Thursday 31 May 2018

Inflicting Death by Night

Friday 31st May 1918

The 1st/5th Battalion are near Jaffa in Palestine. Yesterday evening a battalion of 32 Sikh Pioneers arrived their area to clear the banks of the River Auja of all vegetation, seeking to prevent any enemy patrols sneaking up to the battalion's front.

A patrol of one officer and nine other ranks moved out last night and, passing under a culvert in the railway embankment, proceeded to a nearby mound. No enemy were found on the mound but voices and much movement were heard some way away,sounds carrying a long way at night. The patrol got to within 150 yards of those making the noise and saw four camels heading north-east. 

The patrol then crawled north and east and in this manner got within 70 yards of a sentry group. Crawling towards this group the patrol suddenly came upon a sleeping picquet of eight Turks. These they bayoneted but their screams gave the alarm and six more Turks, whom the patrol had not seen in the long grass, jumped up and fired at them, the sentry group was also alarmed and turned to reinforce the picquet. The patrol's rearguard also reported more enemy coming from the mound whereupon the patrol fought its way through and saw two more Turks fall. The Turks did not follow up and the patrol got away under the culvert and arrived back in our lines at 3.45 this morning. They estimate that at least ten enemy were killed or badly wounded. The patrol had one man wounded.

Source: X550/6/8

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Trying to Gather Intelligence

Thursday 30th May 1918

All thoughts of mess etiquette forgotten the 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, near Jaffa in Palestine, yesterday sought to aid 7th Indian Division. The Indians have lately been subjected to a great increase artillery and machine gun fire. Accordingly last evening a patrol of one officer and eight other ranks set off to investigate.

However, the patrol spotted nothing they had not seen before. Whilst out they encountered an enemy picquet. This picquet observed the patrol and two or three of them crawled towards the patrol which withdrew. Moving on the patrol leader observed another enemy picquet and he also saw movement on a nearby road.

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 30th May 1918

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 18695 Private Josiah SWAIN, 34, born Weston [Hertfordshire], resided Hitchen [Hertfordshire], husband of Annie Caroline of 33 Letchmore Road, Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Thiennes British Cemetery)

2nd Battalion
  • 41326 Private Sydney Bancroft BRYANT, 19, born Hornsey [Middlesex], resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire], son of Patience Bryant of Queen’s Arms, Bury Road, Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire] and laye Alfred Stephen Bryant (Saint Souplet British Cemetery)

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Manners Maketh Man

Wednesday 29th May 1918

The 1st/5th Battalion is near Jaffa in Palestine. Two companies are in the front line, with two in support. Yesterday morning the commanding officer initiated a series of lectures for young officers. Your correspondent expected these to be along the lines of commanding in the field, enforcing discipline or platoon level tactics but the first lecture was on mess etiquette.

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 29th May 1918


4th Battalion
  • 31890 Private Arthur Henry CARTER, 20, son of George and Caroline Carter of High Street, Walkern [Hertfordshire] (Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension)
52nd (Graduated) Battalion
  • TR/9/10503 Private Charlie William WOODHATCH, born Alfold [Surrey], son of C Woodhatch late of The Laurels, Bucks Green Rudgwick [Sussex] (Rudgwick (Holy Trinity) Churchyard)
3rd Garrison Battalion
  • 305215 Private George WESTERN, 36, ex-241448 Somerset Light Infantry, resided Taunton [Somerset], husband of S J Myers (ex-Western) of 130 East Reach, Taunton (Taunton (Saint Mary’s) Cemetery)

Monday 28 May 2018

Heavy Casualties for the 2nd Battalion

Tuesday 28th May 1918

Yesterday 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment was brought up to strength again by absorbing the 7th Battalion. During the month the 7th Battalion had total casualties of thirty. By contrast the 2nd Battalion suffered five officers and around two hundred other ranks being killed and wounded and going missing. These figures underline why such an amalgamation was necessary as there are now few reinforcements coming from England.

Source: X550/3/wd

Sunday 27 May 2018


Monday 27th May 1918 

Today the 7th Battalion were officially absorbed by the 2nd Battalion - the 7th Battalion providing the lion's share of men - 30 officers and 664 other ranks. During the month the 7th Battalion suffered four other ranks killed, twenty-three wounded and one missing. In addition two other ranks were wounded but remained at duty.

