regiment, son of Henry and Jane Huckle of Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire], husband of F M Huckle of New Street, Saint Neots (Étaples Military Cemetery)


6th Battalion
  • 10729 Private Alfred Ernest DAY or DYER, 21, born Harpenden [Hertfordshire] son of J W and Mary Day or Dyer of Marsh Road, Leagrave (Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay)

Saturday 25 February 2017

The Extent of the Retreat

Sunday 25th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

Whilst the extent of the German retreat is, as yet, unclear, it seems not to be confined to the Somme area. The 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, are at Agny south of Arras. We have heard from the acting adjutant, Second Lieutenant G A Anstee this afternoon who told us: “Information has been received that we are pushing forward fast down south and that the enemy were abandoning their positions. The division on our right was given orders to send out strong patrols to see what was happening on their front. We also sent out patrols for the same object and have had no casualties.

The 4th Battalion, north of Grandcourt continued to patrol last night. At 9 pm all these patrols reached their respective objectives without opposition and touch was gained between them and communication established with 7th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers on their left. An hour later a further reconnaissance was made in the direction of a trench system which was subsequently occupied. Around midnight a patrol was sent into Miraumont and reported that the town had been evacuated by hostile troops. At 9 am this morning the Battalion is holding the line just west of Miraumont.

Sources: X550/3/WD; X550/5/3

Friday 24 February 2017

The Enemy are in Retreat

Saturday 24th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

It seems that the rumours of a German retreat were true! We are hearing from all across the Somme front that our units are pushing forward and meeting little resistance.

The 4th Bedfords, in the front line north of the River Ancre report that at 4.30 this afternoon they were ordered to advance a line of posts. Then just an hour ago at 6 pm three strong patrols were sent out. The Battalion is north of Grandcourt and Baillescourt Farm shown on the map above

The 1st/5th Bedfords are also on the move in far-away Sinai. Since 20th February they have advanced from Maadan through Bardawil to El Arish where they have taken over a vacant camp.

Sources: X550/5/3; X550/6/8

Thursday 23 February 2017

More Work for the Royal Engineers

Friday 23rd February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

The adjutant of the 1st Field Company East Anglian Royal Engineers reports that they have taken over “intermediate work”. It turns out that this means the installation of a water supply system from a well in an old sugar beet factory of which there are a number on the Somme. They are also building of several messes on dug-outs south of Miraumont for the use of 2nd Divisional Headquarters.

They are also making a dug-out for the Royal Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters, fitting gas canisters in dugouts at Courcellette, erecting camouflage screens, constructing an office at Centre Way Dump, maintaining and repairing a duck board track to said dump and constructing a bomb store. Truly, there is no rest for the sapper.

We continue to hear rumours of German retreat. All our fingers are crossed(1).

Source: WW1/WD3

(1) The German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line began on the night of 22nd/23rd February. The Germans concealed it brilliantly and the allies were slow to follow-up.

Roll of Honour - 23rd February 1917


2nd Battalion
  • 27458 Private Albert HANDSCOMB, 38, B Company, born and resided Bishop's Stortford [Hertfordshire] (Calais Southern Cemetery)

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Legal Work

Thursday 22nd February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

The adjutant of the Bedfordshire Yeomanry tells me that tomorrow their commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel S C Peel will be president and Major S Green a member of a Court of Inquiry which will assemble at the headquarters of 9th Cavalry Field Ambulance. Meanwhile Major A C Benning will be president of the Field General Court Martial at the headquarters of the 15th Hussars.

Source: WW1/WD2

Roll of Honour - 22nd February 1917

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: front line at Ferme du Bois near le Touret
  • 33373 Private Arthur THETFORD, ex-17451 Norfolk Regiment, born New Catton [Norfolk] resided Norwich [Norfolk] (le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-l'Avoué)

4th Battalion: front line north of the River Ancre
  • 30030 Private Charles Edward RIBBONS, 28, son of C and A Ribbons of  Banham [Norfolk] husband of Lilian of The Grammar School, Banham; lived Merton [Surrey] (Thiepval Memorial)

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Rumours of a German Retreat

Wednesday 21st February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

The 4th Bedfords are once more in the front line north of the River Ancre. They are in similar positions to last time.

