- Bedfordshire Regiment during the Great War -
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- Bedfordshire Regiment 1st Btn
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Kitchener's New Army:
- Bedfordshire Regiment 6th Btn.
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Want to know more about Bedfordshire Regiment?
There are:41580 pages and articles tagged Bedfordshire Regiment available in our Library
Those known to have served with
during the Great War 1914-1918.
- Abbey Reginald Ernest. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.15th Nov 1918)
- Abbott Albert Fordham. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.4th Sep 1916)
- Abbott Arthur John. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.28th Aug 1916)
- Abbott Harold Campbell. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.17th Apr 1915)
- Abraham Sidney. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.21st Apr 1915)
- Aspley Henry. L/Cpl. 7th Bat. (d.8th Jan 1916)
- Bell William James Alfred. Pte. 8th Btn. (d.18th May 1917)
- Christie Paul Norman Jones. 2nd Lt. 1st Btn. C Coy (d.9th Oct 1917)
- Clark Sidney Charles. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.23rd Apr 1917)
- Collings-Wells John Stanhope. Lt.Col. 4th Btn. (d.27th March 1918)
- Cornell William James. Pte. 15th Battalion (d.14th Oct 1918)
- Crook Clarence George. Pte. 1st/7th Btn. (d.25th Nov 1916)
- Dawbon George William. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.1st July 1916)
- Dickinson David. Pte. 3rd Btn.
- Eales Sidney Harris. Bmdr. 156th Brigade, 'C' Battery (d.27th April 1917)
- Easey William Reginald. Pte. 4th Battalion
- Ellis Ernest Dennis. Lt. 4th Btn. (d.27th Sep 1918)
- Fortune Albert. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.6th Nove 1918)
- Franklin Ernest Arthur. Sgt. 4th Btn. (d.3rd Nov 1917)
- Galvin John. Cpl. 1st Btn.
- Gardiner Frank Cecil. Cpl. 2nd Bn (d.28th Mar 1918)
- Goodman Joseph. 9th Btn. (d.11th Aug 1917)
- Harlock Fredrick. Pte. 6th Btn.
- Hedges Frederick William. 2nd Lt. 6th Btn.
- Henry James George. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.5th Sep 1916)
- Horne Arthur. Pte. 6th Btn.
- Jay Albert Charles. Sgt.
- Leland Walter Alfred. Lt. 1st Btn. (d.4th Jun 1915)
- Lillywhite Horace Willie. Pte. 3rd Btn. (d.31st March 1916)
- Logan Arthur. Lt. 2nd Btn.
- Needham Samuel. Pte. 1/5th Btn. (d.4th Nov 1918)
- Odell Arthur William. Pte. 8th Battalion (d.25th Sep 1916)
- Osgood Albert William. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.30th July 1916)
- Page William George. Pte. 7th Btn.
- Pateman Richard George. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.19th Nov 1914)
- Rackley Alfred. Pte 6th btn (d.7th Oct 1917)
- Richardson Alfred Reginald. Cpl. 8th Btn (d.20th Dec 1915)
- Richardson Thomas George. Pte. 6th Battalion (d.17th Jul 1916 )
- Slater Geoffrey. Pte. (d.31st July 1916)
- Smallwood Rowland. Pte. 2nd Battalion
- Sturgess Robert Edward. Pte 2nd Btn. (d.10th Nov 1914)
- Tennant John Amherst. Capt. 10th Bn. attd. 1st Bn Border Regiment (d.22nd Aug 1915)
- Thurlow Percy. Pte. 1st/5th Btn. (d.20th July 1917.)
- Thurlow Percy. Pte. 1/5th Btn. (d.20th Jul 1917)
- Willett Richard. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.30th Oct 1914)
- Wills Alfred George. Cpl. 4th Battalion (d.27th August 1918)
All names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List
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Pte. Clarence George Crook 1st/7th Btn. Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) (d.25th Nov 1916)Clarance Crook was killed in action on the 25th of November 1916, aged 19 and is buried in the Foncquevillers Military Cemetery in France. He was the son of Frederick and Maria Crook, of New St., Wall Heath, Dudley, Staffs. He worked as a gardener before the wars flynn
Lt.Col. John Stanhope Collings-Wells VC, DSO. 4th Btn. Bedfordshire Regiment (d.27th March 1918)John Collings-Wells was killed in action on the 27th of March 1918 and is buried in Bouzincourt Ridge Cemetery, France. He was the son of Arthur and Caroline Mary Collings-Wells, of Brand's House, Hughenden, High Wycombe, Bucks.