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

Roll of Honour - 27th May 1918

Killed in Action

Bedfordshire Yeomanry
  • 30565 Private Walter Maurice BARTRAM, 33, son of Ann Lydia Bartram of Cotton End (Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension)
Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 41671 Private Frank SIMPSON, 19, ex-1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment, born Leeds [Yorkshire], son of Eva and John Bowers of The Orchard, Halton [Yorkshire] (Saint Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen)

Saturday 26 May 2018

Keeping Up the Annoyance

Sunday 26th May 1918

The 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is still in the front line near Jaffa. We understand that A and D Companies have been relieved in the front line by B and C Companies. Nevertheless the patrolling continues as do attempts to kill enemy personnel, or "keeping up the annoyance" as the adjutant characterised it to me. 

At 10.15 last evening a patrol of one officer and nine other ranks moved along a nearby road, then crossed a wadi and followed a track to a spot where a party of the enemy was seen moving south. The patrol leader then moved on and came across eight or nine of the enemy advancing in extended order advancing. He endeavoured to lead this party on by withdrawing but lost sight of them and they were not seen again. 

The patrol located an enemy picquet consisting of two sentries and several sleeping men. two hundred yards further on were twenty or thirty men working at the front of a small hill. The patrol returned at 4.20.

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 26th May 1918

Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 51271 Private Richard Fred TAYLOR, born and resided Ramsgate [Kent] (Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt)

6th Battalion
  • 16899 Private Horace SWEETING, 23, born and resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Watford Cemetery)

Friday 25 May 2018

Another Battalion Bows Out

Saturday 25 May 1918

The 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment was disbanded in January and the 6th Battalion was absorbed into the 1st/1st Battalion, Herfordshire Regiment three days ago. Today it has been announced that it is to be the turn of that extraordinarily successful unit, the 7th Battalion. The 2nd Battalion has been so reduced in strength by the gruelling retreat in March and then by the German attacks south-east of Ypres that the decision has been made for it to join the much larger 7th Battalion as part of 18th (Eastern) Division, though, naturally, the new battalion will be numbered as the 2nd. 

It is a measure of the casualties inflicted by this war that since 1916 the Bedfordshire Regiment has had seven battalions in the field but now only has four.

Lieutenant-Colonel R O Wynne [X550/1/81]

As with the 6th Battalion, a training cadre will continue to be known as the 7th Battalion and will be bust training Americans. This cadre will be commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel R O Wynne DSO with Major J T Coe as adjutant. The company commanders are Captains J K Batten, F Everitt, S E Cline and R E Oakley MC. The Lewis Gun Officer is Second Lieutenant J Kerr, the Scout Officer Second Lieutenant W Ashton and the Signalling Officer is Second Lieutenant H Flavell(1). There are fifty other ranks. 

The cadre will leave at 6.30 tomorrow morning and head by train to Chipy-Valines andwill be billeted at Rogeant about six miles south-west of Abbeville. They will come under the aegis of 30th Division, from whence came the 2nd Battalion.

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

(1) Joseph Keith Batten, from Peterborough, would die on 27th September serving with 4th Battalion, aged 26, he is buried at Moeuvres Communal Cemetery Extension; 

