The Bedfordshire Regiment in the Great War
1914 War Diary
[Note that all remarks in squared brackets are my own additions and not part of the original text]
War Diary for October 1914
4 Oct 1914 - Southampton LYNDHURST 3 p.m. Verbal order from Staff Captain that 1st Train load to be ready to move 4.30 p.m. LYNDHURST Road STN. 5 p.m. S.P. 1st Train load passed. SOUTHAMPTON Dock Gates. 8.45 pm. 1st Train load arrives. S.S.Winifredian. 11 p.m. 1st Trainload embarkation completed Southampton Dock Gates. 9 p.m. 2nd Trainload arrived, remained in sheds till following morning. For diary of 2nd Train load embarked on S.S.Cornishman see - 2
5 Oct 1915 - S.S.Winifredian 8 A.M.? Left Southampton steamed to Dover [10 P.M.] instructions to proceed towards CALAIS & DUNKIRK. Recalled by wireless off Ostend.
6 Oct 1914 4.30AM. Off DOVER. 6 A.M. Entered DOVER HARBOUR. Took on board 1 days supply for men & horses. 9 p.m. Left Harbour DOVER.
7 Oct 1914 - Ste.Croix near Bruges 3.20AM. Stopped off Zee brugge. 6.30AM. Entered harbour & disembarked ships crew worked badly in getting alongside & delayed greatly unloading wagons. BRUGES 4 p.m. by train. St.CROIX 5 p.m. by march route from STN.BRUGES. Into Billets. men in cavalry granary, officers in houses near by. Granary not too sanitary. Latrine accommodation scanty. 6 p.m. 2nd Train load arrived. 12.30 AM. Transport arrived by march route.
8 Oct 1914 - Clemskerke 4.30 AM. Stood to Arms. 7 AM. Left St.CROIX. CLEMSKERKE. 6.30 pm. Bn. bivouaced in Bde.
9 Oct 1914 - Assebruck CLEMSKERKE, BRUGES 8.30 AM. Marched with 2 Yorks.Regt. to direct road. Belgian Artillery from ANTWERP & wounded; Household Cav.Bde. seen in Market Square. Also armed motor with Maxim. ASSEBRUCK. 3 p.m. Partly Billets & partly Bivouacs. Heavy rain during night.
10 Oct 1914 - Trois Rois STEENBRUGGE Ry.STN. 3.30 p.m. Marched as right flank guard to column as far as TROIS ROIS Billeted except 1 Coy.
11 Oct 1914 Rested
12 Oct 1914 7.40 AM. to S.P. BEERNEM Ry.Stn. 8.5 AM. COOLSCAMP. 3.0 p.m. Billeted in Works of Societ Anonyne la Flandre Pea canning factory. 4.30p.m. "Taube" flew over.
13 Oct 1914 - Roulers-Beuerns Station 6.30 AM. "Taube" reported by Outposts. 2.30 p.m. Commenced march as rear guard. ROULERS - BEUERNS STATION. 9 p.m.-9.30pm. Tedious march. Checks caused by Div.Train & Troops Billeting. Wet. 1 Cos.on Outposts.
14 Oct 1914 - Ypres 7.30AM. BEUERNS STN. Left for S.P. in 8.15 AM. ROULERS 9.30AM. Commenced march. 5.15pm. to Billets S.W. of Town on BAILLEUL ROAD. 8 p.m.
15 Oct 1914 - Menin Road near Zillebeke 11 AM. left Billets under B.M.40 order. on arrival at square near Station. Battn. ordered to take up & entrench a position on line ROAD road [sic] running S.S.W. just W. of 3 Kil. on YPRES-MENIN Rd. to Zillebeke. MENIN Rd. exclusive ZILLEBEKE inclusive. 1 p.m. The Battn. relieved 80 Rgt. (French) on this line. 8 p.m. Battn. continued digging etc. till after dark. 10.50 pm. Battn. ordered to march on.
16 Oct 1914 - Gheluvelt 9.30 AM. Entered village. 11.20 AM. B.M.56 explaining situation. 2.30 PM. Ordered to Billet. 9.10 PM. B.M.64 no move.