Strange rumours are circulating around the army that the Germans may be on the cusp of retreating, or actually in retreat. Apparently enemy radio messages have been intercepted instructing wireless stations in the villages of Grévillers and Achiet-le-Petit as well as the town of Bapaume to close down and prepare to move back.

If so this is seen as vindication of the Battle of the Somme, begun in July last year, suspended in November and recommenced at the end of last month. Readers may remember that the town of Bapaume, which lies north-east of Albert along the old Roman road, was the main objective of the Somme offensive. If the enemy is now abandoning Bapaume and other ground the feeling is that they may at last be on the run and that brings the end of the war much closer(1)

Source: X550/5/3

(1) In fact the Germans were moving back to pre-prepared positions which they called the Siegfriedstellung and which the British christened the Hindenburg Line. This new line more or less directly south-east from a point just south of Arras to a spot south-east of Juvigny. By giving up ground, including the towns of Bapaume, Peronne, Roye and Ham and the cathedral city of Noyon, the Germans straightened their line meaning they had a shorter line to defend, thus using their man-power more effectively.

Roll of Honour - 21st February 1917

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: front line at Loos
  • 27653 Private Charles William WOODS ex-27653 Northamptonshire Regiment, born Watford [Hertfordshire], resided  Northampton (St Patrick's Cemetery, Loos)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • Major William Henry DENNE DSO, 40, mentioned in despatches, son of Rev R H and Mrs D Denne of Brimpsfield [Gloucestershire], husband of Ethel; served in the 2nd Boer War (Brimpsfield (Saint Michael) Churchyard)

4th Battalion
  • 30202 Private Walter ATKINS, 38, born Glatton [Huntingdonshire], husband of Susan of Back Lane, Farcet [Huntingdonshire] (Mont Huon Military Cemetery, le Treport)
  • 19380 Private Albert DARRINGTON, 21, son of Walter and Jane Darrington of Wyboston (Étaples Military Cemetery)


4th Battalion
  • 23699 Private Joseph ELEMENT, 40, son of Sarah of Apsley End, Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire] (Wimereux Communal Cemetery)

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
  • TR/9/9967 Private Thomas SMITH born Poplar [London] resided Dunton [Essex] (Dovercourt (All Saints) Churchyard)

Monday 20 February 2017

Battalion Reorganization

Tuesday 20th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

We have hear d today from the adjutant of 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment that they have been re-organised along lines ordered by general Headquarters. It seems that Battalion Headquarters, which includes the Battalion Transport and the Quarter Master’s troops, has been reduced to 150 all ranks plus an attachment of sixteen snipers and sixteen drummers.

Each of the battalion’s four companies has also been reorganized. Each company now consists of a headquarters of fourteen and four platoons of four sections, as before, but each of these sections now has a different composition. Number 1 Section comprises riflemen and rifle-grenadiers, Number 2 Section is entirely Lewis gunners and snipers, Number 3 Section is composed completely of bombers and Number 4 Section a mixture of riflemen and rifle-grenadiers as Number 1 Section.

This new organization, no doubt, will be true of every infantry battalion in the army from now on.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 20th February 1917

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 3/6529 Private Spencer SIMPSON, 24, born Claydon [Suffolk], resided Ipswich [Suffolk], husband of E P Cooper (ex-Simpson) of The Post Office, Battisford [Suffolk] (Barlin Communal Cemetery Extension)

Sunday 19 February 2017

What the Royal Engineers Did

Monday 19th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

2nd Division were also in the fight for Petit Miraumont on Saturday and one of the units of engineers attached to the division is 1st Field Company, East Anglian Royal Engineers. The adjutant told us about their activities on Friday and Saturday: “We were at Wolfe Huts where preparations were made for the carrying out of work allotted to this Company. This work consisted of teo sections to construct posts for the consolidation of ground to be captured by the 6th Infantry Brigade. The attached sappers’ mates of these sections and half a company of 10th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry were under orders of our officer commanding and their work was to execute the wiring in front of ground to be captured by the Brigade”.

