Wednesday 31 January 2018

Life Carries On

Thursday 31st January 1918

Following the announcement of the impending abolition of 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, life carries on as normal. Today the battalion has been finding working parties as follows: one NCO and fifteen other ranks on Town Major’s fatigue, doing odd jobs in and around Lebucquière. Two NCOs and forty other ranks are working at the Brigade Grenade School; four officers and one hundred other ranks are working on strengthening the defences of the intermediate line; two other ranks have gone on a Third Army musketry course and one other rank is attending a pigeon course at 6th Divisional Headquarters.

Source: X550/9/1

Tuesday 30 January 2018

New MO

Lieutenant Silliman MORC [X550/1/81]

Wednesday 30th January 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire has relieved the 338th French Regiment east of Viry-Noureuil to the south of Saint-Quentin. Today their longstanding Medical Officer, Lieutenant G S Silliman of the American Red Cross has left them to join 5th Army Artillery School, being replaced by Captain H B Jones of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 30th January 1918

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 41501 Private Rupert Edward BALLARD, 19, born Paddock Wood [Kent], son of Edward Joseph Ballard of 50 Union Street, Maidstone [Kent] (Bedford House Cemetery)

Bedfordshire Yeomanry
  • 30146 Private John Langford WILLOUGHBY, 22, son of John and Annie Willoughby of Sharnbrook (Tincourt New British Cemetery)


2nd Garrison Battalion
  • 34920 Private Edgar WARDLE, 35, ex-12303 Royal Sussex Regiment born Nottingham, resided Selsey [Sussex], husband of Florence Louisa of 21 Conley Road, Willesden [Middlesex] (Karachi Cemetery, now Delhi Memorial (India Gate))

Monday 29 January 2018

End of the Line for the 8th Battalion

Tuesday 29th January 1918

8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment was formed on the outbreak of war in August 1914 to receive some of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers ready to serve ther country. It mobilised on 21st August 1915 and arrived in France on 10th September. Most new battalions arriving in France or Belgium had time to “bed in”. The 8th Bedfords were not so lucky, going into action on the first day of the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915. Since then they have taken part in a number of major actions: they lost 72 dead in a German attack on the Ijser Canal near Ypres in April 1916; they lost 128 dead at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette in September 1916; 24 men died in the Battle of Morval also in September 1916; 17 men fell in the Battle of Transloy Ridges in October 1916 and 21 men gave their lives in the Battle of Cambrai last November and December.

Today it has been announced that the Battalion is to be disbanded. The Battalion received a communication from Lieutenant-Colonel P Hudson, acting adjutant and quarter master general of 6th Division this morning as follows: “In forwarding the attached correspondence, the Major-General Commanding regrets that is has been found necessary to break up the 8th Bedfordshire Regiment, and he wishes to express to the Officers, N.C.Os. and men his high appreciation of the services rendered by the Battalion during the time it has been with the Division”.

“The splendid gallantry with which it has fought and the loyalty with which it has served has been in keeping with the highest traditions of the British Army”. The brigadier, H T Walker, added: “After serving with the 8th Bedfordshire Regiment for 26 months the other units of the Brigade will sadly miss the Battalion. Its conduct in action and in the line has taught them to have every confidence in it. The Battalion did practically all its fighting in the 16th Infantry Brigade and it leaves a record of which the Brigade is proud”.

With the strength of the army being reduced by about a quarter it remains to be seen how many other battalions the Regiment will lose over the next little while.

Source: X550/9/1

Sunday 28 January 2018

Reconnoitring a New Front

Monday 28th January 1918

The adjutant of 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has wired to say that the commanding officer, company commanders and he himself have been in the front line on the River Piave, reconnoitring where there positions will be. The river is quite broad and has a generous floodplain on either bank. This made it an obstacle formidable enough to see the end of the Austrian advance after their victory at Caporetto last year.