17 Oct 1914 No movement. Battn. in Brigade Reserve.
18 Oct 1914 - Menin Road between Gheluvelt and Gheluwe The Battn. formed up on POEZELHOEK-BECELAIRE Road facing S.E. & advanced towards 10 Kilo stone on YPRES-MENIN Road. On nearing the road on coming over a rise we were fired on by rifle fire. Advancing further & astride we came under shrapnel fire. A Company lost 2/Lieut.C.O.Bell [Charles Ockley BELL] killed & Captains F.M.BASSETT [Francis Marshall BASSETT, OBE] & Wolff [Cecil Henry WOLFF] & Lieutenant Horsford [Thomas Gavin Moor HORSFORD] wounded - other casualties 1 sergeant & 1 man killed 21 other ranks wounded 2 other ranks missing. After this action the Battalion drew back slightly & entrenched a position with its right on 10th Kilo MENIN Road in touch on right side with 20th Bde. on left with R.S.F.
19 Oct 1914 - Gheluvelt Improved trenches. The Division was ordered to attack MENIN. The 22nd Bde. were hard pressed & withdrew. The 21st Bde. covered their withdrawal. The Battalion left the trenches as dusk & returned to GHELUVELT. The Battalion was in Brigade Reserve & billeted in the village. The Bde. held line from 9 Kilo MENIN ROAD through POEZELHOEK to NORDWESTHOEK. Yorkshire R. on the right R.S.F. in centre & Wiltshire Regt. on left.
20 Oct 1914 - near Veldhoek Battalion held trenches of R.S.F.& Wilts R. while these Regiments were supporting the left flank of a Reconnaissance by 20th Bde. Battn. returned to trench in Reserve. The trenches were round & near Track junction between 7 kilo & K. of VELDHOEK. Ref.Map 1/100000. There was heavy firing during the night which was unnecessary.
21 Oct 1914 About 2 p.m. Battalion ordered to move to ZONNEBEKE to reinforce 22nd Brigade. Arrived at level Crossing, reported, stayed about one hour & returned as the German attack had been repulsed. As we were leaving our trenches they were shelled fairly heavily, one platoon of C. Company Lt.Paine [Douglas Mortlake PAINE] being unable to leave its trench. The Battalion was also shelled on the way to ZONNEBEKE.
22 Oct 1914 Early in the morning 2 platoons of D Company which had reinforced R.S.Fusiliers came back & were shelled. Lieutenant Fernandez [Dudley Lius de Tavora FERNANDEZ] was killed. Late in the day Battalion started to reinforce 22nd Brigade at ZONNEBEKE, but were met half way by Major Ian Stewart, General Staff, & ordered back as we were not required. On return to Reserve trenches one Company "C" was ordered up on right of Fusiliers. It did not attack but dug a trench during the night.
23 Oct 1914 early in the morning C Company advanced to fill gap between R.S.Fusiliers right & Yorkshire R. left. It was allowed to advance nearly to bend in POEZELHOEK Road when it came under heavy rifle & machine gun fire & was not able to maintain its position. Lieutenant Wright [George Drennan Cron WRIGHT] was killed during this advance & there were heavy casualties amongst the men. Later in the day orders were received to fill the gap. B Company was ordered to do this & moving via West end of GHELUVELT under heavy shell fire advanced. Advancing further it came under heavy rifle & machine gun fire but advanced to edge of wood behind Yorkshire R. left & maintained its position. The losses were severe Captain Patron [Alfred Joseph PATRON] and Lieut.Hopkins [Eric Arthur HOPKINS] being wounded during this operation. During this operation which was well executed by Captain Patron [Alfred Joseph PATRON], the C.O. advanced with Battalion H.Q. through GHELUVELDT to personally interview O.C.Yorkshire Regt. in order to ascertain the situation on the Yorkshire Regt. left. After the interview the C.O. moved along BECELAERE Road towards POEZELHOEK until B Company was found in touch with Yorkshire Regts left. The gap was now filled & was consolidated during the night. The following hand sketch shows positions held 23/24 Oct.1914. [not attached]
24 Oct 1914 Improved trenches. Desultory rifle fire all day, several heavy bursts of firing during the night by the Germans which was not replied to.