An extract from The London Gazette, dated 23rd April, 1918, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery, skilful leading and handling of his battalion in very critical situations during a withdrawal. When the rearguard was almost surrounded and in great danger of being captured, Lieutenant Colonel Collings-Wells, realising the situation, called for volunteers to remain behind and hold up the enemy whilst the remainder of the rearguard withdrew, and with his small body of volunteers held them up for one and half hours until they had expended every round of ammunition. During this time he moved freely amongst his men guiding and encouraging them, and by his great courage undoubtedly saved the situation. On a subsequent occasion, when his battalion was ordered to carry out a counter-attack, he showed the greatest bravery. Knowing that his men were extremely tired after six days' fighting, he placed himself in front and led the attack, and even when twice wounded refused to leave them but continued to lead and encourage his men until he was killed at the moment of gaining their objective. The successful results of the operations were, without doubt, due to the undaunted courage exhibited by this officer."s flynn
Pte. Arthur William Odell 8th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment (d.25th Sep 1916)Arthur William Odell was born on 17 April 1892, in Marston Moreteyne, Bedfordshire. His was a family struggling with extreme poverty. He was one of 14 children, only 7 of whom survived infancy, the others succumbing to malnutrition in the first months of their lives. His father, Charles, was a farm labourer, his mother, Ada, a dress maker. His elder brother, Albert had left home by the age of 15, to become an apprentice tailor in Luton.
In 1907, the family suffered a heavy blow, losing their father to a debilitating illness. Arthur was the oldest remaining son, and the main support for his mother, his two older sisters, and 3 younger brothers. He worked in the nearby brick yards from an early age.
Between 23rd and 25th October 1915, he enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment at Ampthill, and was assigned to ‘C’ Company, 8th Battalion. Initially he would have gone for training in Surrey. The earliest he would have been sent to France was February 1916, though it is more likely that he went a couple of months later. The strongest possibility is that he went, with other reinforcements, after the heavy hand-to-hand fighting of the night of 19th/20th April 1916, during which the 8th Battalion had suffered very heavy casualties. The first of these reinforcements arrived in France on 13th May.
He would have been involved in the front line action on 15th September 1916, the first time the new ‘tanks’ were put into use – his Company was running down the right hand side of the leading ‘tank’. An extract from the Battalion war diary for this date reads –
‘15 September – major offensive against German lines, which went badly wrong, causing heavy casualties. Late in the day, 8th Bn was withdrawn to reserve trenches south east of Guillemont.’ 122 names of those killed in action on this date are recorded, including Henry Charles Randall, a close friend of the family; Charles Whittington, Alfred Two, John Jellis, Leonard Hardy, Herbert Hare, Philip Evans and Arthur Busby – all locals who would have been known to the family at home.
In Arthur’s final letter home to his mother he is said to have written that he did not think he would survive much longer, because the artillery fire was so bad. He was killed on the night of 25th September 1916 at Morval, aged 24. The Battalion war diary has the following entry for this date – ‘25 September – trenches between Morval to Lesboeufs. Battalion in reserve to 16IB in attack on German lines between Morval and Les Boeff. Attack commenced at 12.35pm and Battalion moved up to original front line when second objective had been taken about 2.35pm. Casualties from enemy barrage very slight. Attack proved successful and many prisoners were taken. At night Battalion furnished carrying parties to front line Battalion with ammunition and water. C Platoon detached to 1/London Coy RE as working party in captured trenches. C Coy suffered very heavily from enemy shell fire.’ Only one of C Company, 8th Battalion’s 23 dead on this evening is recorded as having been identified and buried in a marked grave. All others are only remembered on the memorial at Thiepval. Photographs of Morval on the morning of the 25th September show it was a clear, sunny, dry day.
Unfortunately, his name has been engraved incorrectly on the village war memorial, the Parish Church memorial plaque, and the Stewartby Brickworks plaque – all of which read ‘A J Odell’ rather than ‘A W Odell’.