Source: X550/2/5

Saturday 27 January 2018

New Country

Sunday 27th January 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has marched to Chauny today, a small town ten miles or so south of Saint-Quentin, and east of the city of Noyon which they reached just after dark this evening. This area is all new to much of the British Army, being part of the line newly taken over from the French, though the country is the same flat, open scenery with occasional low hills familiar enough to anyone who has spent long enough in Flanders or Picardy. Of the Bedfordshire Regiment, only old sweats of the 1st Battalion would remember this area as it is where they fought in autumn 1914.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 27th January 1918

Died of Wounds

8th Battalion
  • 4/7349 Corporal George Herbert NEGUS, son of James and Mary Negus; husband of Constance Mary of Mill Cottage, Offley [Hertfordshire] (Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension)

Friday 26 January 2018


Saturday 26th January 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has been inspected by its brigade commander today at Beaulieu-les-Fontaines. 4th Battalion has undergone a similar inspection at Beaulencourt. Meanwhile 7th Battalion has gone back into the front line at Houthulst Forest north of Ypres, relieving the 11th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.

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

Thursday 25 January 2018

Field Punishment Number One

Friday 25th January 1918

The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has reached Villorba in its march towards the front line on the River Piave. The adjutant of 7th Bedfords has mentioned that one of its ranks, 26680 Private S Dealey of D Company has been sentenced to fourteen days Field Punishment Number One for being absent without leave - he overstayed his leave from 22nd December to 1st January.

Field Punishment Number One involves tying the man in a standing position to a fixed object such as a wagon or gun carriage for up to two hours per day(1). This is designed primarily to give rise to feelings of shame in the man concerned. He also loses pay and is subject to hard labour for the duration of his punishment.

Source: X550/2/5;

(1) The late Richard Holmes in his 2004 book Tommy stated that the punishment was handed down 60,210 times during the war. 

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Still Flat

Thursday 24th January 1918

The 1st Battalion has been marching today to Paese, a small town west of Treviso. The adjutant mentioned in his wire that the countryside is still as flat as Flanders.

The adjutant of the 8th Battalion, at Lebucquière, east of Bapaume spoke to me on the blower this evening. There has been a commanding officers conference as regards the defence scheme for the area. Company commanders had a parade for training from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Nine officers and four hundred other ranks are still being found for work burying signals cables.  

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/9/1

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Flat Country

Wednesday 23rd January 1918

In Italy the 1st Battalion is on the move north to the front line. Today they marched to the village of Settimo where they have billeted for the night. The adjutant remarked in the cable he sent this evening that the country round Settimo is as flat as that around Loos.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 23rd January 1918

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 41487 Private Sidney George MANSFIELD, 19, son of Charles and Emily Mansfield of 31 George Street, Chesterton [Cambridgeshire] (Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord)

Bedfordshire Yeomanry
  • 30809 Private Arthur FRANCIS, born Bedford, Saint Paul, son of Emily Francis of 5 Duncan Road, Queen's Park, Bedford (Tincourt New British Cemetery)

Monday 22 January 2018

England v France

Tuesday 22nd January 1918

The 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is currently in billets at Beaulieu-les-Fontaines, south-east of Roye and south-west of Saint-Quentin. The adjutant informed me this evening that during the day they played 106th French Heavy Regiment of Artillery at football, winning by seven goals to two.

The 7th Battalion has also been playing football, in their case against 12th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. The team is as follows: Private Bidmead, Lance Corporal Sewell, Private Tingey, Sergeant Mears, Corporal Machin, Corporal Spring, Sergeant Reed, Second Lieutenant Donovan, Corporal Butler, Drummer Clarke and Drummer Skipper. Reserves were Private B Worrell and Sergeant Chapman, both backs, and forward Private Pudney.

To more serious matters - 8th Battalion are currently at Lebucquière, east of Bapaume. During the day officers reconnoitred assembly positions north and south of the Cambrai Road, which the battalion is to form up on in case of enemy attack. Nine officers and four hundred other ranks are being furnished by the Battalion to bury cables under direction of 6th Divisional Signals.

