Wednesday 28 February 2018

Changes in Command

Major Wynne [X550/1/81]

Thursday 28th February 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are still in the front line near Saint-Quentin. Their commanding officer is away in temporary command of their brigade so their new temporary commander is Major Reggie Wynne.

Captain Kingdon [X550/1/82]

7th Battalion, similarly, has a new temporary commander and for the same reason. Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Percival is acting as temporary commander of 54th Brigade and Captain Oliver Kingdon has taken over command of the Battalion as they move to Rouez, close to the front line and not far from the 2nd Battalion.

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

Roll of Honour - 28th February 1918

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: Menin Road trenches
  • 17164 Private James Wilfred MYERS, born Woodford [Northamptonshire], resided Tilbrook [Huntingdonshire] (Hooge Crater Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 12427 Private Horace Arthur CLARK(E), 28,son of James and Emma Clark(e) of 46 Saint Saviour’s Crescent, Luton (Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery)

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Cavalry at the Plough

Wednesday 27th February 1918

The Bedfordshire Yeomanry are at Mesnil-Bruntel on the east bank of the River Somme directly west of Saint-Quentin. For the last few days they have been engaged, not in the dashing training of the cavalryman, but the vital, if unglamorous work of the farmer. They have hitched their horses to ploughs and have been ploughing in seed for potatoes and other vegetables with which to feed the army.

Source: WW1/2WD

Monday 26 February 2018

6th Battalion Back in the Line

Tuesday 26th February 1918

6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has returned to the front line astride the Menin Road, east of Ypres, scene of so much bitter fighting over the last forty months or so.

Source: X550/7/1

Sunday 25 February 2018


Monday 25th February 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has a fine history in this war, of answering the call and making any attack demanded of it. It was a regular battalion before the war, its ranks filled with professional soldiers. By the adjutant’s reckoning the Battalion has had 947 officers and men who have become fatalities since war broke out. Nominal full strength for a battalion is 1,007 so nearly a full battalion of men has died, meaning the number of pre-war professionals now serving with the Battalion is quite small.

The adjutant reports today that a man is on a charge for receiving a self-inflicted wound. The incidence of this seems to be on the rise as the 7th Battalion has also had one this month. A man will shoot himself in some non-fatal place such as the foot, leg, arm or hand in hopes of being sent away from the fighting. The state of a man’s mind who chooses to mutilate himself and risk death through blood-loss rather than continue his daily round can only be imagined. Today is the 1,301st of the war.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 25th February 1918


Unknown Battalion
  • TR9/8073 Private Charlie GOOSEMAN, 21, attached 27th Training Reserve Battalion, son of G W Gooseman of Coffle End, Sharnbrook (Sharnbrook (Saint Peter) Churchyard)

Saturday 24 February 2018

4th Battalion in Support

Sunday 24th February 1918

4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is to return to the support line near Ribecourt on the old Cambrai battlefield. It will relieve 7th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers

Source: X550/5/3

Friday 23 February 2018

A New Officer

Lieutenant Haywood [X550/1/81]

Saturday 23rd February 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, in the line near Saint-Quentin has received a reinforcement today. Lieutenant C Haywood has joined the battalion from the disbanded 8th Battalion.

Source: X550/3/wd

Thursday 22 February 2018

2nd Bedfords in the Front Line

Friday 22nd February 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is, as I write these lines, moving into the front line near the village of Francilly-Selency, just west of Saint-Quentin. They will occupy the line shown in orange on the map above. B Company will be on the right, D Company in the left, minus one platoon which will be in Francilly. A Company will be counter-attack company on Manchester Hill and C Company will be in reserve in a redoubt on the same hill. Headquarters is in Brown Quarry, shown by the orange cross.