“The other two sections were attached to the 5th Field Company, Royal Engineers for the consolidation of ground to be captured by the 99th Infantry Brigade, between East and West Miraumont Roads”.

“Owing to the failure of the attack on Desire Support Trench [south of Pys and Miraumont] by the 6th Infantry Brigade , neither of the two sections attached to this Brigade were called up. Under orders from Advanced 6th Infantry Brigade Headquarters the attached sappers’ mates and half company of DCLI left billets at 11 pm and proceeded to work, which conxisted of repairing the wire of our own front line, which had been cut tp permit the attack made in the morning”.

“With reference to the two sections attached to 5th Field Company as only the first objective was reached by the 99th Brigade only Number 4 Section, under Lieutenant J H King was sent up to perform its allotted work. Previous to this a daylight reconnaissance of the positions of the strongpoints to be constructed had been made by Second Lieutenant J H King, taking advantage of the mist. This section, together with attached sappers’ mates and one platoon 10th DCLI started work about 4.30 pm and completed Strongpoint Number 1 and also did s consideravle amount of work on Strongpoint Number 6. Second Lieutenant King and one other rank were slightly wounded, both remaining at duty”.

Source: WW1/WD3

Roll of Honour - 19th February 1917

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: front line at Loos
  • 33582 Private Ernest William SLOUGH ex-27303 Northamptonshire Regiment, born and resided Giddington [Northamptonshire]  (St Patrick's Cemetery, Loos)


3rd Battalion
  • 31719 Private Earnest John PEARCE, 36, born Epsom [Surrey], husband of Lillian of 8 Copsewood Road, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Watford Cemetery)

12th (Transport Worker) Battalion
  • 34862 Private John PAGE born and resided Ketteringham [Norfolk] (Croydon (Queen's Road) Cemetery)

Saturday 18 February 2017

The Aftermath of Boom Ravine

Sunday 18th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, were fortunate to be in reserve for the desperate fight at Boom Ravine yesterday rather than one of the assaulting battalions. The adjutant spoke to me this morning: “Casualties for the fight are said to be one thousand NCOs and men and thirty five officers. The 11th Royal Fusiliers and 6th Northants suffered the heaviest”.

Today the whole brigade, 54th, have been relieved by 55th Brigade and have withdrawn to hits in and around the village of Martinsart. 7th Bedfords are being employed on fatigues for the Royal Engineers.

Source: X550/8/1

Roll of Honour - 18th February 1917

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: front line at Loos
  • 15256 Private Arthur William BROWN, 23, born Little Bradley [Suffolk], son of James and Lizzie Brown of Colne, Saint Ives [Huntingdonshire] (St Patrick's Cemetery. Loos)
  • 31972 Private John Herbert CAVE, 24, son of Joseph and Hannah Cave of Caulcot, Marston Moretaine (St Patrick's Cemetery, Loos)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 30436 Private Albert John AKRED, 21, son of John and Elizabeth Mary Akred of Fen Drove, Downham Market [Norfolk] (Étaples Military Cemetery)


3rd Battalion
  • 37840 Private Reggie Walter GRAND, 22, born Baconsthorpe [Norfolk], resided Didlington [Norfolk], son of Robert and Rose Grand of Brightwell [Suffolk] (Orford (Saint Bartholomew) Churchyard)

Friday 17 February 2017

The Battle of Boom Ravine

Saturday 17th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

The adjutant of the 7th Battalion has been in contact this evening to tell me about their attack on Petit Miraumont today. This village lies on the south bank of the River Ancre directly north of Pozieres. The village of Miraumont lies on the north bank.