Sources: X550/3/wd; X550/8/1; X550/9/1

Roll of Honour - 22nd January 1918

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: Maida Camp finding working parties
  • 204284 Acting Corporal Lawrence Alfred SMITH, 23, son of Frederick and Jane Smith of 93 Mandeville Road, Enfield Wash [Middlesex], resided Bow [London], formerly of K Division, Metropolitan Police (Dickebusch New Military Cemetery Extension)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • Second Lieutenant George Wilmot CHILDS, 35, son of G W C and Agnes V Childs of Ilford [Essex] (Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt)


7th Battalion
  • 19823 Private William MERRYWEATHER, 39, son of John and Ann Merryweather of London Road, Sandy (Dozinghem Military Cemetery)

Sunday 21 January 2018

The Army to be Reduced in Strength

Monday 21st January 1918

8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has been in the vicinity of Bailleulmont, south-west of Arras. Yesterday it moved south-east to Courcelles-le-Comte via Bailleulval, Basseux, Ransart, Adinfer and Ayette. The billets taken over were in a good condition. The adjutant merntioned that the marching of the Battalion was good throughout.

Today the Battalion moved out of Courcelles and marched south-east to Lebucquière via Achiet-le-Grand, Bihucourt, Bapaume and Fremicourt. The battalion marched by companies at intervals of 100 yards. Transport moved in the rear of Battalion in two portions. The marching, again, was good throughout and very few men fell out.

Yesterday Field Marshal Haig, commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force wrote to General Byng commanding 1st Army, as follows: “The situation with regard to man-power has rendered it impossible to maintain all the units now in the field, and in consequence the Army Council have issued orders that a large number of battalions must be broken up. I wish, through you, to convey to the Commanders and all ranks of the battalions about to be disbanded my great regret that this step should have been found necessary”.

“I know how deeply officers and men will feel the severance of the ties binding them to the units in which they have served and fought with such splendid gallantry and success and with which they had hoped eventually to return home after the great struggles had been won and their task achieved. But I know also that since this reorganisation has to be it will be accepted with the loyalty and devotion with which every trial has been met by British officers and men throughout the war”.

“Please convey to the officers and other ranks concerned, with my deep appreciation of their services in the past, my confidence that they will accept this disappointment in the right spirit and will give to the new units to which they are transferred the same devotion and espirit-de-corps that they gave to those they have been with until now”.

If this situation applies to 1st Army it will obviously apply to the other four armies on the Western Front, too. Given that it seems likely that some of the battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment may be disbanded in the weeks and months to come(1)

Source: X550/9/1

(1) Each of the three service battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment, 6th, 7th and 8th would be disbanded between February and May. The lack of manpower was due, in large part, to a political decision to withhold younger men from being sent as reinforcements to France. This was due to the high casualty rate in battles such as the Somme and Third Ypres and the belief in certain parts of the government that the generals were profligate with the lives of their men. It resulted in brigades being reduced from four to three battalions and divisions from twelve to nine. Despite losing a quarter of their strength the BEF was told by the same government that it had to take over an increased frontage by replacing French divisions south of the River Somme down to Saint-Quentin. This front was thus held too thinly to stop the great German offensive which would begin on 21st March.

Roll of Honour - 21st January 1918


2nd Battalion
  • 8118 Private H C FORDER, son of H C Forder of 31 North Road, Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Stevenage (Saint Nicholas) Churchyard

Saturday 20 January 2018

More Battalion Orders

Sunday 20th January 1918

Another set of battalion orders, for today, has been sent to me by Captain Seys-Phillips of the 7th Bedfords.

1. DUTIES: Battalion Orderly Officer Lieutenant G D Leys, D Company.

2. REVEILLE: Reveille 8 a.m.
Breakfast 8.30 a.m.

3. CHURCH PARADE CHURCH OF ENGLAND: Service 10.30 a.m. Minimum number to attend 25 per company. Holy Communion after Service.
Dress: - Belt and Bayonet.
Place: - To be notified later.