Roll of Honour - 25th May 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: support line at Forceville, gas attack
  • 43705 Private James BARRETT, ex-35509 South Wales Borderers, born Southwark [London], resided Walworth [London] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 43706 Private Herbert BATES, 19, ex-43904 Worcestershire Regiment, son of Henrietta Bates of 12 Milroy Street, Edge Hill, Liverpool [Lancashire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 29227 Private Arthur R BUCK, born Stibbard [Norfolk], resided East Dereham [Norfolk] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 51164 Private Geoffrey CLARKE, 19, B Company, son of Edward Clarke of Keeper’s House, Woodrow, Amersham [Buckinghamshire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 51339 Private Walter Elijah EGLEN, born and resided King’s Lynn [Norfolk] (Aveluy Wood Cemetery (Lancashire Dump) Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • 43691 Lance Sergeant Edward FINDLAY, ex-T/4/069991 Army Service Corps, born Knole Park [Kent], resided Aberdare [Glamorgan] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 51188 Private Clifford Charles FORD, 19, born Folkestone [Kent], son of Charles and Katie Ford of 8 Helena Avenue, Margate [Kent] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 51198 Private Percy John HALL, 19, C Company, son of William and Alice Mary Hall of 62 Gordon Road, Rosherville [Kent] (Mesnil Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 48035 Private John Walter HARRISON, born and resided Luton (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 43648 Private Tom HOWARTH, 33, ex-23959 South Wales Borderers, son of Samuel Henry and Selina Howarth of 42 Melton Street, Heywood [Lancashire] (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 43728 Private Robert JACKSON, ex-38683 South Wales Borderers, son of James Jackson of 27 Phethean Street, Moses Gate, Bolton [Lancashire], resided Farnworth [Lancashire] (Aveluy Wood Cemetery (Lancashire Dump) Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • Second Lieutenant William MATHIESON, 37, son of James Mathieson of 19 Lyndhurst Gardens, Glasgow, husband of Mabel Nellie of 22 Rose Street, Haxby [Yorkshire] (Pozières Memorial)
  • 27709 Private Reuben SHELTON, born Berkhamsted [Hertfordshire], resided Upwood [Huntingdonshire] (Aveluy Wood Cemetery (Lancashire Dump) Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • 16081 Lance Corporal Albert George WATTS, 22, son of Charles and Eliza Ann Watts of Black Horse, Eaton Socon (Pozieres Memorial)
  • 41845 Private Claude George WETHERALL, born Crayford [Kent], residee Haughley [Suffolk] (Aveluy Wood Cemetery (Lancashire Dump) Mesnil-Martinsart)
Died of Wounds

4th Battalion
  • 265541 Corporal Harry WEBB, 22, son of John and Sarah Webb of Pond Hill, Hatfield [Hertfordshire] (Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt)

Thursday 24 May 2018

Letting the Enemy Know They are There

Friday 24th May 1918

Last night the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment had the satisfaction of handing the enemy a nasty surprise. Having suffered during the March retreat and lost a lot of men they conducted a raid on the enemy positions south-east of Mesnil at the north end of Aveluy Wood and west of the River Ancre. It was around here in November 1916, in the dying days of the Battle of the Somme, that the battalion first saw action, capturing Hamel. As the adjutant observed to me with some asperity "We want to remind the enemy that we are still here and still dangerous to them".

Source: X550/5/3

Roll of Honour - 24th May 1918

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: relieved from the front line near Laviéville
  • 40224 Private Albert BURTON, ex-5599 Norfolk Regiment, son of J Burton of Calthorpe [Norfolk] (Montigny Communal Cemetery, Somme)
  • 30794 Private Joseph Beresford SHIELDS, 39, son of Richard and Emily Shields of 12 Victoria Avenue, Stockton-on-Tees [Durham], resided Leigh-on-Sea [Essex] (Pozieres Memorial)

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Life in the Front Line Remains Interesting

Thursday 23rd May 1918

"Life in the front line remains interesting" the adjutant of the 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment remarked in a short telephone call to me this afternoon. Early yesterday morning a patrol was sent out, attempting to locate an enemy picquet but owing to a line of twelve enemy skirmishers each side of the railway they were unable to do so. The patrol withdrew to a small knoll and waited until daybreak to get observation but were then shot at by rifles and machine-guns and the skirmishers again appeared so the patrol withdrew their own lines without incident.

Mid morning two rounds of 77 mm calibre landed in front of Isolated Wood and slight shelling continued at intervals during the morning. yesterday evening enemy signalling was observed and all that could be read was "SG" - a prefix denoting that an urgent signal message was coming. A call for light signalled by means of a succession of dots and a long dash was observed. Brigade Headquarters were wired, in accordance with their instructions, on commencement of the signalling.

An hour later a patrol of one officer and thirteen other ranks left their post and moved into no man's land. They came on a hobbled horse. One N.C.O. and five men were sent to the right flank and when these were in position, the patrol commander and the seven men surprised and captured a picquet of eight of the enemy who were sleeping near the horse. After searching the surrounding country  without further result, the patrol returned to their own lines arriving just after three o'clock this morning.

