Monday 30 April 2018

Creeping Forward

Tuesday 30th April 1918

The composite battalion including 2nd Bedfords moved forward again today to trenches in the vicinity of Dickebusch Huts. Meanwhile 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment has given up a working party of ten officers and four hundred other ranks to work for XVIII Corps at Varesnes. Their quartermaster R J Barry is sick and has been sent to England to recuperate.

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

Roll of Honour - 30th April 1918

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 17979 Private Thomas GRINT, born Finchley [Middlesex], resided Merthyr Tydfil [Glamorgan] (special memorial in Guise (la Desolation) French National Cemetery, Flavigny-le-Petit)

4th Battalion
  • 20084 Corporal Norman James CONQUEST, 19, born Felbridge [Surrey], son of James and Emily Conquest of Keeper Lodge, Renhold (Saint Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen)

Sunday 29 April 2018

More Attacks

Monday 29th April 1918

The composite battalion including 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment moved again this morning, to trenches south of Montreal Camp. They remained in these trenches from four o'clock this morning until about 9.30 when they moved forward by about six hundred yards. 

There has been heavy fighting all day between the Scherpenberg and Ypres. Word is that the enemy has been repulsed everywhere with heavy losses.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 29th April 1918

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 18440 Lance Corporal Harry PEDDER, 21, son of Joseph and Lois Pedder, Trowley Bottom [Hertfordshire] (Aire Communal Cemetery)
2nd Battalion
  • 41350 Private William GRAHAM, born Pimlico [London], resided Birchanger [Essex] (Guise (la Desolation) French National Cemetery, Flavigny-le-Petit)

Saturday 28 April 2018

In Camp

Sunday 28th April 1918

After their trials of the last two days the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, now forming part of a composite battalion with 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, was glad to wake up in Scottish Camp, south-east of Poperinge and behind the lines this morning. About 11.30 it moved forward to Montreal Camp and formed the reserve for 30th Division. A few moments ago the adjutant reported heavy enemy gunfire near Vierstraat.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 28th April 1918

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 41129 Private William John TAYLOR, 40, ex-265789 Suffolk Regiment, born Old Chesterton [Cambridgeshire], son of E C Taylor of 160 Heath Road, Twickenham [Middlesex] (Aire Communal Cemetery)
  • 17284 Private Henry WORRALL, 21, born Whitechapel [London], resided Batford [Hertfordshire], son of Henry and Alice Worrall of Harpenden [Hertfordshire] (Aire Communal Cemetery)

Friday 27 April 2018

Attacks on 1st and 2nd Battalions

Saturday 27th April 1918

Last evening the 2nd Bedfords, now part of a composite battalion, were lining the Yser Canal from Lock 8 to Spoil Bank but had just been outflanked by the enemy crossing Norfolk Bridge near The Bluff. Number 1 Company was forced back and about midnight was ordered to withdraw.

The front line now runs from Zillebeke to Lock 8 on the canal. The composite battalion was able to withdraw successfully behind this line last night with few casualties, though in the fighting 107 men had been wounded. They are now at Scottish Camp, south-east of Poperinge.

The 1st Battalion, west of Estaires, were also attacked today. They were relieved during the day and have withdrawn to a camp in a wood. 

7th Battalion have withdrawn from the line. They marched to Amiens and were then taken by bus to Avesnes-le-Comte west of Arras.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd; X550/8/1

Roll of Honour - 27th April 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: Battles of the Lys: German attack near Merville repelled
  • 20937 Private Harry ANSELL, 21, son of Arthur and Mary A Ansell of Meppershall (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 290398 Private Benjamin Thomas BRADFORD, born Fulham [London], resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 13878 Private Edward BROOKS, 34, born Gorleston-on-Sea [Norfolk], husband of A R S Brooks of High Street, Somersham [Huntingdonshire] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 23127 Private Harry BROWN, born Chelsea [London], resided  Fulham [London] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 8837 Private Henry Walter James CLARKE, 27, ex-M/38559 Army Service Corps, born Islington [London], resided Finsbury Park [Middlesex], son of Arthur James and Annie Clarke of 48 Sparsholt Road, Crouch Hill [London] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • Second Lieutenant Ambrose Ethelstone PEEL, 20, son of Edward Lennox and Amy Peel of 51 Mount Avenue, Ealing [Middlesex], a native of Bedford (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 1438a Sergeant Charles Edwin SANGSTER, born Chatham [Kent], resided Knebworth [Hertfordshire], husband of I K Sangster of Shrub Terrace, Alderton [Suffolk] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 23409 Private Ephraim SPARKS, born  Marston Moretaine, resided Cranfield (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 41155 Private Ralph SOUTHERN, 25, ex-36922 Suffolk Regiment, born Little Hulton [Lancashire], son of Robert and Fanny Southern of Egerton [Lancashire] (Aire Communal Cemetery)
2nd Battalion
  • 270350 Private Joseph SULLY, ex 7223 Somerset Light Infantry, born Ballyshannon [Donegal], resided Southampton [Hampshire] (Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery)
7th Battalion
  • 31381 Private William Theodore PRATT, 19, son of Charles and Alice E Pratt of Wendy [Cambridgeshire] (Longpré-les-Corps-Saints British Cemetery)