The British Army on the Western Front is in the process of becoming smaller, with the number of battalions in a division reduced from twelve to nine or, to put it another way, a division at full dtrength is being decreased from around 12,000 rifles to 9,000. At the same time the army is taking over about 45 miles of extra front to accommodate our French allies who are also much weakened. Thus the Battalion is stretched rather thin as it has to cover a larger area with two companies (400 men or so) than has been the practice hitherto.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 22nd February 1918

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 15683 Private William BRADBURY, 22, born Lidlington, resided Chiswick [Middlesex], brother of T L Bradbury of 51 Eastbury Grove, Chiswick (Roquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt)

Wednesday 21 February 2018

2nd Battalion Nearing the Front Line

Colonel Poyntz [X550/1/82]

Thursday 21st February 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has marched today from Aubigny-aux-Kaisnes to dug-outs in Savy. These are about two miles west of Saint-Quentin. Their commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel H S Poyntz has taken over temporary command of 90th Brigade as Brigadier G A Stevens is on leave.

Sources: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 21st February 1918


3rd Garrison Battalion
  • 35076 Private William Justice JONES, 35, ex-80215 Royal Field Artillery, born Whittle-le-Woods [Lancashire], husband of Elizabeth of 22 Black Stone Road, Chorley [Lancashire] (Jhansi Cantonment Cemetery)

Tuesday 20 February 2018

More Moves

Wednesday 20th February 1918

Today 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment moved from billets at Moyencourt, to Aubigny-aux-Kaisnes, to the north-east of Ham, and across the River Somme.

Meanwhile 4th Battalion have been relieved in the front line near Ribecourt. They have proceeded to billets in West Wood Camp.

Source: X550/3/wd; X550/5/3

Roll of Honour - 20th February 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: relieved from the counter-attack area near Ribecourt-la-Tour
  • 22741 Lance Corporal Frederick ROOM, born Dunstable, resided Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)


1st Garrison Battalion
·        24853 Private Richard Ernest MOORE, 26, ex-20966 Middlesex Regiment, born Saint Albans [Hertfordshire], son of late James Richard and Mary Moore of 14 Babington Road, Hendon [Middlesex] (Delhi War Cemetery)

Monday 19 February 2018

Night Bombing

Tuesday 19th February 1918

1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is now in billets at Visnadello after their first spell in the front line on the River Piave. Today they have been cleaning up, changing clothing and equipment. The adjutant noted in his wire that last night enemy aircraft bombed in the vicinity of the village, so even well behind the line they are liable to suffer attack.

Source: X550/2/5

Sunday 18 February 2018

1st Battalion Relieved

Monday 18th February 1918

1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has completed its first spell in the front line in northern Italy. It has been at Bidasio on the southern bank of the River Piave. As I write these lines they are being relieved by the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment and will be marching back to the town of Visnadello. The adjutant remarked, in his wire, that enemy aircraft have been very active at night.

Source: X550/2/5

Saturday 17 February 2018

Quickly Killed

Sunday 17th February 1918

Second Lieutenant E C Webb was, until ten days ago, a member of 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. He was then transferred to 4th Battalion and has now been killed. 4th Battalion is currently in the counter-attack area at Ribecourt on the old Cambrai battlefield.

Source: X550/5/3

Roll of Honour - 17th February 1918

Killed in Action

8th Battalion

  • Second Lieutenant Ernest Charles WEBB, 25, attached 4th Battalion, son of Charles and Caroline Webb, born in London (Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt)

Friday 16 February 2018

The End

Saturday16th February 1918

6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment have gone back into the front line near Ypres, headquarters being at Stirling Castle. All details of the 8th Battalion have today been posted to 5th Entrenching Battalion, with the exception of warrant officers and company quartermaster sergeants.  The Orderly Room has closed and this marks the final disbandment of the Battalion. The details which were posted to 5th Entrenching Battalion form Number 2 Company with 9th Battalion Suffolk Regiment, formerly of 6th Division and 8th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment formerly of 25th Division. Men from entrenching battalions are used as a source of reinforcements for any unit needing them, so the few remaining Bedfords will probably soon find themselves in another regiment.

Sources: X550/7/1; X550/9/1

Thursday 15 February 2018


Friday 15th February 1918

6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment marched this morning to Ebblinghem  west of Hazebrouck and then bordered a train to Dickebusch. On arrival they marched to Malplaquet Camp.

7th Battalion has moved north-east to Remigny south of Saint-Quentin. While there it will find working parties for the front line as well as undertaking training. This training will consist of rifle and clothing inspections; drill in advancing in extended order; practice by platoon in attacking strong-points

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

Wednesday 14 February 2018


Captain F V Parker [X550/1/81]

Thursday 14th February 1918

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, after the excitement of yesterday’s inspection have been training today. Captain F V Parker has taken command of the Battalion in the absence of Lieutenant-Colonel H S Poyntz who has taken command of 89th Brigade.