My great-uncle Arthur was the person who started my family history search, after the death of my last grandparent in 1998. I had a need to ‘resurrect’ him, as all who knew him had now gone. The only thing I knew at the start was that he was my paternal grandfather’s older brother, that he had died in the war, and that his name was wrong on the war memorial (I have corrected this on the Roll of Honour website). My father told me that he had asked about his lost uncle more than once, but his father would just sit and cry, so he was unable to offer any more information. I discovered a small, black-bordered ‘In Remembrance’ card amongst some of my grandmother’s papers, which gave me his full name and date of death, so I sent off to ask for copies of his army records. This was when I found out that Arthur’s service and pension records were destroyed in the Blitz. I began in the days when there was little available on the internet, but after 12 years of hunting and letter writing, and occasional checks for new, relevant websites, I finally managed to put his wartime service story together.
During this time I was also looking for a photograph, something I dearly wanted to find, but with no luck. Then, many years later when sorting through my grandmother’s old, pre-marriage birthday cards, looking in particular for those written by family members, I found two photographs of a soldier in the uniform of the Bedfordshire Regiment tucked inside one. The resemblance to my grandfather as a young man in his 20s was striking, and having checked the other brothers on both sides of my grandparent’s families, and their cousins who were also of an age to serve, I managed to rule out every single one except for Arthur. Therefore I have no doubt that these photos are of Arthur and that my grandmother had kept them hidden away, not wanting them out to cause upset, but keeping them safely among her own memories.Lilias Odell
Lt. Ernest Dennis Ellis 4th Btn. Bedfordshire Regiment (d.27th Sep 1918)Lt Ernest Ellis was killed in action on the 27th of September 1918, whilst leading his company across the Canal du Nord, France and is interred in the British Cemetery, Noeuvres. He was the youngest beloved son of David A. Ellis and Annie Ellis. Aged 25 years.s flynn
Lt. Walter Alfred Leland 1st Btn. Royal Dublin Fusiliers (d.4th Jun 1915)The only known WW1 casualty on my family tree, Walter Leland was born on 3rd of March 1893 in Liverpool, the first child of Alfred and Eugenie (nee Gollin), and was registered as Walter Alfred Lazarus. He was educated at Charterhouse where he was a crack rifle shot, winning several medals for the rifle club. He moved to Sydney in 1912, to join the Australian firm of Gollin and Son for his planned career in 'commercial pursuits'. On the outbreak of war he immediately decided to return to England on the first outgoing steamer, the SS Demosthenes from Brisbane.
He was given a commission as Temporary 2nd Lieutenant in November, 1914, initially attached to the 10th Battalion Bedfordshires. For some months his regiment was stationed at Harwich, on the east coast. It was then sent to the White City, in London for further training. After a brilliant result of competitive examination in musketry, etc., he obtained his lieutenancy in April 1915.
He left for Gallipoli Peninsula in May, attached to the 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Lieutenant Leland was at Gabà Tepè only four days. On 4th June, the day after his arrival he was ordered to advance up the Nullah at the head of his section. On turning a bend they cut through wire entanglements and came on hidden Turkish guns, the fire from which killed almost the entire section, Lieutenant Leland falling with the rest. Only a few survived the action, and the trench which they were seeking was not taken until three weeks afterwards. His body was recovered and buried at Gallipoli on 28th June. His name appears on the Helles memorial, and also on the family plaque at Golders Green crematorium.
Lieutenant Leland was very musical, and the writing of music and verse were his principal hobbies.Helen
Pte. Percy Thurlow 1/5th Btn. Bedfordshire Regiment (d.20th Jul 1917)Percy Thurlow is buried in the Gaza War Cemetery in Gaza.S. Flynn
Capt. John Amherst Tennant 10th Bn. attd. 1st Bn Border Regiment Bedfordshire Regiment (d.22nd Aug 1915)John Amherst Tennant died of wounds on the 22nd August 1915, aged 26 and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey. He was the son of John and Margaret Croom Tennant of 19 The Boltons, South Kensington, London and was born on the 27th of March 1889. He was educated at Harrow School and London University where he received at Bsc. in Mechanical and Civil Engineering in 1911. Following his graduation he was employed by the Egyptian Government Irrigation Service at Tatah in the delta and later Luxor in upper Egypt.
With the outbreak of war he returned to England and was given a Commission in the Bedfordshire Regiment and was gazetted Captain in February 1915. In June 1915 Captain Tennant was attached to the 1st Border Regiment and was sent with a draft of 80 men to Gallipoli. He participated in the heavy fighting at Gully Ravine on June 28, 1915. Captain Tennant was fatally wounded about 5 pm on 21 August leading Coy. A, 1st Borders, during the final futile assault on Scimitar Hill at Suvla Bay. He was evacuated to the hospital ship HMHS Rewa offshore and died of his wounds the next day. Captain Tenant was buried at sea shortly thereafter.