The adjutant tells me that today was termed Z Day. All arrangements were complete for the attack by 4 am. The final objective was South Miraumont Trench (shown on the map above) which defends the southern portion of Petit Miraumont. At 5.45 am our Barrage opened - the attacking troops being formed up ready before this. In fact during this forming up the men were heavily shelled by the enemy who had apparently detected or gained information that something was taking place(1). Many casualties were suffered by this shell fire adding to the difficulties of making a good start.

The Bedfords were in reserve to the two assaulting battalions, 11th Royal Fusiliers and 6th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment and the support battalion - 12th Middlesex. The adjutant calmly related that the battle “progressed in the usual way” until the second objective was reached. This is a spot called the Boom Ravine (shown in yellow on the map above) about 500 yards short of the final objective. Maps show this ravine as being 40 feet deep. Here it was found almost impossible to advance further as most of the officers had become wounded also many other ranks. As soon as this fact had been established orders were issued by 54th Bde headquarters for the assaulting troops to entrench and make dispositions for holding the ground they had gained, this was done and by nightfall the work of consolidation was well advanced.

A German counterattack was to be expected and in view of this the General Officer Commanding 54th Brigade ordered two companies of the 7th Bedfords to be moved forward into close support. Accordingly A Company moved to a spot about 500 yards behind the front line known as The Gulley and B Company to Regina Trench(2).

This setback comes after successful attacks in recent days including a successful Australian attack on 4th February and an attack on 8th when 17th Division took the trench overlooking the village of Saillisel.

Source: X550/8/1

(1) Information seems to have been given the Germans by a deserter.

(2) As well as 18th (Eastern Division), 2nd Division was also involved in the attack which nowhere gained its full objectives but managed an advance of between 500 and 1,000 yards. Casualties were very high - nearly 900 men in 2nd Division and nearly 1,200 in 18th.

Roll of Honour - 17th February 1917

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: German raid on the front line at Ferme du Bois near le Touret
  • 16454 Sergeant Frederick Arthur GROOM born and resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-l'Avoué)

7th Battalion: in reserve for a partially successful attack on Boom Ravine near Petit Miraumont
  • 15563 Private John COPLEY, born Selby Bridge [Yorkshire], resided Luton (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19968 Private Edgar Cyril LEACH, 20, son of Henry William and Ellen Agnes Leach of 20 Gayton Road, Hampstead [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15804 Corporal Ernest Robert LEGG, 20, son of Willie Robert and Martha Legg of 42 Polden Street, Bridgewater [Somerset] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • Second Lieutenant Leon Eric TAYLOR, attached 54th Trench Mortar Battery (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 3/8000 Private William SHEEHAN, attached 183rd Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers, 45, Bristol, son of William and Catherine Sheehan, husband of Ellen of 2 Francis Place, Burton Street, Bristol (Grove Town Military Cemetery, Méaulte)

Thursday 16 February 2017

Counting the Cost

Friday 16th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

Today the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment completed its move back from the front line north of Beaucourt-sur-Ancre to Mackenzie Huts at Martinsart, having been relieved by 1st Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry. The battalion has been in the line since 6th February and made a successful attack on the night of 11th/12th.

The adjutant informs me that the cost of the last ten days has been 68 killed, 90 wounded, 3 missing and 45 missing, believed killed. This is the equivalent of about a company of men, nearly a quarter of the battalion’s strength. Among the casualties were eight officers - three killed (Lieutenant Despicht, Second Lieutenant McKirdy and Second Lieutenant Shott) and five wounded (Second Lieutenant Stimson, Second Lieutenant Smart, Second Lieutenant R S Thomas, Second Lieutenant A W Thomas and Second Lieutenant Berry)

Meanwhile 7th Battalion are just about to go into the fray. It is in support for an attack planned at Miraumont tomorrow. Two companies are at Farback Trench between Thiepval and Miraumont and two in reserve at Mouquet Farm between Thiepval and Pozieres.

