Monday, 21 August 2017

Twenty Second Day of the Battle of Ypres

Second Lieutenant W R Shaw [X550/1/81] 

Tuesday 21st August 1917

As I indicated yesterday, the rumours we hear of impending attacks are seldom to be trusted. Today is a case in point, action today was promised by the “millers” yesterday but has not come to pass. Still, I doubt Tommy Atkins minds.

At the moment the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, is in camp, training. Today they have had a new recruit - Second Lieutenant W R Shaw. We have also had news from far-off Palestine where 1st/5th Bedfords find themselves still in front of the enemy-held town of Gaza. Yesterday they heard that five of their number previously simply listed as missing after the first raid on Umbrella Hill on 20th July are, in fact, prisoners-of war. While glad that they are alive, none of their fellows is under any delusion about how dreadful being a prisoner-of-war of the Turks is(1).

The men concerned are: 200497 Sergeant Cleaver; 200573 Private A. Cook; 201316 Private H A Miles; 201326 Private W Patterson and 200696 Private F D Smith.

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

(1) The Turks were reputed to routinely starve, beat and abuse their prisoners, including sexual abuse. 200573 Private G Cook died on 4th November 1918 and is buried at Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery. 201326 Private William Patterson, from Ely [Cambridgeshire], died on 30th October 1917 and is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial.  

Roll of Honour - 21st August 1917


  • 48003 Private Archibald HARVEY, 37, born Tower Hamlets [London], husband of Alice Elizabeth of 33 Cornwall Road, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Saint Albans (Hatfield Road) Cemetery)

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Twenty First Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Monday 20th August 1917

Today has, once again, been largely devoted to consolidating, bringing up supplies, bringing up and registering artillery pieces and planning, with only minor skirmishes. The rumour-mill, which feeds we war correspondents with more chaff than wholesome grain has it, however, that tomorrow or the day after will see more activity.

Roll of Honour - 20th August 1917

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 43213 Private Leslie WRIGHT, ex-1885 Essex Regiment, born and resided Colchester [Essex] (Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul)

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Twentieth Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Sunday 19th August 1917

Again there has been no rain today, though it has been cloudy. Today 48th (South Midland) Division has made a determined attack, assisted by a number of tanks. They have taken four strongpoints which had held up their attack on Thursday - Hillock Farm, Maison du Hibou, Triangle Farm and Cockcroft. The enemy is thought to have taken very heavy casualties and all four tanks are reported to have returned from the fight. 

Roll of Honour - 19th August 1917

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: battalion at rest at Siege Farm near Hébuterne
  • 32130 Private Harry William HULATT, 22, son of Elizabeth Hulatt of 24 Gwyn Street, Bedford (Voormezeele Enclosure No. 3)

Friday, 18 August 2017

Nineteenth Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Saturday 18th August 1917

Another day without rain. 43rd Brigade of 14th (Light) Division went into action today. They have been given the unpleasant duty of attacking Inverness Copse, graveyard of so many of the hopes of 18th Division, as well as temporary resting place of so many of its men. Men from the Somerset Light Infantry and Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, with support from tanks, have been able to advance half-way through this troublesome wood and are consolidating their positions. These woods - Inverness Copse, Glencorse Wood, Nonne Bosschen and Polygon Wood are, once again, underlining how difficult large bodies of shattered trees are to take, as did the numerous woods on the Somme last year.

We have heard from 7th Bedfords. They got on trains at Dickebush Railhead and have moved to the town of Arneke some miles to the west of Ypres, in France. They will be heading for billets in a village called Buysscheure a few miles to the south-west of Arneke as I write these lines.

Source: X550/8/1