2nd Battalion
  • 48279 Private George Albert BANKS, ex-266004 Suffolk Cyclist Battalion, born and resided Seaford [Sussex] (Seaford Cemetery)

Thursday 26 April 2018

Not Again ...

Friday 26th April 1918

The 1st and the 7th Battalion were both in action yesterday, with considerable success. The 7th Battalion held the line they had taken between Villers-Bretonneux and Aubercourt and last night were relieved by a unit of French Colonial troops. They have lost three officers, including two captains, killed and seven wounded. From resources which were already slender 13 other ranks have been killed, 105 wounded and 70 are missing. About 200 prisoners were taken.

The 1st Battalion was also in action in the darkness last night. Their attack, between Merville and Lamotte, west of Estaires, was to advance their line from les Lauriers and capture a farm dubbed Bedford Farm. The attack was undertaken by A Company and one platoon of B Company and got underway at 9.15 following a barrage. Three prisoners and a machine gun were captured. All objectives were taken by 10.35. The officer in charge, Captain Hague, carried out the attack and then made sure that the new line was secure and it was only on his return to headquarters that it was discovered that he was badly wounded in the thigh and he was sent to the dressing station.

If these two battalions have had a lively couple of days one cannot but sympathise with 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. They were roughly handled during the March retreat and are woefully under-strength, indeed, they form part of a composite battalion with 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment. They are presently in positions on the Yser Canal near Ypres. This morning the enemy attacked them in strength just south of the canal. Battalion Headquarters was at Spoil Bank on the north bank but the position was evacuated as the enemy got closer. They have fallen back to, appropriately enough, Bedford House. The front line of the composite battalion is along the canal facing south and stretches from Lock 8 to Spoil Bank. As I write these lines the enemy are reported to have taken The Bluff and to have crossed the canal at Norfolk Bridge. The composite battalion has this been outflanked on its left. The situation here is, thus, critical.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd; X550/8/1

Roll of Honour - 26th April 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: Battles of the Lys: front line near Merville
  • 10677 Private Samuel James BIGG, 30, born Edwardstone [Suffolk], son of Annie Maria Bigg of Eastwick [Hertfordshire] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 13622 Private Percy DOGGETT, 24, son of Daniel and Sarah Doggett of Flaunden [Hertfordshire] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
2nd Battalion: Battles of the Lys: German attack on the canal south of Ypres with capture of The Bluff from the Battalion
  • 19278 Private Herbert George CLEMENTS, 33, son of late Noah and Sarah Ann Clements of Damask Green, Weston [Hertfordshire], husband of Florence May of Damask Green, Weston (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 28038 Private James Robert HOTSON, 21, born Huntingdon, son of John and Charlotte Hotson of Low Road, Little Stukeley [Huntingdonshire] (Tyne Cot Memorial)
4th Battalion: march from Talmas to Toutencourt
  • 41916 Private John LANCASTER, 19, ex-256257 Leicestershire Regiment, son of William and Milly Lancaster of 292 Spon Lane, West Bromwich [Staffordshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 40170 Private Jack Stanley CLARKE, 28, ex-21244 Essex Regiment, son of Henry and Mary Clarke of Colchester [Essex], husband of E E Clarke of 62 South Street, Colchester (Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-sur-Somme)
  • 29756 Private George HARRADINE, 34, C Company, son of Eliza Harradine of Ashwell Station [Hertfordshire] and late William Harradine (Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-sur-Somme)
  • 19104 Private Henry SLADE, 27, son of Samuel and Emily Slade of Hampton [Middlesex] (Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-sur-Somme)

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Action at Cachy

Thursday 25th April 1918

Yesterday the 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment went into action near Cachy. They were to attack the road from Villers-Bretonneux south to Aubercourt to relieve German pressure on Cachy as they made a determined move on Amiens. At 10 o'clock last night, in complete darkness, the battalion moved into the assault and encountered only slight resistance for the first thousand yards or so. C Company was on the right, B Company in the centre and A Company on the left. D Company was in reserve but after those first thousand yards were brought into the line.