4. DECREASES: Lieutenant-Colonel G P Mills, DSO, having been retained in England for employment with the Ministry of Munitions is struck off strength from 23/12/17. (Authority Adjutant General., General Headquarters., Number A.G./2158/559 (O). 18th Division 106/165 "A" and 54th Infantry Brigade Number A/218/5).
No.37813, Corporal Machin, G E, A Company, having been accepted as a candidate for a temporary commission is struck off strength from 23/1/18. (Authority"Sent to England under the terms of M.S.letter No.516/8471 d/6:12:16")

The undermentioned having been evacuated on dates stated are struck off strength accordingly.
40496 Private Abel, W, A Company 14/1/18.
39774, Private Carter, J, C Company 16/1/18.

5. CORRECTION Ref.Battalion Order Number 5.D/18:1:18, paragraph 2 delete No.41353 Private Stott, R, A Company.

6. CASUALTY: The Commanding Officer regrets to announce the undermentioned casualty.
41353, Private Stott, R, A Company, Wounded in Action 12/1/18.

(Signed) H. SEYS-PHILLIPS, Captain and Acting Adjutant,
7th (Service) Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment


Morning Service 11 a.m. followed by Holy Communion.
Evening Service 5 p.m.
The above will be held in Cinema Hall

MASS in Saint-Sixte Convent 10 a.m.


CASUALTIES: The Commanding Officer regrets to announce the following casualties.

41567 Private Pollard, A, B Company 15/1/18(1)

16761 Lance Corporal Brown, A, C Company 13/1/18
41535 Private Loveridge, L, C Company 13/1/18
40673 Private Aldridge, T, D Company 18/1/18
29327 Private Mapley, J, D Company 18/1/18
41594 Private Masters, J, D Company 18/1/18
29832 Private Cakebread, J, D Company 18/1/18 still at duty(2)
40729 Private Henny, J, D Company 18/1/18 still at duty

(Signed) H. Seys-Phillips, Captain and Acting Adjutant.
7th (S) Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment

Source: X550/8/1

(1) Angelo Pollard, from Westcliff-on-Sea [Essex] has no known grave, being commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial

(2) Private J Cakebread MM would be killed with 2nd Battalion on 4th November and be buried at Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery, Montay

Roll of Honour - 20th January 1918

Died of Wounds

8th Battalion
  • 32031 Private John Friend DE GRUCHY, 20, ex-21680 Middlesex Regiment, born Hastings [Sussex], resided Bermondsey [London], son of John and Emily de Gruchy (Manchester Southern Cemetery)

1st Battalion
  • 41085 Private John GILBERT, 19, ex-37560 Leicestershire Regiment, born Great Bowden [Leicestershire], son of John and Letitia Gilbert of Lorne House, Fairfield Road, Market Harborough [Leicestershire] (Mazargues War Cemetery, Marseilles)

Friday 19 January 2018

An Example of Daily Orders

Saturday 19th January 1918

The adjutant of 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, Captain H Seys-Phillips, has sent me a copy of yesterday’s daily orders, thinking that it might be of interest to readers to see the sort of thing involved in administering a battalion on active service. I attach it below, with the difference that abbreviations (for example Lance Corporal for L/Cpl) have been rendered in full

1. DUTIES: Battalion Orderly Officer Second Lieutenant H W Haward, D Company.

2. INCREASES: Second Lieutenant Ernest James Scott, embarked 31/12/17, joined Battalion for duty 11/1/18, is taken on strength accordingly. The undermentioned having joined the Battalion on dates stated are taken on strength and posted to companies as under.