Source: X550/6/8

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Moving Divisions

Hertfordshire Regiment Capbadge.jpg

Wednesday 22nd May 1918

The bulk of the officers and men of the 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment have now been absorbed by 1st/1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment, which has left 39th Division for 37th Division, the home of the 6th Bedfords. The training cadre of officers and men took a train to Audruicq, roughly half way between Calais and Saint-Omer. They then marched to Nielles and any feelings of apprehension were assuaged by the welcome they received from 39th Division - the band of the 13th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment accompanying them on their march and playing them in with style.The adjutant noted that they had been "very cordially received" and have "very comfortable billets"

Source: X550/7/1

Roll of Honour - 22nd May 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: support line at Forceville
  • 43657 Private Reginald John JONES, 25, ex-18734 Royal Engineers, son of John and Elizabeth Mary Jones of Ellwood House, Ellwood [Gloucestershire] (Englebelmer Communal Cemetery Extension)
Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 40257 Private Archibald Albert GALLANT, ex-5643 Norfolk Regiment, born Norwich [Norfolk], resided Old Catton [Norfolk] (Harlebeke New British Cemetery)
6th Battalion
  • 203992 Private Samuel George PINNY or PINNEY,32, ex-331126 Cambridgeshire Regiment, son of Lewis and Louise Pinn(e)y of Wellingborough [Northamptonshire], husband of Lilian of 10 Doddington Road, Wellingborough (Wellingborough (Doddington Road) Cemetery)
7th Battalion
  • 14675 Private Lawrence Sidney Curtis MOON, 27, born Plumstead [London], resided Shepherd’s Bush [London], son of Walter and Clara Moon of Fishponds [Bristol] (Pernoy British Cemetery, Halloy-les-Pernois)

Monday 21 May 2018

The Trainers for the Americans

Tuesday 21st May 1918

Today we learned the officers of the 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment comprising the training staff for the Americans. Lieutenant-Colonel F. H. Edwards M.C. will be commanding officer.His staff will comprise Acting Captain D.M.Saunders (adjutant) Captain J. A. M. Hislop (Quartermaster), Captain A. W. Elliott M. C., Acting Captain O. E. Hobson, Lieutenants D. J. Greig (Lewis Gun Officer), and C. C. Clifford (Intelligence Officer) and Second Lieutenants W. Johnson, A. E. Iliffe  E. E. Ashby, (Signals Officer) as well as Regimental Sergeant Major, four Company Sergeant Majors, a Company Quartermaster Sergeant and forty eight other ranks. They proceeded to Mondricourt and caught a train to Audruicq.

Source: X550/7/1

Roll of Honour - 21st May 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: support line at Forceville
  • 51143 Private Arthur BELL, 19, born Streatham [London], son of William and Rose Bell of Tooting [London], husband of Winifred of 92 Glasford Street, Tooting (Mesnil Communal Cemetery Extension)
7th Battalion: front line near Laviéville
  • 47831 Private James Thomas POTTER, ex-48743 Suffolk Regiment, born Folkestone [Kent], resided Eastbourne [Sussex] (Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension)
Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 291274 Lance Corporal Ernest George SMART, born and resided Sutton [Surrey] (Saint Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen)

Sunday 20 May 2018

Bedfordshire Becomes Hertfordshire

Monday 20th May 1918

This evening the officers of the 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are to have a farewell dinner. No speeches are planned. Tomorrow a proportion of the officers and most of the men will travel to be absorbed by 1st/1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment whilst a few officers and men will form a small cadre, still known as 6th Bedfords, to train American units new to France

Source: X550/7/1

Saturday 19 May 2018

Chinese Attack

Sunday 19th May 1918

The 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, yesterday moved into the front line west of Albert. The adjutant casually mentioned to me this evening that they had successfully carried out a Chinese attack earlier in the day. Now there are large numbers of Chinese labourers in France, doing lifting and carrying tasks for the army so I wondered if the army had armed some of them to replace British losses.

Not so. A Chinese attack, I learned, is a stratagem whereby what seems to be a preparatory bombardment takes place after which troops duly advance into no man's land, but not very far. Then they dash back to the front line and the artillery shoot down the enemy as they line their parapet. A variation to to throw up dummies for the enemy to shoot at immediately after the first bombardment, the second one catching them in the same way. I have no idea why this is referred to as a Chinese attack but it may be a stratagem adapted from The Art of War by the ancient Chinese military thinker Sun Tzu.