25 Oct 1914 Battalion ordered to cooperate with an attack on BECELAERE. Attack delayed till late in afternoon. About 5 p.m. the Battalion advanced from its trenches. The movement was practically a wheel to the right. C Company was in touch with Guards on the left but touch was lost between C & D Companies. As the orders strictly enjoined that touch was on no account to be lost with Yorkshire Regt. as soon as B Co. was out if its trenches and at right angles to them, the C.O. gave the order to halt until the situation was cleared up on our left. The enemy fired on B Company twice, the second time inflicted several casualties. The men behaved with great steadiness. It was quite dark during this operation. Orders were eventually received that the attack was suspended & all Companies reoccupied their trenches. There were at least two burning houses (one Battalion H.Q. which had been shelled during the day & set alight) behind us as we advanced.
26 Oct 1914 The Battalion remained holding its trenches as shown in sketch [not attached]. Battalion H.Q. was established in farm near Chateau & moved into C Coys. big trench during the day. 10.30 A.M. Captain A.G.Hall [Arthur Gordon HALL] was shot by a sniper. Captain W.E.Wetherall [William Ernest May WETHERALL] took command of the company (D). Lieut.W.Bastard [William BASTARD] was also shot in the same way on this day. During the morning instructions were received that Guards Brigade were to attack BECELAERE. They advanced under heavy shell fire but did not get beyond our line of trenches. The Battalion had orders to advance of the guards right flank after they had gone through our line. D Company did move out of its trenches to the woods behind B Company. But as the advance was held up, late in the afternoon it reoccupied its trenches. Lieut.W.Bastard [William BASTARD] buried by Capt.R.L.Thom [Richard L. THOM] on the N. edge of the wood S. of the road junction at the foot of the BECELAERE hill, in the centre of N edge on W. of road, close to the bend of the road. Captain A.G.Hall [Arthur Gordon HALL], probably near the above, to the N.Westwards. Orders were received that the 1st Scots Guards were to relieve the Battalion in the trenches. It was not till early in the morning of 27th that this relief was completed. Lieut.D.G.C.Thomson [Donald Godrid Campbell THOMSON] & 20 N.C.O. & men 1st reinforcements arrived.
27 Oct 1914 - between Zandvoorde Chateau and Menin Road The Battalion assembled after the relief & bivouaced at VELDHOEK & at about 9.30 A.M. moved back to bivouac in a wood at HOOGE. At 7 p.m. the Battalion moved up again to take up the left flank of a Brigade line from ZANDEVOORDE [sic] Chateau to 9 Kilo stone on MENIN-YPRES Road. The Battalion relieved the Black Watch & held the line A Company on the right - B Company - C Company - D Company in reserve. A certain amount of digging in was done as the line allotted to the Battalion did not allow sufficient room for the men.
28 Oct 1918 - Zandvoorde-Gheluvelt Road The Battalion remained in position till dusk when it was relieved. The enemy shelled the front line vigorously most of the day & also searched the ground in rear, shelling Battn.H.Q.& reserve company. A Company suffered most, one platoon had their trench, an old redoubt, blown in on it, the men having to be dug out. An attack was expected during the day; to be delivered by the 27 German Reserve Corps on the Cross Roads where our left rested. This attack however was not delivered. After the relief was effected the Battalion moved through GHELUVELT along ZANDEVOORDE Road & took up position, in trenches dug by Royal Welch Fusiliers, on right of our Brigade line. R.S.Fusiliers on our left and 7th Cavalry Bde. on our right. D. Company on battalion right, C Company on left B & A Companies in support.