Joined 9/1/18
23591 Lance Corporal Brunt, W, D Company
43153 Private Stott, R, A Company
12730 Private Cooper, F, C Company

Joined 11/1/18
271066 Lance Corporal Brown, F, A Company
33643 Private Judge, W, D Company
21842 Private Stratford, H, D Company

Rejoined 11/1/18
21546 Private Bawden, R, A Company
6936 Private G Waldock, B Company
31404 Private Shortland, W, B Company
33769 Private Shailer, S, C Company(1)
13416 Private Crossman, A, C Company
23639 Private Richardson, P, D Company

3. CASUALTIES DECREASES: The Commanding Officer regrets to announce the following casualty.

43355 Lance Corporal Spinks, C, B Company, 11/1/18(2)

17010 Private Ferris, A, C Company, accidentally wounded 13/1/18(3)
41357 Private Hemsley, E, C Company, wounded (self-inflicted) 12/1/18

The undermentioned  having been evacuated on dates stated are struck off strength accordingly
16201 Private Tyler, B, A Company 6/1/18
12860 Private Goss, W, A Company  8/1/18
31069 Private Burnham, H, A Company 12/1/18
43153 Private Stott, R, A Company 13/1/18.

4. NEW YEAR'S HONOURS: His Majesty the KING has been pleased to award the undermentioned Officers the following Decoration in recognition of their valuable Services rendered with the armies in the field during the present war
Temporary Lieutenant E W Benson (attached.Signal Company)
Temporary Second Lieutenant C A Lawrence(4)
(Authoity: Divisional Routine Order No.367 d/9:1:18)

5. PROMOTION: Temporary Lieutenant C A Lawrence is hereby authorised to wear the Badges of the higher rank of Captain pending confirmation by superior authority. (Authority: 18th Division Number 19.353 "A" dated 10/1/18. 54th Infantry Brigade Number A/273/3 dated 12/1/18).

6. LEAVE: The undermentioned have been granted leave as per dates specified below.
20030 Cpl Ely, R, A Company
15156 Lance Corporal Swain, H, B Company
31338 Private Phillips, A, B Company(5)
30930 Private Sains, A, B Company
7876 Private Cooper, A, D Company

17234 Lance Corporal Abrams, T, C Company
15130 Lance Corporal Sturgeon, H, B Company
14535 Private Haines, G, B Company
37079 Drummer Field, A, B Company

23070 Lance Corporal Weeks, R, B Company
26470 Private Collins, W., B Company(6)

202387 Private Cross, A, A Company(7)
200339 Private Wordley, W, A Company
14237 Private Favell, J, B Company

23648 Private Walker, J, A Company
43306 Private Hudson, G (attached Trench Mortar Battery)

7. HOT COCOA BAR: (Extract D.R.O. Number 306 dated 8/1/18)
A Bar for the sale of hot cocoa and biscuits has been erected at the Divisional Baths ELVERDINGE CHATEAU. Cocoa will be on sale to all men after they have bathed.
(Extract D.R.O. No.368 dated 11/1/18)
Owing to the continual pilfering of enamelled mugs Officers.Commanding Units are requested to instruct all bathing parties who wish to purchase cocoa to bring canteens with them.
(18th Division Number /286 "Q")

Source: X550/8/1

(1) Private S T Shailer, from Hertfordshire, would die on 2nd October as a prisoner-of-war and is buried in Berlin South-Western Cemetery
(2) He is buried in Artillery Wood Cemetery, north of Ypres
(3) Albert Ferris would be killed in action on 18 September and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial
(4) Captain Charles Alfred Lawrence MC would be killed in action at Cachy on 24th April and he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial
(5) Lance Corporal Arthur Phillips would also be killed at Cachy and be commemorated on the Pozieres Memoria
(6) Private Collins, from Northampton, would die on 23rd October and is buried in le Cateau Military Cemetery
(7) Albert Cross would also be killed at Cachy on 24th April and be commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial

Roll of Honour - 19th January 1918

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 17488 Private George DIGBY Debden [Essex] (Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt)

Thursday 18 January 2018

The Making of Modern Italy

Friday 18th January 1918

The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is in northern Italy, ready to help the beleaguered Italians in their fight against the Austrians and their German allies. The conditions here will be very different to Flanders; so too, is the culture and the history. To help inform the officers and men of the nation in which they find themselves Major C S Gordon, Chaplain to the Forces, is giving a lecture this evening on The Making of Modern Italy.