Source: X550/8/1

Friday 18 May 2018

Training Americans

Saturday 18th May 1918

A few days ago we heard that 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, was to be disbanded and the personnel transferred to 1st/1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment. Now it seems a small number of men is to be kept on forming what is called, in military parlance, a cadre. This cadre will be training one of the American battalions newly arrived in France.

Source: X550/7/1

Roll of Honour - 18th May 1918

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: front line near Laviéville
  • 31055 Private Frederick Abel PETCHEY, born and resided Albury [Hertfordshire] (Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension)
Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 26540 Private Horace PINNOCK, born and resided Irthlingborough [Northamptonshire] (Franvillers Communal Cemetery Extension)

7th Battalion
  • 43591 Private Henry Robert LOOSLEY, ex-202523 Suffolk Regiment, attached 53rd Trench Mortar Battery, born Bedford, resided Luton (Annois Communal Cemetery)

Thursday 17 May 2018

"Friendly" Fire

Friday 17th May 1918

Yesterday we reported the detailed patrol work of 1st/5th Battalion, near Jaffa in Palestine. This has continued, a patrol of one officer and seven other ranks going out at one o'clock yesterday morning. A few minutes out two rifle grenades were fired at the enemy by a neighbouring British unit, bursting just west of the patrol. This very nearly caused casualties amongst the Yellow Devils on patrol. The adjutant mused that he often wondered just how many casualties are caused to soldiers at the front by their own side, usually its own artillery. To get away from any more grenades the patrol moved smartly east where they heard movement in the enemy's front line and they located a picquet position. 

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 17th May 1918

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 203496 Private Clarence Cecil FRANCIS, born Cambridge, resided Kimbolton [Huntingdonshire], son of W W Francis of 36 Cross Street, Sudbury [Suffolk] (Sudbury Cemetery)

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Minute Observations

Thursday 16th May 1918

The 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is near Jaffa in Palestine. This morning the adjutant was able to speak with me to tell me about the sort of patrol work they have been undertaking. On the night of 14th/15th, for example, whilst in no man's land, they spotted a patrol of ten Turkish cavalry and heard and saw Turkish picquets in their advanced posts along a railway line. These picquets seem to be eight strong and one was covering a working party of a dozen men who were cutting grass to enable a better view. Several wagons, each with six men, were seen coming forward to the front line. Three more cavalry patrols were seen. Such minute observations help to draw up a detailed picture of enemy positions and, over a number of nights, patterns of behaviour can be determined which may help in planning a raid. 

Captain R L V Doake [X550/1/82]

Meanwhile the 7th Battalion has been withdrawn from the reserve positions west of Albert to the village of Baizieux. They are pleased that Captain R L V Doake and Captain A B McBride have both been awarded the Military Cross, as has Captain Stevenson of the Royal Army Medical Corps, attached as Medical Officer. Captain McBride died on 24th April last(1). In addition Sergeant A Scott has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal - all four awards for actions in the recent fighting.

Sources: X550/6/8; X550/8/1

(1) He is buried at Longueau British Cemetery; Sergeant Alexander Scott would die on 1st October - he is buried at Vendhuile Communal Cemetery)

Roll of Honour - 16th May 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: At Villorba Camp, working in the front line
  • 200925 Private Leonard GRAY, 19, son of William and Fanny Gray of Biggleswade (Tannay British Cemetery, Thiennes)
  • Second Lieutenant Frederick Lee RAY, 24, son of Frederick and Alice Ray of Bedford (Steenbecque British Cemetery, Thiennes)
Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 18927 Lance Corporal Percy Charles BRAY, 21, son of George and Sarah Bray of 18 Salisbury Road, Baldock [Hertfordshire] (Baldock Cemetery)
4th Battalion
  • 45048 Private James ROGERS, 29, born Earls Barton [Northamptonshire], resided Northampton, son of Joseph and Kate Rogers of Horse Shoe Inn, Sywell [Northamptonshire], husband of Kate Emeline of 55 Manfield Road, Northampton (Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt)
6th Battalion
  • 29267 Private George Archer SAWYER, attached 153 Field Company, Royal Engineers, born Old Catton [Norfolk], resided Horsford [Norfolk] (Saint Sever Cemetery Exension, Rouen)

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Improving Defences

Wednesday 15th May 1918

The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is currently in the front line near Tannay near Hazebrouck. Yesterday and today they have been working to bolster the front line defences in case the enemy carry out any more of their sudden attacks. They have dug a new trench and some shelters known, due to their size, as elephant shelters for headquarters.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 15th May 1918

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 204249 Private Arthur George AMOS, 20, born Little Irchester [Northamptonshire], resided Northampton, son of Joseph and Mary Ann Amos of 64 Elsden Road, Wellingborough [Northamptonshire] (Saint Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen)

2nd Battalion
  • 25310 Private Thomas William BARNARD, 22, born Old Weston [Huntingdonshire], son of Elizabeth Barnard of Molesworth [Huntingdonshire] and late John Barnard (Berlin South Western Cemetery) as prisoner-of-war

Monday 14 May 2018

Arthur Percival DSO, MC

Lieutenant-Colonel Percival

Tuesday 14th May 1918

The 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment are currently in reserve west of Albert. They had the good news today that their commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Percival MC has been awarded the Distinguished Service Order. Also Captain Browning has been awarded the Military Cross. More importantly fifty two other ranks have arrived from base as reinforcements as well as one officer - Second Lieutenant S A Peerless.

Sourcer: X550/8/1

Roll of Honour - 14th May 1918

Killed in Action

4th Battalion: front line at Aveluy Wood
  • 41942 Lance Corporal John BRIGHTON, 19, son of John and Cecile Brighton of 29 Frobisher Road, Hornsey [Middlesex] (Mesnil Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 51336 Private John Edward FARLEY, 19, son of Arthur George and Emily Farley of 23 Bower Street, Maidstone [Kent] (Mesnil Communal Cemetery Extension)
Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 9599 Private Frank SILVERS, husband of F Silvers of 16 Lawley Street, Birmingham [Warwickshire] (Arneke British Cemetery)

7th Battalion
  • 29883 Private William BATES, born Amersham [Buckinghamshire], resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Hautmont Communal Cemetery), as a prisoner-of-war

Sunday 13 May 2018

Musical Turks

Monday 13th May 1918

The 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is currently in the front line near Jaffa in Palestine. Last night about 7.30 a patrol of one officer and seven other ranks went out into no man's land trying to get intelligence on the Turks opposite. What they did not expect was music, but they distinctly heard a band playing about a mile or so to the north of them. Sadly they did not recognise ant of the tunes!

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 13th May 1918

Died of Wounds

1st/5th Battalion
  • 200616 Private Robert PARROTT MM, 22, B Company, son of Robert and Emma Jane Parrott of Church End, Marston Moretaine (Ramleh War Cemetery)

Saturday 12 May 2018

Headquarters Blown In

Sunday 12th May 1918

The 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, are in brigade reserve at Warloy-Baillon, west of Albert. Being in reserve does not exclude them from violence, however. This afternoon a slightly shaken adjutant informed me that the enemy had shelled their positions and,by chance, a shell found the building hosting the battalion headquarters and blew it in. Fortunately the bombardment had been going on for some minutes by this point and everyone was sheltering in dug-outs so no one was wounded, though as the adjutant said it made a mess of "all the d****d paperwork". The headquarters has moved a couple of miles down the road to Lavieville, closer, as the adjutant noted with disgust, to the front line!

Source: X550/8/1

Roll of Honour - 12th May 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: front line near Steenbecque
  • 29074 Private Ernest Edward GRIEF, 30, D Company, born Hindolvestone [Norfolk], son of Robert and Emily Grief of Honingham [Norfolk], resided Honingham, husband of Elizabeth Ann of Pitt Farm, Ringland [Norfolk] (Tannay British Cemetery, Thiennes)
  • 203956 Private Harry SENIOR, 20, son of John and Elizabeth Senior of 18 Stanmore Road, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
  • 17747 Private Edgar SWANNELL, 24, born Felmersham, son of Robert and Charity Swannell of Hill Farm Cottages, Willington (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
4th Battalion: front line at Aveluy Wood
  • 33198 Lance Corporal John BANWELL, 24, son of Arthur and Caroline Banwell of 23 Tudor Road, Prittlewell [Essex] (Mesnil Communal Cemetery Extension)
6th Battalion: front line near Rettermoy Farm, shelling
  • 27588 Private Isaac SHELTON, 37, son of William and Louisa Shelton of Offord D’Arcy [Huntingdonshire] (Bienvillers Military Cemetery)
Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 291381 Private Alfred Harold BOOTH, born and resided Croydon [Surrey] (Aire Communal Cemetery)
2nd Battalion
  • 9524 Private George Thomas RANSOME, 27, son of Mary Ann Ransome of 9 Church Walk, Bury Saint Edmunds [Suffolk] and late Edward Ransome (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)
7th Battalion
  • 49220 Private George Alfred BYE, 19, born Willesden [Middlesex], son of Alfred and Edith Bye of Harlesden [Middlesex] (Pernois British Cemetery, Halloy-les-Pernois)

1st/5th Battalion
  • 200315 Private Frederick Archer MARSHALL, born and resided Luton (Kantara War Memorial Cemetery)

Friday 11 May 2018

Farewell Moonrakers

Saturday 11th May 1918

After all the strife and hardship of the last two months the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment is resting behind the lines at Buysscheure between Ardres and Cassel. They said goodbye to the men of the 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment with whom they have formed a composite battalion, as, being at rest, there is no need to swell numbers. The adjutant expressed the hope that before being sent into action again the battalion will receive significant reinforcements and added that the adjutant of the Moonrakers had expressed the same opinion of the Wiltshire battalion.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 11th May 1918

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: in reserve near Hénincourt
  • 49738 Private Percy William PLUMMER, born Camden Town [London], resided East Finchley [Middlesex] (Senlis Communal Cemetery Extension)
Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • Second Lieutenant Frederick Charles BALDWIN, 26, son of Robert Henry and Emma Elizabeth Baldwin of 42 Albert Street, Bletchley [Buckinghamshire], born Fenny Stratford [Buckinghamshire] (Esquelbecq Military Cemetery)

Thursday 10 May 2018


Friday 10th May 1918

Yesterday 1st/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment went up to the front line near Jaffa. Last evening they sent out a patrol into no man's land. The two officers and six other ranks were, of course, gathering information on the enemy's front line positions. But they were doing more than that. They left propaganda leaflets affixed to the wire. As the officer leading the patrol noted, the enemy may well not pay any attention to the reading material on offer, but the fact that it was left on their front line without their knowledge may give them pause for thought. It may have been a coincidence but an Arab deserter from the Turkish unit opposite came over and gave himself up later that night.

Source: X550/6/8

Roll of Honour - 10th May 1918

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: front line near Steenbecque, German machine guns very active
  • 33630 Private Reginald GORDON, ex-2350 Bedfordshire Yeomanry, born Northampton, resided Kingsthorpe [Northamptonshire] (Merville Communal Cemetery Extension)
4th Battalion: support lines at Acheux Wood
  • 39784 Private Ernest John SELF, 29, son of Harry Self of Rickinghall [Suffolk] husband of Annie E of The Street, Rickinghall (Englebelmer Communal Cemetery)
  • 41951 Private Charlie WARD, born New Cross [London ], resided Penge [Kent] (Englebelmer Communal Cemetery)

7th Battalion
  • 41568 Private Harrison Ernest WILSDEN, born and resided Canterbury [Kent] (Berlin South Western Cemetery) as a prisoner-of-war

Wednesday 9 May 2018


Thursday 9th May 1918

Last night the French and the composite battalion formed by 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment and 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment launched a counter-attack on the enemy which had dislodged them from the front line west of Vierstraat. Sadly they were not strong enough to succeed and the front line remains the original support line. Early this morning the battalion retired to Saint Lawrence Camp west of Dickebusch.

In the last few days the 1st/5th Battalion, near Jaffa in Palestine, has been on the alert for Turkish agents and spies. As the adjutant explained over a crackling telephone line: "The intelligence system of the enemy has improved lately to a considerable degree, and there is no doubt that a number of his agents are passing backwards and forwards through our lines conveying information to the enemy as to our dispositions. This indicates the necessity of being much more strict as regards the movements of inhabitants in areas near the front line".  They have fixed a line east of which "no Natives or Jews except those employed by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force  are to be allowed".It is understood that many of these agents pose as orange sellers.

A sad piece of news has just been received. The army continues to be much under-strength and battalions are being disbanded to make up the numbers of other battalions. Such was the fate of the 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment in the early part of this year. The 6th Battalion, we understand, are now to be disbanded and the officers and men transferred to 1st/1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment, which currently forms a composite battalion with 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. We believe that, as the majority of men (3 officers and 650 other ranks) will be from the Bedfords, the Hertfordshire men will transfer from 39th Division to 37th Division.

Source: X550/3/wd; X550/6/8; X550/7/1

Roll of Honour - 9th May 1918

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: relieved from the front line near Vierstraat
  • 31545 Sergeant Joseph CANNON, 21, born London, son of R and Teresa Cannon of 11 Bridge Street, Hemel Hempstead [Hertfordshire] (Tyne Cot Memorial)
Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 41100 Private Percy Leonard HAYWARD, ex-265471 Suffolk Regiment, born Botsedale [Suffolk], resided Belton [Norfolk] (Morbecque British Cemetery)

Tuesday 8 May 2018

2nd Battalion in Action Again

Wednesday 8th May 1918

The men of the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment have been terribly thinned-out by enemy attacks since 21st March, firstly in the retreat from Saint-Quentin and now in the Ypres Salient. They form part of a composite battalion with 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment and, for the last few days have been in the front line just west of Vierstraat. The map above shows the front line, Number 2 (Bedfordshire) Company is on the right (facing south) and Number 4 (Wiltshire) Company is on the left (facing east) with Number 1 (Bedfordshire) Company in reserve and Number 3 (Wiltshire) Company in immediate support. 

At three o'clock this morning the enemy put down a barrage of gas shells on the reserve position which, with a westerly wind, drifted back into the front line. At ten minutes past four a terrific bombardment of the front line began with trench mortars and 5.9 inch shells. This lasted until just after seven this morning, by which time it was light. The enemy then attacked with that vile weapon, the flamethrower, to the fore. This forced the French troops on the battalion's right to fall back, leaving that flank exposed. The two front line companies were forced to fall back to the support line, which, thus, became the new front line. 

As I write these lines the French and the composite battalion are about to make a counter-attack to try to retake the lost position. All told so far the battalion has lost seven officers and 170 men killed and wounded. 

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 8th May 1918

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: Battles of the Lys: successful German attack near Vierstraat, counter-attack failed
  • 9118 Sergeant Delacy BERRINGTON, 30, son of Thomas and Emily Berrington of Manor Cottage, Wilshamstead, resided Bedford (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 202789 Private Percy James BIRD, 25, son of John and Sarah of 16 Waterlow Road, Dunstable (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 28864 Private George Henry CARNELL, 36, son of late James Edward Carnell, born Hilgay [Norfolk], resided Downham Market [Norfolk] (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 9036 Private David CHAPMAN, born Melbourn [Cambridgeshire], resided Therfield [Hertfordshire] (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 27738 Private John EDGELEY, born Whittlesey [Cambridgeshire], resided Bedford (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 18431 Private Walter William FENSOM, 38, born Caddington, son of A Fensom of 64 Liverpool Road, Watford [Hertfordshire], husband of Clara of 15 Merton Road, Watford (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 39820 Private Jack HARDY, 34, born Great Chesterford [Essex], resided Cherry Hunton [Cambridgeshire], son of Kate Marriott of Barton [Cambridgeshire] (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 31949 Private Robert INGRAM, 20, son of William and Eliza Ingram of Aspley End, Shillington (Kemmel No. 1 French Cemetery)
  • 18814 Private Alfred William KING, 33, son of Alfred and Lucy King of Gustard Wood, Wheathampstead [Hertfordshire] (Godezonne Farm Cemetery, Ypres)
  • 13445 Private Harry MARSHALL, 31, son of George and Mary Ann Marshall of 6 Saint John’s Street, Huntingdon (Kemmel No. 1 French Cemetery)
  • 13324 Private Henry MILLER, 27, son of Charles and Mary of Higher Rads End, Eversholt (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 17766 Sergeant Albert PARISH, born Hogsthorpe [Lincolnshire], resided Luton (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 25194 Private Alfred PETTENGELL, 21, son of Rose Pettengell of 49 Albert Street, Stevenage [Hertfordshire] and late Arthur Pettengell (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 28974 Private Ernest RIX, born and resided Flitcham [Norfolk] (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 9388 Private Frederick Charles WALKER, born and resided Bedford (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 18208 Private Walter WHITE, born and resided Aspley Guise (Tyne Cot Memorial)