Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Eightieth Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Thursday 18th October 1917

Today 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment put into practise what they had learned in the last few days. They gave a demonstration of how to make a modern attack to all the battalion commanders and adjutants in 15th Brigade. In the afternoon the officers beat the other ranks at rugby by nine points to nil(1)

Source: X550/2/5

(1) At this period scoring was: four points for a dropped goal; three points for a try or a penalty; two points for a conversion.

Roll of Honour - 18th October 1917

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: 3rd Battle of Ypres: relieved Royal Fusiliers in the front line at Canal Bank
  • 20782 Private Jack KINGSLEY, son of Richard and Elizabeth Kingsley of Hitchin [Hertfordshire] (Tyne Cot Memorial)
  • 13001 Private Joseph SMITH, 22, son of Susan Smith of 235 Walworth Road [London] (Tyne Cot Memorial)

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant Simon VANDER-LINDE (Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery)


3rd Battalion
  • 26727 Private G J TAYLOR (Bedford Cemetery)

13th (Transport Worker) Battalion
  • 36335 Private Thomas KANE, 24, ex-14536 King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, born and resided Bradford [Yorkshire] (Bradford (Bowling) Cemetery)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Seventy Ninth Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Wednesday 17th October 1917

Today 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, has been practising an attack, according to the adjutant: “with special reference to pill boxes, barrages, counter-attack, communication, sectional advances, rapid consolidation, fire control, bayonet, Lewis gun, rifle grenades and smoke” a very full account of the way modem war is fought. Afterwards the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel P R Worrall MC, gave a lecture on the subject. In the afternoon the second-in-command, Major Halford, took a course for all officers in map reading.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 17th October 1917


1st Battalion
  • 26961 Private Charles Rowland JOHNSON, 32, born Islington [London], resided Leighton Buzzard, son of Charles and Annie Johnson of London, husband of Jessie Frances of 14 High Street, Leighton Buzzard (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Monday, 16 October 2017

Seventy Eighth Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Tuesday 16th October 1917

The adjutant of 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, tells us that today the officers and sergeants have taken part in a ‘war game’ using toy soldiers on a large model near Battalion Headquarters. This war game was called “The Taking of Polderhoek Chateau” to make them aware of the latest thinking on offensive tactics as well as the latest observations on defence by the enemy. This afternoon the officers have taken on the other ranks in a game of rugby and tonight there will be a concert for the battalion.

6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment has been reinforced. One officer, Lieutenant E S Dyer, and ninety other ranks have arrived to swell the ranks.

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

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Seventy Seventh Day of the Third Battle of Ypres

Mata Hari 

Monday 15th October 1917

Today has been foggy and overcast. Once again there has been nothing in the way of overt aggression by either side at Ypres. We have heard an odd story from Paris, however.

The town of Vincennes lies a little way east of the French capital of which it is, effectively a suburb. There has been an execution there today. This, in itself, is not unusual, sadly, in this war but this victim was different in a number of ways. She went by the name of Mata Hari and was a spy for the Germans. We understand she came originally from the Orient, possibly the island of Java, and had been living in Paris for about fifteen years, making a living as a dancer. Her dancing has been described as “exotic” and, we believe, it was of a less than wholesome character. We also understand that she was mistress to a number of rich and influential men. She was arrested in February and put on trial for treason in July, being duly found guilty.

We understand that she went to her death very bravely, even gaily, refusing a blindfold and blowing a kiss to her firing squad(1)

(1) Mata Hari was, in fact a Dutch woman, called Margaretha Zelle, who had been born in 1876, her supposed Javanese antecedents being just a part of her act as an exotic dancer and courtesan. Modern interpretation of her case is that she was mostly a low-level spy for the French who may, or may not, have acted as a German double-agent. She became a notorious femme-fatale in later mythology though today she is regarded by some as a dupe and a victim. 

Roll of Honour - 15th October 1917

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 14177 Private John MONK, 41, son of Joseph and Ann Monk of Offley [Hertfordshire] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

6th Battalion
  • 33733 Private Charles Henry HOLLOWAY, ex-16035 Middlesex Regiment, born Lambeth [London], resided Wimbledon [Surrey] (Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul)

7th Battalion
  • 6653 Private Frederick William WALLIS born and resided Bozeat [Northamptonshire], son of William Wallis, husband of Martha Ann Lovell (ex-Wallis) of Glebe Far, Sharnbrook (Mendinghem Military Cemetery)


13th (Transport Worker) Battalion
  • 34572 Private John James TAIT, ex-32340 Worcestershire Regiment, born and resided Portsmouth [Hampshire] (Portsmouth (Highland Road) Cemetery)