29 Oct 1914 The night 28/29 was spent in digging support & improving fire trenches. The morning was misty. There was heavy firing on either side of Battalion but no attack from in front. In the afternoon the Battalion was ordered to advance to assist in a counter attack. The Battalion to be on right of Yorkshire Regt. 22nd Brigade on Battalion's right. The Battalion left the trenches & came under heavy shell fire. The latter was particularly annoying & broke up the advance. The Battalion Machine guns under Captain Botfield [Charles Sidney GARNETT-BOTFIELD] did excellent work in covering our advance & keeping down the enemy machine gun fire. Further annoyance was caused by the enemy's machine guns as the Battalion advanced as these had apparently been left when the German infantry had been driven back & lay concealed. We were unable to fire back at them as we were told that the Queens R.W.Surrey Regt. were in front of us; these hostile machine guns were as far as could be ascertained between us & the Queens Regt. The Battn. was now somewhat scattered and intermingled with other Regts. During the early part of the night the Battalion was assembled & orders received that it was to go into Brigade Reserve. The trenches held by the Battalion during the day were taken over by the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The night was very wet. The casualties during this day were very severe. Lieutenant E.E.Punchard [Edmund Elgood PUNCHARD] killed, Captain W.Wetherall [William Ernest May WETHERALL] wounded. Lieut.Huntriss [Harold Edward HUNTRISS] wounded. Lieut.Kuhn [Alfred Edgar KUHN] wounded. Lieut.Inskip [Samuel Percival INSKIP] wounded. Lieut.Whittemore [Frederick WHITTEMORE] wounded Lieut.Small [Edward SMALL] wounded The Battalion took up a position behind a wood in rear of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. 2/Lieut.B.H.Waddy [Bentley Herbert WADDY, MC] Gloucester Regt, & 2 Lt.H.Innes [Edward Henry INNES] Middlesex Regt. joined the Battalion on this date.
30 Oct 1914 - Gheluveldt-Zandvoorde Road The Battalion came under shell fire in the early morning. As trenches had not been dug during the night the Battalion took shelter in ditches and became a little dispersed. 7.30 A.M. the 7 Cavalry Brigade was driven from ZANDEVOORDE this left our right exposed. The Germans occupied ZANDEVOORDE at 10 A.M. a hostile battery came out into the open about 900 yards away from Brigade & farm where Battn.H.Q. had been established & opened fire. This enfiladed the Battalion & a line was formed under facing ZANDEVOORDE [sic]. The hostile battery in the open was quickly silenced. The occupation of ZANDEVOORDE [sic] placed the Germans on the right rear of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, whose trenches were taken. This exposed the right flank of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. At 12.45 p.m. orders were received for the Brigade to retire. The Battalion with the R.S.F. were ordered to cover the retirement. As the R.S.F. drew back in line with the Battalion the S.Lancashire Regt. advanced through the R.S.F. to endeavour to assist to bring back part of the R.S.F. This however they failed to do & returned. A line was taken up at dusk behind the GHELUVELDT-ZANDEVOORDE Road & digging commenced. The Companies were somewhat intermingled. The Battalion was in touch with 22nd Brigade on the Right R.S.F. on the left. Nos.13 & 14 Platoons D.Coy. went forward & eventually were in trenches on left of R.S.F., and between them & R.S.F., The two platoons retired with R.S.F., with part of Captain Whigham's Coy.
31 Oct 1914 - near Inverness Copse Early in the morning about 2.30 A.M. orders were received to occupy a small fir wood about 250 yards in front of our line which was then held by L.North Lancs.R. Captain Lemon [Arthur Buche LEMON] & 2 platoons of C Company were ordered to hold this position. This wood had been subjected to heavy shell fire from two sides during the previous day. Shell fire started as soon as it was light. It soon became evident that the enemy were advancing in force on the left of the wood held by Captain Lemon [Arthur Buche LEMON] & also on the right. The Adjutant went to report the situation to Brigade H.Q.& almost immediately on his return to Battalion H.Q. 2 orderlies arrived with an order from the Brigadier to retire fighting towards MENIN-YPRES Road. Part of the Battalion moved back in compliance of this order. An order was sent to Captain Lemon [Arthur Buche LEMON] to retire from the fir wood upon the Battalion. Part of the Battalion remained in the trenches till late in the afternoon about 4.30 p.m. when they were brought back & established a line which they held till relieved on Nov.5/6. The losses were very severe on this day. The C.O. Major J.M.Traill [John Murray TRAILL] & 2nd in Command Major R.P.Stares [Robert Percy STARES] remained in the trenches & were shot at short range. Lieut.Paterson [John Agar PATERSON] was killed in the fir wood. Lieut.Gott [Gilbert Ewart GOTT] was wounded in the Fir wood. Captain A.B.Lemon [Arthur Buche LEMON] was twice wounded in the fir wood & captured. Captain C.S.Garnet Botfield [Charles Sidney GARNETT-BOTFIELD] was severely wounded. 2/Lieut.W.Dixon [William DIXON] wounded. Captain E.H.Lyddon [Ernest Hugh LYDDON] missing [Comment; later assumed KIA]. Lieut.Anderson [Wilfred Cruttenden ANDERSON] missing. The Battalion strength on night October 31st-1st November was 4 officers, 350-400 other ranks. 4 officers were Captain & Adjutant C.C.Foss [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO], 2/Lieut.B.H.Waddy [Bentley Herbert WADDY, MC], Lieut.S.D.Mills [Stephen Douglas MILLS, MC], Transport Officer, Captain & Quarter Master H.Cressingham [Hugh CRESSINGHAM]. [Comment; also killed was Lieutenant Donald Godrid Campbell THOMSON] A short line was taken up and entrenched.
War Diary for November 1914
1 Nov 1914 - near Inverness Copse Line improved. The enemy massed in wood to our front but did not attack. 2/Lieut.G.WILLIAMS-WILSON 5 Middlesex Regt. and 2 Lieut.Carslake [William Bampfield CARSLAKE] 3rd Queens R. & 96 other ranks joined.
2 Nov 1914. The enemy collected in the fir wood in our front & commenced an attack on the right of the Scots Guards but came under our enfilade fire & were driven back.
3 Nov 1914 Enemy shelled our trenches.
4 Nov 1914 Enemy shelled our trenches & farm behind C.Os position. Buried some men and killed one man.
5 Nov 1914 Enemy again shelled from behind C.Os position. Relieved in the evening by 15th Bde. The Cheshire Regt. taking over our trenches & 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regt. taking over those held by Yorkshire Regt. & R.S.F.
6 Nov 1914 - Rue de Lille, Bailleul Marched off from Herentage Chateau at about 2.30 A.M. through YPRES to LOCRE 17 Miles. The men found the march very tiring both on account of their physical condition from being 18 days in the trenches and on account of the mud on the cobbles. Battalion bivouaced at Locre till 2.30 p.m. Got on the march at 3.30 p.m. Arrived in BAILLEUL after dark & went into Billets in RUE de LILLE. Captain J.S.Collings-Wells [John Stanhope COLLINGS-WELLS, VC, DSO] joined Battalion at LOCRE.
7 Nov 1914 Reorganizing. The Battalion were ordered to stand to arms but did not have to move out. Captain C.B.Cumberlege [Cleland Bulstrode CUMBERLEDGE] arrived & took over command of the Battalion from Captain C.C.Foss [Charles Calverley FOSS, VC, DSO]. 20 other ranks also joined.
8 Nov 1914 - Chateau Rossignol, Ploegsteert Refitting. At 2.5 p.m. marched out to PLOEGSTEERT & were in Reserve to Colonel Butler. Occupied dugouts near Chateau ROSSIGNOL.
9 Nov 1914 Improved dugouts. 9.30 p.m. Stood to arms in reserve. Head of Battalion at Chateau on PLOEGSTEERT-MESSINES Road. Bn.H.Q. 200 yards South from Chateau. 1 man was wounded.
10 Nov 1914 7 A.M. returned to dugouts. Wood & Battn.H.Q. was shelled during day. 2 men wounded. Dug trenches by Battn. during the night.
11 Nov 1914 Wood again shelled. Ordered to dig again but order countermanded.
12 Nov 1914 - Bailleul, near Lunatic Asylum 6.30 A.M. marched back to BAILLEUL & went into Billets near Lunatic asylum. Lieut.C.E.G.Shearman [Charles Edward Gowran SHEARMAN, DSO, MC] [and] 119 other ranks joined.
13 Nov 1914 Refitting. L/C H.de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE], Private N.V.Dabell [Norman V. DABELL], H.Willans [Harry WILLANS, DSO, MC], C.H.Brewer [Charles Herbert BREWER], 28 London Artists Rifles joined as probationer officers.
14 Nov 1914 9 A.M. Battalion marched in Brigade to CROIX du BAC & returned to BAILLEUL as no garrison had been left in the latter place.
15 Nov 1914 100 other ranks, joined in Billet at BAILLEUL.
16 Nov 1914 - Sailly-sur-la-Lys Marched to & billeted in SAILLY
17 Nov 1914 - trenches near Fleurbaix 4.30 p.m. Marched out to take over trenches S.W. of FLEURBAIX from Border Regt.
18 Nov 1914 In trenches. Major W.H.Denne [William Henry DENNE, DSO], 2 Bedf.R. took over command of the Battalion from Captain C.B.Cumberlege [Cleland Bulstrode CUMBERLEDGE]. Very pistol & ammunition issued to Bde.
19 Nov 1914 Snow & very cold in trenches.
20 Nov 1914 - Fleurbaix Battalion relieved in the trenches by 2 Bn.Yorkshire Regt. Battalion went into Billets around FLEURBAIX.
21-22 Nov 1914 Billets. Very cold weather. 2/Lt.J.W.F.Wyld [John William Fortesque WYLD] Hampshire Regt. & 94 other ranks joined.
23 Nov 1914 - in trenches near Fleurbaix Battalion relieved Yorkshire Regt. in trenches
24-26 Nov 1914 In the trenches. Special Order of the Day by F.M.C.in C. Relieved by Yorkshire Regt. 7 O.R. joined.
26 Nov 1914 Patrol work done by 2/Lt.H.Willans [Harry WILLANS, DSO, MC] and one man receives congratulations of G.O.C. 7 Div.
27-29 Nov 1914 - Fleurbaix. In billets. Battn. use Div.Baths at SAILLY.
30 Nov 1914 [comment; no entry made]
War Diary for December 1914
1 Dec 1914 - trenches near Fleurbaix. New fire trench commenced by digging. Moonlight. Iron loopholes issued. 2 periscopes issued.
2 Dec 1914 Captain H.C.Jackson [Henry Cholmondeley JACKSON, KCB, CMG, DSO, DL] joined.
3 Dec 1914 - Fleurbaix. In Billets.
4 Dec 1914 The G.O.C. 7 Div, inspected the Battalion on parade with the special purpose of saying a few words to those who had fought at YPRES. He expressed himself satisfied & pleased with the turnout & appearance of the Battalion & glad to see the strength of the Battalion. He reminded us that at Ypres we had been put to a severe test, that of holding the line against 3 times our own numbers & congratulated the Battn. on the way it had behaved especially in view of the fact that so many of the officers had been killed & wounded including the C.O. & 2nd in command. He further reminded us that the enemy must be pushed back before we could consider ourselves the victors & that we must all bear this in mind & he was sure that when the time came we should do credit to the name of the Regiment & the Army.
5 Dec 1914
6-8 Dec 1914 - in trenches In trenches.
9-11 Dec 1914 - Fleurbaix. Billets.
12 Dec 1914 - in trenches In trenches Captain Saner [Albert Elias SANER] & Lieut.Mayne [Robert Sedborough St. George MAYNE] & 30 other ranks joined.
13 Dec 1914 - Fleurbaix. The Battalion was relieved from the trenches. The Right flank & Centre Companies being relieved by Gordon Highlanders 20th Bde. & Left flank by S.Staff.R.22 Bde. A Company (centre) were not actually relieved till 8.30 A.M. Dec.14. The Battalion billeted in old billets around FLEURBAIX.
14 Dec 1914 - le Pont-de-Nieppe the Brigade moved to billets at PONT DE NIEPPE, Battalions moved independently at hour intervals. A.Company followed independently to the Battalion; following later. [Comment: Captain Charles Sidney GARNETT-BOTFIELD died from wounds today]
14-17 Dec 1914 In billets at PONT DE NIEPPE in Corps Reserve to III Corps. The Battalion was to support an attack by 10th Infantry Bde. which did not take place.
18 Dec 1914 - trenches near Fleurbaix The Battalion marched back to FLEURBAIX & went into old billets for the afternoon. The Battalion proceeded to the trenches at dusk & were prepared to support an attack to be delivered by 2 Bn. Yorkshire Regt. from our trenches. C.Company was to take German advanced trench to the right of the Yorkshire Regt. The attack was however countermanded early in morning Dec.19th. the Battalion remained in the trenches.
19 Dec 1914 In trenches. 2/Lieut.Duchesne [H. DUSCHESNE] 3rd Battn.Bedf.R. 2/Lt.W.Hutton-Williams [William HUTTON-WILLIAMS], 3 East Surrey Regt. & 6 other ranks reinforcements.
20 Dec 1914 21 Dec 1914 - Fleurbaix Battn. relieved by 2 Bn.Yorkshire Regt.
22 Dec 1914 FLEURBAIX shelled at night. 10.20pm. Shrapnel bullets entered C.O. & Adjutant's Bedrooms from shell which struck the MAIRIE. No one hurt.
23 Dec 1914 Brigadier inspected drafts. Snowing. Lieut.F.G.C.Ashmead-Bartlett [Francis George Coningsby ASHMEAD-BARTLETT], 4 Battn.Bedf.R. & 2/Lt.F.Powell [Frank POWELL] Indian Army joined.
24 Dec 1914 -in trenches In trenches
25 Dec 1914 Christmas day. "The Truce". The following is the substance of a report forwarded by C.O. to Brigade H.Q. "On evening of 24th Dec.1914 at about 8 p.m. the Germans were singing in their trenches. There were numerous lights on their parapets apparently on Christmas trees. A voice shouted from their trenches & could be distinctly heard "I want to arrange to bury the dead. Will someone come out & meet me". 2/Lt.de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE] went out with 3 men & met 5 Germans the leader of whom spoke excellent English but was not an officer. He said he had lived in Brighton & Canada. This German said they wished to bury about 24 of their dead but would not do so at night as they were afraid of their artillery might open fire and they could not stop them and this would not be fair to us. No arrangement was made at the time. During the conversation the German said he belonged to the 15th Regt. & gave Lt.de Buriatte [Harold de BURIATTE] a postcard with the following information. The addressee was in the 12th Company 3rd Battalion 15 Infantry Regiment 26 Infantry Bde. 7th Army Corps. The men also had 15 on their shoulder straps. The red band round their Caps was covered with grey cloth. This morning 25th inst. at 10 A.M. a German officer and 2 men unarmed came out of their trenches with a white flag and were met by Captain H.C.Jackson [Henry Cholmondeley JACKSON, KCB, CMG, DSO, TL] and asked to be permitted to bury their dead so we said we would not fire till 11.30 A.M. to give them time & this was done. My men had already buried some on night of 24/25. It was noticed that the German trenches were strongly held their being a large number of men sitting on the parapet during the time the bodies were being buried. The men were a young lot from 19-25 years well turned out & clean. I had given strict orders that none of my men were to go towards the enemy's lines without definite orders & that no one except those on duty were to be looking over the parapet. No Germans were allowed to come near our trenches. The German wire was closely inspected & is as previously reported. During the period that no firing was taking place one of my Company Sergeant Majors was speaking to a German when an elderly officer passed. The German said he was the "Divisioner". This German also said they were very comfortable in a nice village behind but did not give the name! He seemed surprised that our troops were not an elderly Reserve class. The general impression was that the Germans had had enough and were anxious for the War to come to an end.
26 Dec 1914 Rumoured attack on 8th Div. Battalion ordered to stand to during night. All quiet.
27 Dec 1914 - Pont-de-la-Justice Relieved by 2 Bn.Yorkshire Regt. Return to billets at PONT DE LA JUSTICE.
28-29 Dec 1914 In billets.
30 Dec 1914 - in trenches In trenches.
31 Dec 1914 The Germans apparently welcomed New Year in by Berlin time as they ran [sic] bells at 11 p.m.
Operational Orders and Appendices October 1914.
10th October. Addenda to 21 Inf.Bde. Standing orders.
1. Bn.Representation at Bde.H.Q.to [be] relieved so that they get their meals.
2. Orderly will be placed outside Door of principal Church to assist details to find their billets when arriving in the dark.
3. Units to take steps to meet their Train Transport & Conduct it to the Billets. 8 p.m. Div.Routine Order No.28.
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