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