Today 7th Battalion moved from Salency a few miles north-east to Caillouël. This is the first step on a journey towards the front line south of Saint-Quentin.

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

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Inspection by the Field Marshal

Sir Douglas Haig

Wednesday 13th February 1918

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force has today inspected 30th Division near Moyencourt. The 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment was part of the parade. Meanwhile the 4th Battalion have moved into the line near Ribecourt on the old Cambrai battlefield, relieving 6th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment of 19th (Western) Division in the counter-attack area.

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

Roll of Honour - 13th February 1918

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
17518 Private Cornelius William YOUNG, 25, son of Walter Cornelius Young of Cranfield, husband of Marjorie of Cranfield (Noyon New British Cemetery)

Monday 12 February 2018

Reinforcements for 6th Battalion

Tuesday 12th February 1918

Lieutenant H W Clark and ten other ranks today joined the 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, having previously served in 8th Battalion. Major G W Courtney has left the Battalion for England.

Source: X550/7/1

Roll of Honour - 12th February 1918

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 203051 Private Albert Henry WAKERELL, 24, son of G H W Wakerell of 2 Riverside Hertford (Noyon New British Cemetery)

Sunday 11 February 2018

Still Fighting Fit

Lieutenant Holbrook [X550/1/81]

Monday 11th February 1918

8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment may no longer exist as a fighting formation but its men are still fighting fit. A small group, referred to as details, are attached to 16th Brigade Headquarters. Today there was a cross-country run for all units in the Brigade and the 8th Bedfords had five men home in the first six - Sergeant Vivian being the winner in a time of fourteen minutes. Meanwhile Second Lieutenant Oakley and ten other ranks were despatched to join 4th Battalion.

7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is at Salency east of Noyon. Today the reinforcements from the disbanded 8th Battalion arrived. One of them was Second Lieutenant Arthur Pratt who died of wounds this evening. He had the misfortune to be posted to C Company and shortly after entering a billet it received a direct hit by bombs from enemy aircraft. Nine other ranks were killed outright, two more have subsequently also died of wounds and six more are wounded.

2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is currently at Moyencourt, south-west of Ham. Lieutenant W J Holbrook has been struck off strength whilst on a six month tour of duty in England. Lieutenant W L Carpenter and six other ranks have joined from 8th Battalion. Today the Battalion was transferred from 89th Brigade to 90th Brigade, replacing 17th Battalion, Manchester Regiment which has transferred to 21st Brigade.

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

Roll of Honour - 11th February 1918

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: Salency, hostile bombing raid
  • 21518 Private Joseph ATTREE, born and resided Rochester [Kent] (Noyon New British Cemetery)
  • 25654 Private Percy COOK, born Waltham Abbey [Essex], resided Loughton [Essex] (Noyon New British Cemetery)
  • 14853 Private James GAYLOR, 33, born and resided Little Berkhamstead [Hertfordshire], son of E Gaylor of Howe Green, Hertford and late G Gaylor (Noyon New British Cemetery)
  • 17292 Private Dennis GREENHILL, 30, C Company, son of George and Sarah Greenhill of King’s Lane, Elmdon [Essex] (Noyon New British Cemetery)
  • 40269 Private Grank Joseph HERRINGTON, ex-5362 Norfolk Regiment, resided Thetford [Norfolk] (Noyon New British Cemetery)
  • 41590 Private Ralph JOHNSON, born Somerton [Suffolk], resided Martham [Norfolk] (Noyon New British Cemetery)
  • 29998 Private George Henry MORRIS, born Blofield [Norfolk], resided North Walsham [Norfolk] (Noyon New British Cemetery)
  • 203282 Private John William SLACK, born Stanground [Huntingdonshire], resided Farcet [Huntingdonshire] (Noyon New British Cemetery)
  • 290833 Private George STINSON, 38, son of Edward and Kate Stinson of Battersea [London], husband of Florence of 77a Penwith Road, Earlsfield [London] (Noyon New British Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 23701 Private Ernest Charles DAY, 24, son of Henry Day of 1 Marriott’s Yard, Ramsey [Huntingdonshire] (Noyon New British Cemetery)
  • Second Lieutenant Arthur PRATT, 21, son of Joseph Robert and Sophia Lydia Pratt (Noyon British Cemetery)

Saturday 10 February 2018

7th Battalion Heads South

Sunday 10th February 1918

7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment marched today from Krombeke north of Poperinge south-west to Proven where they got on a train which has taken them south to Noyon. On arribal a route march has taken them to Salency a few miles east of Noyon. They are to move eventually to the front line near Saint-Quentin, we understand.

Second Lieutenant L E Agar of 2nd Battalion has been struck off the strength of the Battalion and a Medical Board ordered to judge his state of health.

Second Lieutenant Agar [X550/1/81]

Meanwhile the remains of the 8th Battalion have been repairing huts and making trenches around their camp. The adjutant has been undertaking the melancholy task of sorting out the Battalion’s correspondence and preparing to send the records and books back to 16th Brigade Headquarters.

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

Friday 9 February 2018

The Last Men Leave

Saturday 9th February 1918.

The 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment now no longer exists as a fighting force as today another 170 other ranks were despatched to join the 7th Battalion. The officers also joining the 7th Battalion are Captain McBride, Lieutenant Duplock, Second Lieutenant Pratt, Second Lieutenant Hughes, Second Lieutenant Smith and Second Lieutenant Poulter(1)

The details left paraded at 10.30 a.m. and proceeded by march route to Courcelles-Le-Comte via Fremicourt, Bapaume, Bihucourt and Achiet-le-Grand. They arrived in camp about 3 30p.m.and took over billets. The details are under the orders of the Officer Commanding IV Corps Surplus Reinforcements (Lieutenant-Colonel Finch DSO of 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment).

Source: X550/9/1

(1) Lieutenant Arthur Pratt would die two days later and would be buried at Noyon New British Cemetery; Captain Andrew Best McBride was killed at Cachy on 24th April and is buried at Longueau British Cemetery; Lieutenant Marten Cave Duplock was killed on 2nd April, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial

Roll of Honour - 9th February 1918


13th (Transport Worker) Battalion
  • 34511 Private Jonothan DAVIES, 32, husband of Ann of 1 Bittern Road, Liverpool [Lancashire] (Liverpool (Ford) Roman Catholic Cemetery)

Thursday 8 February 2018

Disbandment Continues

Captain Pares [X550/1/81]

Friday 8th February 1918

Today 86 other ranks left the 8th Battalion to join 2nd Battalion. With them went Captain W T Pares NC, Second Lieutenant Whitbourn and Second Lieutenant Maddison. Meanwhile Second Lieutenant Williams and Second Lieutenant Webb took another 118 other ranks to join 6th Battalion.

Source: X550/9/1

Wednesday 7 February 2018

4th Battalion Receives Reinforcements from 8th Battalion

Lieutenant-Colonel Thorpe [X550/1/82]

Thursday 7th February 1918

Lieutenant Colonel E I de S Thorpe DSO has joined 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, in Italy as their commanding officer today. Meanwhile the disbandment of 8th Battalion got underway today as twelve officers and 299 other ranks marched from Lebucquière to Fremicourt whence buses took them to their new home - the 4th Battalion currently at Albuera Camp, Beaulencourt. The officers concerned are: Captain R B Knight; Captain N C F Nixon; Second Lieutenant R Bland; Second Lieutenant J W Bradfield; Second Lieutenant W H T Cottrill; Second Lieutenant R C Cowell; Second Lieutenant P W Everett DCM; Second Lieutenant H L Gudgeon; Second Lieutenant Hawkes MC; Second Lieutenant E Kinkead MC; Second Lieutenant Mallinson; Second Lieutenant Oakley and Second Lieutenant E C Webb(1)

Source: X550/2/5; X550/5/3; X550/9/1

(1) Captain Richard Brodnax Knight would die on 5th September and be buried at Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen; Captain Noel Charles Frederick Nixon would be killed on 24th March and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial; Second Lieutenant Ernest Charles Webb would die on 17th February and be buried at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt; 

Roll of Honour - 7th February 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: support trenches Rotunda Bidasio
  • 15568 Private Bertie Seymore WARWICK, 26, born Bedford, resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire], son of Frederick and Lizzie Warwick of Mill Cottages, Lower Luton Road, Harpenden [Hertfordshire] (Giavera British Cemetery, Arcade)

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Another Belgian Croix de Guerre

Wednesday 6th February 1918

The adjutant of 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment informs me that 9331 Sergeant Percy Compton DCM has been awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre. These foreign decorations are allotted to units to give to the most deserving cases and the sergeant has distinguished himself a number of times(1)

Source: X550/3/wd

(1) He would be killed at Ronssoy, as a Company Sergeant Major, on 21st September and, having no known grave, is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial.

Monday 5 February 2018

8th Battalion Begins to Disband

Tuesday 5th February 1918

Major Allason has taken command of 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment as Lieutenant-Colonel P R Worrall has proceeded to assume command of 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, part of 14th Brigade of 5th Division.

 At Lebucquière near Bapaume the 8th Battalion has begun the mournful process of disbandment. Thirteen officers and four hundred other ranks are to be sent off to reinforce the 4th Battalion. To mark this the officers are holding a farewell dinner this evening. The adjutant noted the absurdity that Second Lieutenant Everett DCM and 36 other ranks joined the battalion during the course of the day from the Brigade Pioneer Company!

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

Sunday 4 February 2018

Repair Work

Monday 4th February 1918

1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment have been carrying out repairs to communication trenches at Bidasio on the River Piave. They work from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. The work is necessitated by the effects of the Austrian artillery. Major W Allason DSO has joined the Battalion during the day, along with Second Lieutenant J C Meade and nineteen other ranks

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 4th February 1918

Died of Wounds

1st/5th Battalion
  • 271510 Private Loftus DAY, 19, son of Henry Goodwin and Caroline Day of 4 Newbury Terrace, Saint Osyth Road, Clacton-on-Sea [Essex] (Kantara War Memorial Cemetery)

Saturday 3 February 2018

First Night at Rotonda Bidasio

Sunday 3rd February 1918

1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are in the front line on the River Piave at a village called Bidasio. Last night they suffered their first casualties as two other ranks were wounded by Austrian light artillery of 77 mm calibre. The night was spent clearing communication trenches.

The adjutant of 8th Battalion, at Lebucquière near Bapaume, tells us that Lieutenant Leonard Dolman has been posthumously awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre; he died of his wounds on the last day of 1917; 20454 Lance Sergeant W Cooper of A Company has been similarly honoured but is still very much alive.

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

Friday 2 February 2018

In the Line in Italy

Saturday  2nd February 1918

The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment will go into the front line in northern Italy for the first time today when thet relieve 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment at Bidasio on the south bank of the River Piave. Headquarters is at a building called the Rotonda. The adjutant described it as “a very superior type of farm with frescoes on the walls(1) and a large pleasure garden. It has suffered to a certain extent from shell fire but is sandbagged up sufficiently to make it safe against anything other than a direct hit”. The front line trenches are in an embankment above the river with the enemy about a thousand yards distant.

Source: X550/2/5

(1) Sadly destroyed later that year

Thursday 1 February 2018

4th Battalion in January

Friday 1st February 1918

The adjutant of the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, currently training at Beaulencourt, south-east of Bapaume, remarked to your correspondent today about the “additions and subtractions” as he called them. During the month of January the battalion has lost sixteen men killed in action and two died of wounds. Two officers and 26 men have been gassed and 39 have been wounded. Reinforcements during the month have exceeded losses at 111 other ranks.

Source: X550/5/3

Roll of Honour - 1st February 1918


5th Battalion
  • 271129 Private Albert MARSH, 19, ex-8089 London Regiment, son of Mrs L Marsh of 30 Saint Ann’s Road, Luton (Luton Church Burial Ground)

Bedfordshire Yeomanry
  • 30858 Private Horace Karl LEANEY, 30, son of Thomas and Eliza Leaney of 4 Chapel Street, Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire], husband of Mary Ann of 25 Tudor Road, Luton (Biscot (Holy Trinity) Churchyard)