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

Roll of Honour - 16th February 1917

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 23492 Private Charlie LAWRENCE, 20, son of Frederick and Ann Lawrence of Luton (Varennes Military Cemetery)
  • 26704 Lance Corporal Herbert STUART, ex-21311 Hussars, 19, son of William Stuart of 56 Castle Road, Bedford (Valenciennes (Saint Roch) Communal Cemetery)

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Half Way Now

Thursday 15th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

Marching by the old caravan route the 1st/5th Bedfords have reached Bir el Mazar around half way on their long journey to Rafa.

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 15th February 1917

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 23071 Private Henry BURT born and resided Woburn Sands [Buckinghamshire] (Varennes Military Cemetery)

Tuesday 14 February 2017

The March Continues

Wednesday 14th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

Yesterday morning the 1st/5th Battalion marched from Salmana to Tilul. Theirs is a long march across the wastes on the northern Sinai. Having looked at a map your correspondent estimated that it is between 150 and 160 miles, not far short of the distance from London to York.

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 14th February 1917

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: front line north bank of the River Ancre
  • 23166 Private Horace Moss ALLEN, 30, born Aley Green, son of Frederick and Emily Allen of 17 Hicks Road, Markyate [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 12173 Private Arthur HILL born and resided Bovingdon [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 27401 Private James ROSE, 23, son of James John and Sarah Rose of 5 Wrotham Road, West Ealing [Middlesex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 40602 Private Alfred SAVILL, ex-19991 Northamptonshire Regiment, born Stock [Essex], resided Linford [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 25412 Private Frederick TAYLOR, 24, son of Ellen Taylor of 1 Holly Cottages, Hammond Street, Cheshunt [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 33449 Corporal Horace James TAYLOR, 23, ex-20602 Northamptonshire Regiment, son of A Taylor of 24 All Saints Road, Peterborough (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 23238 Private George Godfrey WAGSTAFF, born and resided Yelden (Serre Road Cemetery No. 2)

6th Battalion: at les Brébis
  • 10516 Lance Corporal Ernest Walter COX, 26, son of Walter and Ada of Church Road, Stevington, resided Bedford (Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 30910 Private James COLLINS, 36, born Cole Green [Hertfordshire] resided Stanground [Huntingdonshire], husband of Rose of Woburn Road, Heath and Reach (Varennes Military Cemetery)
  • 30818 Private John HILL, 39, son of J Hill of Musselburgh [Edinburghshire], resided Fleetville [Hertfordshire] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Monday 13 February 2017

Showers in the Desert

Tuesday 13th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

Yesterday the 1st/5th Battalion marched from Bir-el-Abd to Salmana, meaning they are now about a third of the way to Rafa. They did their marching in the morning, resting during the afternoon when there were showers of rain.

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 13th February 1917

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: front line on the north bank of the Ancre
  • 23444 Private William BARNES, born and resided Newport Pagnell [Buckinghamshire] (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 31110 Private Thomas James COATES, 19, ex-21197 Essex Regiment, son of T G Coates of 3 Kimberley Road, Colchester [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20175 Private Charles MARDLE, 37, son of Thomas and Betsey Mardle of Council Houses, Caddington (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 22808 Private John EDWARDS born Perth, resided Bedford (Varennes Military Cemetery)

8th Battalion
  • 32239 Private James Leslie LOVE, 22, ex-1653 Essex Regiment, son of J A Love of 14 New Writtle Street, Chelmsford [Essex] (Béthune Town Cemetery)


7th Battalion
  • 20305 Private Herbert MERRYWEATHER son of Joseph Merryweather of 58 Wellington Street, Bedford (Hem Communal Cemetery, Somme)

Sunday 12 February 2017

Results of the 4th Battalion Attack

Monday 12th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

We hear that the attack made by 4th Battalion yesterday night north of Beaucourt-sur-Ancre was a complete success. Two companies made the attack with one in support and one in reserve acting as a carrying party for ammunition for consolidating the line gained. At 9.05 pm the line advanced. The left company was temporarily held up by enemy wire and heavy machine-gun fire and the Company in Support was then pushed forward and the objectives gained by 3 am this morning. Twenty one men were killed during these operations and many more wounded.