His brother William was killed in action the preceding May at the battle of Festubert and the family's third son Hugh Vincent died in Spain in 1927 from the effects of gas shell poisoning received in the Great War.s flynn
L/Cpl. Henry Aspley 7th Bat. Bedfordshire Regiment (d.8th Jan 1916)Henry Aspley volunteered in September 1914, he was engaged on Coastal Defence duties for a time, and crossed to the Western Front in the following year. In this theatre of war he served as a bomb-thrower and fought in many fiercely contested battles including those at Ypres and Loos.
He gave his life for freedom of England whilst on night patrol in the Loos sector on January 8th 1916. He was entitled to the 1914 -1915 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals.Robert Curtis
Pte. Percy Thurlow 1st/5th Btn. Bedfordshire Regiment (d.20th July 1917.)Percy Thurlow died on the 20th July 1917 and is buried in the Gaza War Cemetery in Gaza.s flynn
Pte. Fredrick Harlock 6th Btn. Bedfordshire RegimentI have Fredrick Harlock's service medal which I believe was given to my grandmother who kept house for his brother or cousin. He was wounded and had to leave the army.Derrick Mason
Pte. William James Alfred Bell 8th Btn. Bedfordshire Regiment (d.18th May 1917)My Grandfather was Private William James Alfred Bell of the 8th Btn., Bedfordshire Regiment, who was wounded at Arras. He was the Son of Mr. & Mrs Walter Bell of Barnet Herts. So far I have not been able to establish exactly when and where he was wounded but have discovered that he was transferred to the Hospital in Calais and died there on Friday 18th May 1917. He is buried in the Calais Southern Cemetery. He died aged 35 leaving his wife and two sons aged 2 and 3 years old.Jeff Bell
Pte. William George Page 7th Btn. Bedfordshire RegimentMy great uncle William Page survived the war, but was gassed. He belonged to the regiment known as 'The Shiny Seventh' along with most of the young men from the area. He was given compassionate leave in 1916 to attend the funeral of his five-year-old brother Hubert who had died of Diphtheria. There was an epidemic in Biggleswade, and almost every family in the town lost a child. I found William's name in an article from the Biggleswade Chronicle which reported the funeral. His father, also William Page, was a well-known local figure, a dairyman and milkman. He re-joined his regiment to find many had been killed during recent engagements.Penelope Coles
Sgt. Albert Charles JayI have just found my Grandfathers service record and it has created more questions because I don't understand the Army lingo. He was Albert Charles Jay who joined the 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment in 1914, he actually left in December 1914. In May 1916 he joined the army again for the duration of the war, he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps on the 31st March 1918 as a Corporal and became Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918 and they are the service papers I found. He was a Private when he left the Army and a Sergeant when the war ended. His Classification is listed as Disciplinarian, I dread to think what that means. I can't find out where he was or what he did during the war, he was supposed to have gone overseas but I can't see any info on that. I have two photos of him , which I will post on here. In a group where he is a Sergeant so I am assuming that was the RFC and on his own but in a different looking uniform. If any one can give me any information about what he would have done in the Army before the transfer or what his duties as a Disaplinarian in the RAC would have been, I would be very grateful.
Editor's Note: Private Albert Charles Jay served with the 8th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment until 31st December 1914 and re-enlisted on the 31st May 1916 (Army unit not stated). He transferred into the Royal Flying Corps on the 31st March 1918. The Royal Flying Corps was renamed the Royal Air Force on the 1st April 1918. He was promoted Corporal and transferred to the Royal Air Force. He was promoted acting Sergeant (unpaid) on the 1st August 1918 and promoted Sergeant on the 25th Sep 1918. He was posted to C&S Upavon Dispersal Area on the 27th July 1919 for discharge, discharged to RAF Reserve in August 1919. Cannot find any record of the type of work he did or the army unit he served in from 1916 until move to RAF. In civilian life he had been a horse keeper at MICE(?) Railway. [Can find no reference to this historically] On his Marriage certificate - married on 4th August 1912 to Abigail Eliza Willson - his occupation is described as store keeper. Occupation in 1911 census was labourer. Quite a few of his siblings worked on the railways. Father was William Jay. Family lived in Islington area from Albert's birth in 1888.June Whitehouse
Pte. Albert Fortune 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment (d.6th Nove 1918)Albert Fortune served with the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire RegimentVincent Fortune
Pte Alfred Rackley 6th btn Bedfordshire Regiment (d.7th Oct 1917)Alfred Rackley was my great uncle, born Croxley Green, Hertfordshire.