The 2nd Battalion has been at Vauvillers, south of Albert and the River Somme. Today they marched twelve miles south to a village called Warsy. Meanwhile the 4th Battalion have been relieved in the front line by the Nelson Battalion and have marched to billets in Metz-en-Couture. During the relief Second Lieutenant G W Childs was severely wounded(1).

Sources: X550/2/5

(1) He died on 22nd January and is buried at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt.

Roll of Honour - 18th January 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: relieved from the front line at Villers-Plouich
  • 43523 Private George HOPKINS, 31, ex-23271 Somerset Light Infantry, son of Stephen Henry and Sarah Ann Hopkins of Wilderness Row, Pewsey [Wiltshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 27139 Private Bertie Charles MEDLER, 27, son of W and Emily Medler of Aylmerton [Norfolk] resided West Runton [Norfolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 39261 Private John William MORGAN ex-7745 Army Pay Corps, born Clapton [London], son of William and Elizabeth Morgan of 3 Kelvin Grove, Sydenham [London] (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

Bedfordshire Yeomanry
  • 30560 Private Charles Alfred BLAND, 23, son of J Bland of Rabanna Terrace, Clapham (Tincourt New British Cemetery)


13th (Transport Worker) Battalion
  • 36200 Private William James KEELING, 41, born Regent’s Park [London], husband of M E Keeling of 6 Truro Road, Wood Green [Middlesex] (Manchester Southern Cemetery)

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Commanding Officer Again

Lieutenant-Colonel Poyntz [X550/1/82]

Thursday 17th January 1918

Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Stainton Poyntz has rejoined 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. He went sick on 8th April last year, the day before the Battalion took part in the first day of the battle of Arras. He resumes his role as commanding officer in lieu of Lieutenant-Colonel E I de S Thorpe who has left to command the 1st Battalion in Italy. 51 other ranks also joined the battalion at Vauvillers today.

The 7th Battalion are in the front line at Houthulst where it is cold, with showers of snow. There is much water again in front line posts, which has to be constantly baled out. A considerable number of duck boards have been carried up and put into these floded posts in the hope that by raising the floor it may help keep the men’s feet dry.

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

Roll of Honour - 17th January 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: front line near Villers-Plouich
  • 23602 Acting Sergeant Francis John PALMER born London, resided Maulden (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

1st/5th Battalion
  • 201353 Private Arthur RICHARDSON, born Clophill, resided Willian [Hertfordshire] (Ramleh War Cemetery)

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Mini Battalion Round-Up

Lieutenant-Colonel E I de S Thorpe [X550/1/82]

Wednesday 16th January 1916

The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are still training in northern Italy, preparing to man trenches on the front-line against the Austrians on the River Piave. The conditions at the front are likely to be very different from Belgium and northern France and a prolonged period of acclimatisation is very important. Company Sergeant Major E Johnson MM has been promoted to second lieutenant and posted to the Battalion.

Lieutenant-Colonel E I de S Thorpe only joined 2nd Battalion at the end of last year but already he has been transferred. He is going on a short leave before proceeding to Italy to take command of the 1st Bedfords.

The 4th Battalion have gone back into the front line. They have relieved the 1st/4th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.

The 6th Battalion is also training at Sercus, south-west of Hazebrouck. Today one of those things which happens in war or peace alike took place - a drummer was killed by a collapsing barn falling on top of him. Such an event would be a tragedy for the family of the man concerned at any time but in war, with slaughter of man by man all around, such an accident seems even more poignant.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd; X550/5/3; X550/7/1

Roll of Honour - 16th January 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: front line near Villers-Plouich
  • 43522 Private Harry GARDNER, 41, ex-242380 East Surrey Regiment born Keighley [Yorkshire], husband of Sarah Ellen of 17 Derby Street, Middlesborough [Yorkshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 40650 Private Ralph Joseph NEWSTEAD, 31, ex-45222 Suffolk Regiment, born Mile End [London], husband of Jessie Elizabeth of 2 Primrose Villas, Beehive Lane, Ilford [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 40591 Private Frederick John HILLING, 32, ex-25673 Northamptonshire Regiment, attached 190th Trench Mortar Battery, born Hautbois [Norfolk], son of Edward and Mary Ann Hilling; resided East Ruston [Norfolk]; husband of Florence of Brampton [Norfolk] (Mont Huon Military Cemetery, le Treport)
  • 37050 Private George Arthur WIGGINS, born Stoke Newington [London], resided Hoddesdon [Hertfordshire] (Mont Huon Military Cemetery, le Treport)

Bedfordshire Yeomanry
  • 30605 Private Arthur Wilfred SABEY resided Henlow (Tincourt New British Cemetery)


6th Battalion
  • 15049 Private Benjamin Herbert WOODS, 28, born High Wych [Hertfordshire], son of Jane Woods of Gilston [Hertfordshire] (le Grand Hasard Military Cemetery, Morbecque)

Monday 15 January 2018

The Yeomanry

Tuesday 15th January 1918

Early this morning 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, relieved 11th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers in the front line at Houthulst Forest north of Ypres. The night was cold and frosty and the relief was carried out without incident. After this there has been rain all day and the positions, really just a group of shell holes, has become very wet

We have not heard from the Bedfordshire Yeomanry in many months. It turns out that they are currently at a work camp at Mesnil-Bruntel, just south-east of Péronne. They were severely shelled today, resulting in three other ranks being killed, four dying of wounds and twelve more being wounded, in addition to one officer, Second Lieutenant Andrew.

Roll of Honour - 15th January 1918

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: relieved another unit in the Houthulst Forest Sector front line
  • 41567 Lance Corporal Angelo Fry POLLARD, 19, born Ashford [Kent], son of Angelo and Sophia Pollard of 33 Salisbury Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea [Essex] (Tyne Cot Memorial)

Bedfordshire Yeomanry
  • 30795 Private Archie RICHARDSON, born and resided Bedford, Saint Peter de Merton (Vadencourt British Cemetery, Maissemy)
  • 30387 Private Cyril Osborne SMITH, 20, A Squadron, son of Frederick William and Annie Elizabeth Smith of 3 Salisbury Road, Luton (Vadencourt British Cemetery, Maissemy)
  • 32077 Private Harry Ernest WARREN resided Bristol (Vadencourt British Cemetery, Maissemy)


4th Battalion
  • 41223 Lance Corporal Sidney Arthur FISH, 26, ex-291043 Suffolk Regiment, son of William and Sarah Fish of 70 Silver Street, Norwich [Norfolk] (Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt)

1st Garrison Battalion
  • 24822 Lance Corporal Frederick William HANBERGER ex-20922 Middlesex Regiment, born Clerkenwell [London], resided Lower Edmonton [Middlesex] (Delhi War Cemetery)

Bedfordshire Yeomanry
  • 30263 Private Joseph Henry NEWMAN, 27, son of Elizabeth and late Thomas Henry Newman of Leicester (Saint-Pierre Cemetery, Amiens)

Sunday 14 January 2018

2nd Battalion on the Move Again

Monday 14th January 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment did not linger long on Wiencourt. Today they marched further east to a village called Vauvillers. They seem to be heading towards the front line at Saint-Quentin.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 14th January 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: counter-attack area near Villers-Plouich
  • 40272 Private Herbert HOLMAN, ex-5307 Norfolk Regiment, born and resided Cley-next-the-Sea [Norfolk] (Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, Villers-Plouich)

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 3/7165 Private Percy WHITTAKER, 22, son of Arthur and late Emily Whittaker of Deepcar [Yorkshire] (Wimereux Communal Cemetery)


53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
  • TR/9/44975 Private Frederick Charles NEWBY, 18, son of George David and Emma Newby of 17 Osborne Road, Wisbech [Cambridgeshire] (Wisbech (Mount Pleasant) Cemetery)

Saturday 13 January 2018

Avoidance of Trench Foot

Trench Foot

Sunday 13th January 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment have today marched from Hailles to Wiencourt, south-east of Villers-Bretonneux, Battalion Headquarters being in Rue Verte.

7th Battalion are at Baboon Camp north of Ypres. Today has been devoted to washing and rubbing feet to avoid the terrible effects of Trench Foot.

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

Friday 12 January 2018

Barbed Wire

Saturday 12th January 1918

Over the next two nights 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are going to be busy, laying barbed wire across the frontage of their brigade (54th Brigade), east of Sint-Janshoek, which is north-west of Langemark.

The Wiring Party will be found by C Company and will consist of 3 Officers 8 Non-Commissioned Officers and 72 men. This party will be sub-divided into 4 platoons, each platoon consisting of two squads of one N.C.O. and nine men each. The whole party will be under the command of Second Lieutenant N C E Cockburn.Each squad will put up 100 yards of Double Apron wire. Work will commence at 9.30 p.m. and will be carried on until completed. As soon as the work has been passed as satisfactory by an Officer of the 92nd Company, Royal Engineers, each platoon will return to Baboon Camp.

A covering party will be found by A Company under Second Lieutenant W Carter. Stretcher bearers on the scale of one per platoon will be taken by both wiring and covering parties. If the enemy attacks, the covering party are under orders tol hold to their ground at all costs and under no circumstances are they to withdraw. The wiring party are to lie down directly fire is opened and await orders from their platoon commander.

8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment have marched to Bailleulval today for a ceremony at which the commanding officer of 6th Division, Major-General Thomas Marden presented Military Medals for the Battle of Cambrai to: Company Sergeant Major P Walker of A Company; Lance Corporal A J Mills of A Company and Sergeant R Freer of D Company.

Source: X550/8/1; X550/9/1

Roll of Honour - 12th January 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: trenches near Villers-Plouich
  • 33874 Private John RAYNER, born Barton Bendish [Norfolk], resided Leighton Buzzard (Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, Villers-Plouich)


1st/5th Battalion
  • 200233 Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant Edward SCOTT, born and resided Luton (Jerusalem War Cemetery)

Thursday 11 January 2018

2nd Bedfords on the Move

Friday 11th January 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment have been on the move today. Today they left the Wardrecques area, moving south to the area of the Fifth Army. They entrained at Steenbecque and left the train at Longueau, three miles south-east of Amiens. They will get on another train tomorrow and proceed a few miles, we understand, to a place called Hailles.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 11th January 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: trenches near Villers-Plouich
  • 14487 Private Henry Victor JAMES, born Redcliffe [Bristol], resided Bristol (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 10454 Corporal Harry NEALE, 20, son of Mary Eliza Neale of 6 Vale Road, Bushey [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 41205 Private Harold Arnold PORRETT, ex-S/295365 Army Service Corps, born Hingham [Norfolk], resided Fallowfield [Lancashire] (Thiepval Memorial)

7th Battalion: Baboon Camp, carrying wiring material from Korkuit Dump to Aden House
  • 43335 Lance Corporal Charles SPINKS, 22, resided Tring [Hertfordshire], brother of Mrs F Charlton of 28 Cullercoates Street, Byker [Northumberland] (Artillery Wood Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 3/7876 Lance Corporal Frederick WEEDON, 35, D Company, born Saint Albans [Hertfordshire], husband of Florence of 8 Chater's Yard High Street, Watford [Hertfordshire](Bois-Guillaume Communal Cemetery Extension)


53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
  • TR/9/44659 Private Jonathan Rowland CLOUTING, 18,son of Eliza Ann and late W E Clouting of 1 Bawdsey [Suffolk] (Bawdsey (Saint Mary) Churchyard)