The 2nd Battalion today moved into the front line south of Agny, which is, itself, south of Arras. They occupy the line shown in red on the map above. The adjutant opined that they are being introduced to this new area in time to become acquainted with it prior to an attack, but we will have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, in the deserts of the Sinai the 1st/5th Battalion yesterday marched to Bir el Abd where it bivouacked. The adjutant wired that there was “brilliant lightning and some thunder later during the night but especially about 2300 there was heavy rain and some hail”. Not the weather one expects in a desert.

Sources: X550/3/WD; X550/5/3; X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 12th February 1917

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: objective gained and line straightened near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 32041 Lance Corporal Percy NANCARROW, ex-24519 Suffolk Regiment, 27, born Bow [London] resided Westcliff-on-Sea [Essex], son of John and Sarah Lidia Nancarrow of 23 Cambridge Road, Southend-on-Sea [Essex]; English teacher at Soiuthen High School with BA from London University (Thiepval Memorial)


4th Battalion
  • 25836 Private Ernest John CLARE, 22, son of Samuel and Caroline Clare of 50 Milton Road, Ware [Hertfordshire] (Ware New Cemetery)

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
  • TR/9/10184 Private George Edward DELLER Wormley [Hertfordshire] (Dovercourt (All Saints) churchyard)

Saturday 11 February 2017

4th Battalion Attack About to Go Ahead

Sunday 11th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

Today the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is tomake an attack north-east of Beaucourt-sur-Ancre tonight. It is of a limited nature, designed to push the front line forward to the north as shown on the map above.

Source: X550/5/3

Roll of Honour - 11th February 1917

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: successful pushing forward of the front line near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 30815 Private Albert BIRD, born Saint Albans [Hertfordshire], resided Radlett [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 25602 Private Walter BROOKS, 23, son of Arthur and Amelia Brooks of Hinxworth [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18551 Private Samuel Foster BURROWS MM, 29, B Company, born Highbury [London], son of Ellen and the late Samuel Burrows of 15 Saint Olaf’s Road, Fulham [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 25449 Private Alfred BUTTERWICK, born and resided Orton Waterville [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 29696 Private Stanley CLARK, 30, born and resided Butley [Suffolk], son of Samuel Clark of Padley Water, Chillesford [Suffolk], husband of L E C Kersey (ex-Clark) of Butley (Thiepval Memorial)
  • Lieutenant Leonard Terry DESPICHT MC, 26, son of Joseph and Lucy R Despicht of Trenebie, 375 Sandycombe Road, Kew Gardens [Surrey], adjutant, mentioned in despatches (Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • 22902 Private Edward ELLIS, 20, son of Samuel and Mary Ellis of Wootton Green (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 30058 Private Leonard John FRANKLIN, born and resided Dunstable (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 30592 Private Bertram William FROY, 25, born and resided Hitchin [Hertfordshire], husband of Elizabeth Jane Hulbert (ex-Froy) of 51 Lonsdale Road, Bayswater [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 30788 Private Herbert GREEN, born Oldham [Suffolk], resided Ilford [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18925 Private Stanley George HALFHEAD, 21, son of  Mrs Halfhead of 20 Wood Street, Luton (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 22973 Private Herbert James HALL, 23, son of George and Fanny of Newtown, Kimbolton [Huntingdonshire] (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 22853 Private Horace Cyril HULL, born and resided Bedford (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 25655 Private George Alfred KEMP, born Finchingfield [Essex], son of Mary Ann Kemp of Robin Hood End of Stambourne [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 33715 Acting Sergeant Charles Henry LIST, ex-13019 Suffolk Regiment, born Wellingham [Norfolk], resided Beccles [Suffolk] (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • Acting Captain Gillies MCKIRDY, son of I C MacKirdy of 1 Ingleside Grove, Blackheath [London] (Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • 20112 Private Frederick George OLIVER, born and resided Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 23328 Acting Corporal William PRINCE EVANS, 26, born Toddington, son of J E and Mary Elizabeth Prince Evans of Moat Cottage, Sharnbrook (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 26027 Private Percy RAYNER, born and resided Therfield [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 12249 Private Herbert Sidney SHAW, 23, born Cambridge, resided Royston [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 30163 Private Albert Edward SYCAMORE, 29, son of William and Catherine Sycamore, born Ewell [Surrey], resided Banstead [Surrey], husband of B M Sycamore of 3 Meadow Walk, Ewell (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 29697 Private Roland CABLE, 28, born Hacheston [Suffolk], husband of Laura L of Deben Cottage, Wickham Market [Suffolk] (Varennes Military Cemetery)