Editor's Note:- At the time of his death, the 6th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment were part of the 37th Division which was involved in the 3rd Battle of Ypres. The war diary for the Battalion records that, on that day, they lost 10 O.R. (other ranks) killed and 15 O.R. wounded through artillery shelling. Alfred is interred at Hooge Crater Cemetery.Mr Allen
Pte Robert Edward Sturgess 2nd Btn. Bedfordshire Regiment (d.10th Nov 1914)Robert Sturgess was born in 1883 in Northampton and was the husband of Alice Sturgess, of 19, Byfield Road, St. James' End, Northampton. He was the father of Elsie. He was described in the 1911 census as a Fitter Up Rough Stuff and his wife as a Shoe Machinist.
He was 33 at the time of his death. His Battalion war diary States "10th November 1914; the 2nd Battalion spend a day digging trenches in the woods around their position, losing two men to shelling." He was presumably one of the two. He is buried in Bois-Guillaume Communal Cemetery,Rouen.Stuart Crofts
Pte. Arthur Horne 6th Btn. Bedfordshire RegimentThe following information about my grandfather, Arthur Horne, has been passed down to me:
Arthur Horne was born in Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire on 25th February 1885. He volunteered in October 1915, leaving behind his wife Ruth, pregnant with my mother Mary Irene (Rene), and four other children; Hilda, Gladys, Fred (Jim) and Florence (Floss).
The following January he was drafted to France where he served until the termination of hostilities. During this time he fought at Ypres, the Somme, Arras and Cambrai where he was reported missing. He was found in a French hospital having been badly gassed. He was the only survivor of a platoon on two occasions and once became stranded behind German lines where he was sheltered by a Belgian family until he was able to return to his regiment. After the Armistice was signed, he advanced into Germany with the Army of Occupation. He was demobilised in February 1919 and holds the General Service and Victory medals.
He lived until the age of 96 leaving six daughters, five sons, thirteen grandchildren and nineteen great-grandchildren. He died in Luton in December 1981.Hilary Ashby
Pte. Samuel Needham VC. 1/5th Btn. Bedfordshire Regiment (d.4th Nov 1918)Samuel Needham served with the 1/5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment and died on the 4th November 1918, Age: 33. He is buried in the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. He was the son of Septimus and Mary Needham, of Grimsby.
An extract from The London Gazette, No. 30982, dated 29th Oct., 1918, records the following:-
For most conspicuous bravery and initiative when with a strong patrol which was heavily attacked by the enemy and forced back in confusion. At this critical moment Pte. Needham ran back and fired rapidly at a body of the enemy at point-blank range. His action checked the enemy and enabled the patrol commander to reorganise his men. The patrol had many casualties, but successfully got back all their wounded, and it was due to the action of individuals, of which this is the most outstanding, that the entire patrol was not cut off. Pte. Needham's example was of the greatest value at a critical moment, and the bold and determined stand made by him did more than anything to inspire confidence, and undoubtedly saved a critical situation.S Flynn
Pte. James George Henry 1st Btn. Bedfordshire Regiment (d.5th Sep 1916)James George Henry who died aged 27 was born in Jarrow in 1888. He was the son of Eliza Sarah Henry (nee Robson) of 84 Croft Terrace Jarrow and the late Thomas Edward W. Henry. James George Henry age 22 Cabinet Maker in Shipyard is with his parents Thomas Edward W. and Eliza Henry and family at Jarrow on the 1911 census.
James is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial and is commemorated on the Triptych in St. Paul's Church Jarrow.Vin Mullen
Pte. Thomas George Richardson 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment (d.17th Jul 1916 )Thomas ricradson was born in Ravenstone and enlisted in Bedford, he was resident at Weston Underwood. Thomas died of wounds and lies in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L'Abbe, Somme, France. His date of death on the War Memorial in Ravenstone Church is given as 24th of July 1916.Paul Mills
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