The battalion had both flanks in the air and was met with vicious fire from the enemy. 7th Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment was attacking on the battalion's right and the Australians on the left. The men from the Antipodes and from the Medway encountered difficulties and their advance was slower than the Bedfords. We understand that the only officer left alive and unwounded was Second Lieutenant Tysoe(1). He reorganised the line and sent back a stream of accurate reports.

Throughout the day the enemy tried to dislodge the Bedfords from their temporary position. The battalion geld a frontage of about 1,100 yards and the right flank was reinforced by 54th Company, Machine Gun Corps. As I write the battalion is still defiantly in place, blocking the approaches to Amiens.

Meanwhile 1st Battalion is also in action this evening. They are between Merville and Lamotte, west of Estaires and tasked with advancing the line and capturing the remains of a farm which has been dubbed Bedford Farm.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/8/1

(1) He would receive the Distinguished Service Order for his actions in this action.

Roll of Honour - 25th April 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: Battles of the Lys: minor operation near Merville
  • 13082 Private Walter Joy CLEAVER, born Toddington, son of John and Emma of Rising Sun, Harlington  (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension) his brother Sidney Charles was killed with 1st/5th Bedfords on 8th April
2nd Battalion: Battles of the Lys: the canal bank near Ypres, shelling
  • 3/7572 Private Joseph Frank PEACOCK-NEWPORT, 22, son of Charles and Ella Newport of Archway House, Gentleman’s Row, Enfield [Middlesex] (Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery)
  • 240785 Private William Horace SUMMERS, ex-20515 Cheshire Regiment, resided Coseley [Staffordshire] (Tyne Cot Memorial)
Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 40696 Private William BROOKS, 21, ex-38150 Leicestershire Regiment, son of Richard Henry and Mary Ann Brooks of Leicester, husband of Mary Ann of 36 Middle Street, Mill Lane, Leicester (Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-sur-Somme)
  • 30923 Private Frederick Thomas HICKS, 24, foster son of Ann Lungley of Wigborough Road, Peldon [Essex] (Longueau British Cemetery)
  • 17427 Private George PEACOCK, 27, son of Joseph and Elizabeth Peacock of Husborne Crawley, resided Woburn Sands [Buckinghamshire], enlisted October 1914 at Woburn from the Duke of Bedford’s estate (Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-sur-Somme)

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Backs to the Wall at Cachy

Wednesday 24th April 1918

Early this morning those of us in Amiens were awakened by a very heavy bombardment which told us that the Germans were attacking again. 7th Bedfords, with the rest of 54th Brigade was called into action and by 7 a.m. was on its way to the front. We understand they initially drew up just over the River l'Avre but shortly after noon they found new positions on the high ground between Gentelles  and the south-west corner of Bois de l'Abbe, blocking the enemy's approach to Amiens. If this city were to fall the British Expeditionary Force would be in severe trouble as it is a major railhead and there is little to the west to prevent the Germans reaching the coast and, if they reach the coast they will have split the British and French armies. Our forces would, then, in effect, be surrounded through the greater part of a semi-circle from there to Ypres in the north.

At this point the enemy held the eastern edge of Bois de l'Abbe and was fighting for possession of the village of Cachy, north-east of Gentelles. Cachy was being held by two companies of 6th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, companies of the Suffolk and London Regiments and some Royal Engineers. An hour ago the Bedfords were ordered to attack the enemy towards the road from Villers-Bretonneux to Aubercourt north of Hangard. We understand that C Company is on the right, B Company in the centre and A Company on the left with D Company in reserve. The Bois de l'Abbe is on the left and Cachy in the right rear. This attack may play a vital part in the defence of Amiens.

The captured A7V (from Wikipedia)

During the day news has come through of an unusual feature of this German attack. Three of their tanks (they call them A7Vs) encountered three of our tanks near Villers-Bretonneux and a fight developed between them which led to one of the German machines being knocked out and a number of the crew killed. The monster was able to lumber back behind enemy lines(1)

We understand that the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, part of 5th Division is scheduled to take part in a minor operation tomorrow between Merville and Lamotte west of Estaires.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/8/1

(1) This A7V - Mephisto - was abandoned and captured by Australians in August. It was shipped back to Australia and is now in the Queensland Museum in Brisbane, the only surviving vehicle, only 20 being made.

Roll of Honour - 24th April 1918

Killed in Action

1st/5th Battalion
  • Captain Andrew Best MCBRIDE MC, 22, son of John Best and Mary Constance McBride of Falkland House, Berkhamstead [Hertfordshire] (Longueau British Cemetery)
7th Battalion: Battle of Cachy, battalion, with 7th Royal West Kents, halts the German attack on Amiens in one of the most important small actions of the war
  • 40496 Private William Robert ABEL, 24, ex-29098 Essex Regiment, son of William and Alice Abel of 91 Mill Hill Road, Norwich [Norfolk] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 271172 Private Cyril BALDREY, ex 4120 Cambridgeshire Regiment, son of C W Baldrey of 13 Gwydir Street, Cambridge (Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 49192 Private Harold Kirby BERGERSON, 19, son of Harld and Edith Bergerson of Kent Arms Hotel, Ashford [Kent] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 41986 Private Leonard Edward BOSWELL, 19, ex-330445 Cambridgeshire Regiment, born Walworth [London], resided Camberwell [Surrey] (Serre Road Cemetery No. 2)
  • 20428 Private Frederick Thomas BOWYER, born Cranfield, resided Lavendon [Buckinghamshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 49218 Private William Charles BROOKS, 19, born Bournemouth [Hampshire], resided Wallington [Surrey]          , son of James Charles and Emma Brooks of Waverley, 32 Stanley Road, Carshalton [Surrey] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 265780 Private Phillip Thomas BURGESS, born and resided Harlesden [Middlesex] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 41585 Private Sydney Horace CATCHPOLE, 19, born Shimpling [Norfolk], son of Emma Catchpole of The Street, Dickleburgh [Norfolk] (Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 3/6161 Private William CHAMBERLAIN, born and resided Eynesbury [Huntingdonshire] (Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 15198 Corporal Alfred CHANDLER MM, 21, born Wimbledon [Surrey], son of F Chandler of The Grove Lodge, Prince’s Road, Wimbledon Park [Surrey] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 15937 Sergeant Frederick Charles CHANDLER, born and resided Godmanchester [Huntingdonshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 42029 Private Albert CHARGE, 18, born Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire], son of A E Charge of 91 Horsecroft Road, Boxmoor [Hertfordshire] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 30784 Private Ernest George CLAYDON, born Harold’s Wood [Essex], resided Mountnessing [Essex] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 51365 Private William John CLAYDON, son of G and             Annie Claydon of 14 Bridge Street, Witham [Essex] (Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 49227 Private Ernest Edward CLEMENTS, born and resided Godmanchester [Huntingdonshire] (Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 266649 Private Cecil William COLLINGS, ex-5059 1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment,  born Hertford, son of Florence Lilian Collings of Nash Mills, Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 202387 Private Albert CROSS, born and resided Eaton Socon (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 51383 Private George Albert EAMES, 18, son of Alice Eames of Palgrave [Suffolk] and late Albert Eames (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 41526 Private Arthur Edward ELVIN, born and resided Norwich [Norfolk] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 200878 Private Ernest EVERNDEN resided Kimbolton [Huntingdonshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 50204 Private Robert Frank FOX, 18, son of Robert W and Margaret A Fox of 31 Granville Road, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 15185 Lance Sergeant Stanley Robert Marshall GOODWIN MM, 24, son of late Robert and Laura Goodwin, born Fulham [London], resided Hammersmith [London] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 49258 Private Samuel HATTERSLEY, 19, ex-M/321600 Army Service Corps, son of Samuel and Florence Hattersley of 91 Lupin Street, Ashted, Birmingham [Warwickshire] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 50235 Private Archiebald Joseph HUGHES, 19, born East Brixworth [Northamptonshire], son of Joseph Hughes of 16 Byron Street, Northampton (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 14574 Corporal George Thomas HUNT, 28, born and resided Luton, son of Elizabeth and late Harry Hunt (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 28124 Private Bertram HYDE, born and resided Shillington (Hangard Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 49238 Private Horace John JENNER, born and resided Hildenborough [Kent] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 41362 Private George Robert KEW, 19, born Horley [Surrey], resided Burstow [Surrey], son of Charles Robert and Annie Kew of Irwell Cottage, School Road, Smallfield [Surrey] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • Temporary Captain Oliver KINGDON MC, 31, son of Oliver and Maud Matilda Kingdon of 84 Brownlow Road, New Southgate [Middlesex], mentioned in despatches (Pozieres Memorial)
  • Acting Captain Charles Alfred LAWRENCE MC, 24, son of A H Lawrence of Palmhurst, Gundulph Road, Chatham [Kent] former Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 40756 Private William LEWES or LEWIS, ex-37426 South Staffordshire Regiment, born and resided Burslem [Staffordshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 31861 Private Victor Edward MANNION, born Marylebone [London], resided Saint Ives [Huntingdonshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 49240 Private Frank Edward Steadman MURRELL, 19, born Cambridge, son of John and Louisa Murrell of 23 Scotland Road, Chesterton [Cambridgeshire] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 10879 Lance Corporal William John NEALE, born Bromley-by-Bow [London], resided Plaistow [Essex] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 50233 Private William John NUTTALL born Southall [Middlesex], son of Stephen and Selena Nuttall of 7 Station Road,  Hanwell [Middlesex] (Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 32944 Lance Corporal John ODELL resided Luton (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 15141 Lance Sergeant John Benjamin James OSMOND, born Peckham [London], resided Hornsey Rise [London] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 50238 Private Sydney Leonard PARKER, born Kensington [London], resided Thornton Heath [Surrey] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 49728 Private Victor PARKER, 18, son of Henry and Rosina Parker of The Hollies, Croutel Road, Felixstowe [Suffolk] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 240389 Private Ernest PAYNE, born Stotfold, resided Lowestoft [Suffolk] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 31338 Lance Corporal Arthur PHILLIPS, born Brixton [London], resided Arlesey (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 41581 Private James Henry PULLEN, born Willingdon [Sussex], resided Partridge Green [Sussex] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 19100 Private William George RANCE, born Chelsea [London], resided Southend-on-Sea [Essex] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 15150 Private Harry RANN, born Waltham Cross [Hertfordshire], resided Stoke Newington [London] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 49197 Private Frederick John RIVERS, born Forest Gate [Essex], resided Southend-on-Sea [Essex] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 40780 Private Ernest SANDERS, 30, ex-38264 Leicestershire Regiment, son of Samuel Sanders of 3 Saint Mark’s Street, Leicester, husband of Edith (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 23205 Private Ernest Alfred SAWKINS, 32, son of Joseph of 11 Prespect Road, Cheshunt [Hertfordshire] (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 15850 Private Arthur SMITH MM, born and resided Great Chishill [Cambridgeshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 20076 Corporal Charles SMITH, 22, D Company, born Paddington [London], son of John and Ann Smith of The Green, Edlesborough [Buckinghamshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 43162 Private George Derrick SMITH, ex-1992 Essex Regiment, resided Dorking [Surrey] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 41405 Private George Thomas TIDY, 19, born Hoxton [London], son of Alice Tidy of 27 Morley Street, Norwich [Norfolk] and late Edgar Tidy (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 49092 Private Aubrey William Kimpton WALLER, born Queensland [Australia], resided Brighton [Sussex] (Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 49789 Private Albert Edward WARD, 18, born Edmonton [Middlesex], son of William and Catherine Ward of 97 Glenwood Road, Harringay [Middlesex] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 41082 Private William WATSON, 19, C Company, ex-T/2SR/01313 Army Service Corps, born Bunkle [Berwickshire], son of Adam W Watson of Paitshull, Cockburnspath [Berwickshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 49254 Private Edward Herbert WHITE, born and resided Northampton (Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)
  • 41415 Private William John WOODCRAFT, 19, born Kennington [London], son of William D and Daisy Woodcraft of 29 Birdhurst Road, Merton [Surrey] (Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux)

Monday 23 April 2018

Roll of Honour - 23rd April 1918

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
·         19229 Sergeant Alfred John PALMER, born and resided Hitchin [Hertfordshire] (Saint Ippollitts (Saint Ippolyt) Churchyard)

Sunday 22 April 2018

Gas Shells

Monday 22nd April 1918

The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are in the area of Bethune at the moment. Overnight they endured heavy shelling with gas shells. The enemy also fired trench mortars on the front line. Two men were killed and nine were wounded.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 22nd April 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: battles of the Lys 1918: front line near Lambres, heavy gas shelling
  • 17564 Private Louis George CARRINGTON, born Tottenham [Middlesex], resided Edmonton [Middlesex], husband of Eleanor of 25 Sheen Grove, Richmond Road, Barnsbury [London] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 10309 Private Harry ROBINSON, born and resided Wootton (Tannay British Cemetery, Thiennes)
Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 46990 Private William David GRAY, born and resided Royston [Hertfordshire] (Tannay British Cemetery, Thiennes)
  • 21864 Private John Henry SEYMOUR, 19, born Islington [London], son of William and Laura Seymour of 64 Willingdon Road, Wood Green [Middlesex] (Aire Communal Cemetery)

Saturday 21 April 2018

No Attacks

Sunday 21st April 1918

Readers will have noticed that I have made no references to German attacks in the last few days. This is because, I am happy to say, there have been none of any note. No one will be happier about this than the three battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment which suffered so much during the March retreat - 2nd, 4th and 7th - and are still greatly understrength

Roll of Honour - 21st April 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: battles of the Lys 1918: front line near Lambres, killed by British artillery firing short
  • 31562 Private William Henry HEBINGTON, 38, born and resided Colchester [Essex] (Tannay British Cemetery, Thiennes)

Friday 20 April 2018

Composite Brigade

Saturday 20th April 1918

Readers will remember I have referred on a number of occasions to the weakness of the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment following the retreat in March. The same is also true of the other battalions in the 30th Division.

Last evening it was decided to create a composite brigade under Brigadier-General Goodman. It comprises two composite battalions and a full-strength battalion as follows:
- Number 1 Battalion: two companies of 2nd Bedfords and two from 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment;
- Number 2 Battalion: two companies each from 16th Battalion, Manchester Regiment and 17th Manchesters;
- 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment.

The 1st Battalion comprises the following:
- Number 1 Company: A and B Companies, 2nd Bedfords commanded by Captain P J Reiss MM, MC 
- Number 2 Company: C and D Companies, 2nd Bedfords commanded by Lieutenant S E Cline;
- Number 3 Company: commanded by Captain Druitt, Wiltshire Regiment;
- Number 4 Company: commanded by Captain Wilson, Wiltshire Regiment.

This new battalion moved up into the front line again overnight in the region of the Yser Canal at Spoil Bank and Lock 7.

Sources: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 20th April 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: battles of the Lys 1918: wiring the Brigade Reserve Line near Lambres
  • 23031 Lance Corporal Augustus FENSOME, born and resided Luton (Ploegsteert Memorial)

2nd Battalion
  • 3/6957 Private Sidney George SMITH, born Saint Ives [Huntingdonshire], resided Denaby Main [Yorkshire] (Denaby Main (All Saints) Church Burial Ground)
13th (Transport Worker) Battalion
  • 38945 Private George MOORE, 21, son of Percy Edward and Mary Ann Moore of 11 East Street, Portslade-by-Sea [Sussex] (Portslade Cemetery)

Thursday 19 April 2018


Friday 19th April 1918

Today has been unseasonably cold with sleet and even snow at times. The 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment left Erie camp at Brandhoek at ten o'clock this morning and spent their time digging strongpoints between Vlamertinge and Reningelst. 

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 19th April 1918

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 29226 Private Charles FOX, 42, born Lakenham [Norfolk], son of late Henry and Hebe Fox of Norwich [Norfolk] (Saint Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen)
6th Battalion
  • 269725 Private Stanley Charles WEEDON, ex-2453 Essex Regiment, ex-1st/3rd Hertfordshire Regiment, born Battersea [London], resided Burnham-on-Crouch [Essex], son of Charles and Adele Weedon of 17 Dumblane Road, Eltham [London] (Saint Hilaire Cemetery Extension, Frevent)

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Relieved at Relief

Thursday 18th April 1918

The adjutant of 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment spoke to me today, relieved at having been relieved! The battalion, greatly depleted in strength after the trials of March and the retreat, was on the receiving end of a German thrust from the newly captured ruins of Langemarck but has been pulled back from the front line. 

The relief was complete by 2.30 this morning and marched back to Manning Camp near Elverdinge, north-west of Ypres. At 2.30 this afternoon the battalion left Manning Camp and marched to Erie Camp near Brandhoek, roughly half way between Poperinge and Ypres.

Sources: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 18th April 1918

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 41440 Private Leonard Percy WALLIS, 19, son of W and H Wallis of 52 Tollgate Lane, Bury Saint Edmunds [Suffolk] (Étaples Military Cemetery)

Tuesday 17 April 2018

The Defence of Mount Kemmel

Wednesday 17th April 1918

The enemy has made a strong attack today on the heights of Mount Kemmel. In truth this hill is not particularly high but so flat is the land around it that it stands out as if it were a veritable mountain. It lies north-west of Messines and south-west of Ypres and the attack upon it was handily defeated by the defenders, we hear.

Meanwhile, north of Ypres the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment faced a determined effort by the enemy to get across the Steeneck at dawn today. The Belgians, on the Bedfords' left flank also came under attack but were repulsed. All day the enemy has been feeding troops into the ruins of Langemarck and as I was speaking with the adjutant he received a report that the enemy had managed to cross the stream and establish themselves in some old pillboxes. The Battalion, greatly below strength is hoping to be relieved tonight.

Sources: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 17th April 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: battles of the Lys 1918: front line near Lambres
  • 27786 Private Harry COTTON, 27, son of Tom and Mary Ann Cotton of Coventry [Warwickshire], resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Tannay British Cemetery, Thiennes)
9th Battalion
  • Lieutenant Hubert Aubrey COLLYMORE, 27, attached 25th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, son of F Collymore of Barbados, husband of H R Hill (ex-Collymore) of 19 Mayfield Avenue, Bolton [Lancashire] (Tyne Cot Memorial, Passchendaele)

Monday 16 April 2018

A Lull and A Death

Tuesday 16th April 1918

Today the enemy has shown little in the way of offensive intentions. This has allowed your correspondent to catch up with some of our battalions. The 2nd Battalion has withdrawn, in common with the rest of 2nd Army, to new positions. They are now lining the Steenbeek north of Ypres and are in the front line. All bridges over the stream were destroyed to make it as great an obstacle to an enemy attack as possible. The adjutant reported to me a few minutes ago: "The withdrawal was carried out without trouble and was not noticed by the enemy until the afternoon. After three o'clock he could be seen advancing in small parties and at six o'clock two hundred were reported to be entering Langemarck". One sad note was the death during the day of Second Lieutenant Cecil Shekury MC. This Jewish officer was born in Singapore and enlisted at the outbreak of war whilst at school in England as a private soldier. He received promotion due to his courage and ability and will, without doubt, be sorely missed.

Second Lieutenant Cecil Shekury MC [X550/1/81]

The 7th Battalion is still in billets near Gentelles. Today they received a much needed addition to their strength of 97 men. Their commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Percival has proceeded to England on duty for seven days and Captain Browning has taken over command of the battalion, with Captain H Seys-Phillips becoming acting adjutant.

The 6th Battalion is in reserve in the Bois de Warnimont near Fort-Mahon-Plage on the coast just south of Boulogne.. The adjutant mentioned to me grumpily: Very bad accommodation in tents".

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

Roll of Honour - 16th April 1918

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: Battles of the Lys 1918: front line on the Steenbeck
  • Temporary Lieutenant Cecil SHEKURY MC (Canada Farm Cemetery, Ypres)
Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 21634 Private Charles Thomas STUBBS, 25, born Sandhurst [Berkshire], resided Camberley [Surrey], son of Arthur and Polly Stubbs of 5 Rosemary Lane, Blackwater [Hampshire], husband of Alice Mary of Chinthurst Farm, Bramley [Surrey] (Aire Communal Cemetery)

Sunday 15 April 2018

Withdrawal from Passchendaele

Monday 15th April 1918

As predicted yesterday, our troops have begun to fall back from the Passchendaele Ridge today. One can only imagine how the men who fought for that ridge, saw their comrades fall, and shed many pints of sweat and, perhaps, blood, too, feel about this turn of events. As indicated yesterday this withdrawal is a strategic necessity, but Tommy Atkins does not have to like it, and doesn't. As far as we of the press corps are aware, the enemy has not followed up the withdrawal of our men, suggesting he is, as yet, in ignorance of it. If so, General Plumer's staff and all involved can congratulate themselves in carrying out that most difficult, as well as most unwelcome, manoeuvre, a retirement in the face of the enemy, to perfection.

Meanwhile the enemy attack towards the River Lys in the area around Bailleul has come to a halt only a little way beyond that town. 

Roll of Honour - 15th April 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: battles of the Lys 1918: divisional line near Lambres
  • 48023 Private Harry LOWE, resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Haverskerque British Cemetery)
2nd Battalion: Battles of the Lys 1918: Battle Zone between Pilckem and Langemarck
  • 240723 Private Sydney Harrald DUTT, born Frindsbury [Kent], resided Strood [Kent] (Canada Farm Cemetery)

Saturday 14 April 2018

Bailleul Falls

Sunday 14th April 1918

Yesterday and today the enemy has attacked and taken Bailleul, south of Ypres. This has forced General Plumer to make a very unpalatable decision. Much of the ground gained, with so much effusion of blood, last summer and autumn is likely to have to be given up. The Passchendaele Ridge is now a long way further east than the British line south of Ypres. This makes the line longer and, of course, due to casualties since 21st March there are now less troops to hold it. the only way, at the moment, to shorten the line, is to pull it back further west. 

The 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, continues to hold the support line between Pilkem and Langemarck. As they have a Belgian unit on their left flank they have received a distinguished guest - Flemish nobleman Viscount Obert, who will act as translator.

In recognition of the bravery shown by 4th Battalion at Bouzincourt Ridge and during the March retreat. several of its other ranks have received decorations for bravery. Private George Bunyan has received a bar to his Military Medal whilst the following have been awarded that same medal:Sergeant W G Marks; Lance Corporal P le Gros; :Lance Corporal W Batchelor and Private W E Auburn(1).

Sources: X550/3/wd; X550

(1) 14124 Private W G Batchelor MM would die on 27th August 1918 and is buried at Beaulencourt British Cemetery, Ligny-Thilloy

Roll of Honour - 14th April 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: battles of the Lys 1918: divisional line near Lambres
  • 15567 Private William SPICER, 22, step-son of George Scripps of  Great Hormead [Hertfordshire] (Haverskerque British Cemetery)
4th Battalion: front line south of Mesnil Martinsart
  • 49133 Private William Augustus FELIX, 19, born Ilford [Essex], resided Twickenham [Middlesex], son of William A and Edith Felix of 68 Hunbolt Road, Fulham Cross [London] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 49183 Private George MARTIN, 19, son of Alfred and Annie Martin of 107 Upper Lewes Road, Brighton [Sussex] (Aveluy Wood Cemetery (Lancashire Dump) Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • 205884 Private William MARTIN, 17, ex-201032 Essex Regiment, son of Samuel and Annie Martin of  2 Grove, Barking [Essex] (Martinsart British Cemetery)
  • 49196 Lance Corporal Edward RICHARDSON, 19, son of Annie Richardson of 8 West Mount Terrace, Priory Hill, Dover [Kent] and late Francis Fox Richardson (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 39605 Private Herbert WILKINSON, 35, ex-M/2/232033 Army Service Corps, born and resided Shaw [Lancashire], husband of Clara of 4 Church View, Norden [Lancashire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 41936 Private James John WILLIS, ex-47728 Royal Garrison Artillery, son of Thomas John and Elizabeth Willis of Clyst-Saint-Mary [Devon], husband of Martha M of 9 Boston Avenue, Toronto [British Columbia], born and resided Exeter [Devon] (Aveluy Wood Cemetery (Lancashire Dump) Mesnil-Martinsart)
1st/5th Battalion: killed by shellfire near Mejdel Yaba
  • 21475 Private Charles Valentine COWLER, 28, born Collier’s Row [Essex], resided Buckhurst Hill [Essex], son of Lewis Cowler of High Cross [Hertfordshire], husband of Jessie of Trust Houses, Chipping Ongar [Essex] (Ramleh War Cemetery)
Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 41909 Private Frederick Joseph CLARKE, 19, ex-256460 Leicestershire Yeomanry, son of Frederick Joseph and Elizabeth Clarke of 14 Belle Vue Terrace, Basford [Staffordshire] (Étaples Military Cemetery)
  • 51167 Private William Ewart COE, born and resided Cambridge (Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No. 1)
  • 43711 Private Joseph COLLIER, 46, ex-24362 South Wales Borderers, born Newport [Monmothshire], resided Llangibby [Monmouthshire], son of Joseph and Catherine Collier (Étaples Military Cemetery)
  • 21904 Private Thomas Charles LESTER, 19, born Pimlico [London], resided South Lambeth [London], son of Frederick W and Julia Anne Lester of 29 Cavendish Grove, Wandsworth [London] (Étaples Military Cemetery)

Friday 13 April 2018

2nd Bedfords Back in the Line

Saturday 13th April 1918

The attack which began yesterday against Hazebrouck has already been halted, a long way from its target. This attack lacked the fury of those of March and it seems that, if our army is tired and weakened then the enemy's must be as badly off, if not worse. Attack is almost always more costly than defence in this war and it is hoped that the casualties the Germans have already suffered will tell against them if they launch more attacks and when, eventually, the Allied Armies begin attacks of their own.

The 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, which suffered greatly in the retreat from Saint-Quentin is once more in the  line. It is now part of General Plumer's Second Army around Ypres and finds itself between Pilkem and Langemarck immediately north of the city in support to the front line. They have on their flank, for the first time in this war, a unit of Belgians - their 10th Infantry Regiment.

Source: X550/3/wd