8th Battalion
  • 16260 Sergeant Frederick George RUSSELL MM, 26, son of John Russell of Alconbury [Huntingdonshire] (Vermelles British Cemetery)

Friday 10 February 2017

7th Battalion Back to Old Haunts

Saturday 10th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

The adjutant of the 7th Battalion spoke with me at some length with me today, telling me, with a certain grim relish, that they had returned to the site of one of their old victories - the sorry muddle of holes in the ground that was once Thiepval. They are in dug-outs, except for C Company which inhabits the old German position of Stuff Redoubt. At night the Battalion will be employed in night fatigues in the vicinity of the front line around .

Source: X550/8/1

Roll of Honour - 10th February 1917

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: front line near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 20333 Private Thomas BASON, born and resided Tempsford (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 40195 Lance Corporal William Charles GRIMWADE, ex-28257 Essex Regiment, born Layham [Suffolk], resided Brantham [Suffolk] (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 33706 Private Frank VIDLER, 41, ex-34982 Suffolk Regiment, husband of Ada of 30 Old Church Road, Hollington [Sussex], resided Saint Leonard's-on-Sea [Sussex] (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)

8th Battalion: front line opposite Hohenzollern Redoubt near Loos
  • 23146 Private Samuel BEAN, 19, son of S Bean of Temple Lodge, Hempstead Road, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Vermelles British Cemetery)
  • 30785 Private William CHRISTMAS, born Mucking [Essex], resided Ilford [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 25439 Private George Percy COLES, born Great Gidding [Huntingdonshire], resided Ellington [Huntingdonshire] (Vermelles British Cemetery)
  • 40160 Private John Brian MIDFORTH, 31, ex-28178 Essex Regiment, born East Sculcoates [Yorkshire], husband of A M Midforth of 60 Bury Street, Norwich [Norfolk], son of Robert Brian and Mearah Midforth of Hull [Yorkshire] (Vermelles British Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 12405 Private Charles HUNT, 23, born and resided Harpenden [Hertfordshire], son of George and Lizzie Hunt of 14 Church Street, Slip End (Varennes Military Cemetery)


7th Battalion
  • 3/8288 Private James RICHARDSON, 34, born Gamlingay [Cambridgeshire], son of John and Emma Richardson of Potton (Varennes Military Cemetery)

Thursday 9 February 2017


Friday 9th February 1917 from our correspondent in the field

“Chatting” with the adjutant of 2nd Battalion today he remarked that the Battalion has had eleven other ranks reporting sick in the past week. It then struck me that, given the cold and wet conditions at present and the fact that many of the men in the battalion will have been at war for a year or more, these are remarkably low numbers - around 1% of the total strength of the Battalion. It is, of course, the duty of every man to ensure he stays fit and the duty of every officer to render this possible.

Source: X550/3/WD

Roll of Honour - 9th February 1917

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: front line near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 19369 Sergeant Alfred HOLLOWAY, born Clerkenwell [London], resided Wandsworth [London] (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)
  • 13337 Private Ernest IRONS, 33, son of Charles Irons of Diddington [Huntingdonshire] (Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel)