The Bedfordshire Regiment in the Great War
1917 War Diary Appendices
[Note that all remarks in squared brackets are my own additions and not part of the original text]
APPENDIX I MESSAGES OF CONGRATULATIONS.
Following wire has been sent by the Commander in Chief Sir Douglas Haig, to 1st Army begins "aaa My congratulations to you and the troops engaged on the good work done yesterday especially in the capture of GAVRELLE ends aaa".
Headquarters, 190th Infantry Brigade. 29th April, 1917. "I wish to express to the Officers, N.C.Os. and men of the Brigade my high appreciation of the work they have carried out during the last tour of duty in the trenches. In spite of the very heavy casualties units have sustained, objectives have not only been gained but held, thus enabling the Brigade to retain the high reputation which it already holds. I trust C.Os. will acquaint all ranks of the above, and that the past fourteen days may serve as a fresh incentive to the training of the men of the Brigade." (Sd.) W.H.E. Finch Brigadier General, Commanding 190th Infantry Brigade
Appendix 1 to War Diary, Volume X.
The undermentioned were mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig's Despatch, dated the 9th April 1917:
The late Lieut. B.L.S. Frere [Bartle Laurie Stuart FRERE] Killed in action Novmr.13th 1916
2nd Lieut.L.G.Plumbly [Leslie Graham PLUMBLY, MC].
No.5914 Regtl.Sgt.Major W. T. Theobold [William T. THEOBOLD, MC].
No.7873 Coy.Sgt.Major. F.Mart [Frederick Charles MART], Believed Killed in action 29/4/17
The undermentioned were awarded the MILITARY MEDAL in connection with the operations at GAVRELLE:
22494 Pte F. Foster [Thomas FOSTER, MM].
23478 Pte L. Chappell [Leonard CHAPPELL, MM] Wounded 23/4/17
31157 Pte F. Davonport Wounded 23/4/17
The late No.19845 Pte Wiles E. [Edward H. WILES, MM] died of wounds
APPENDIX 1. HONOURS AND AWARDS
THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER. Captain (A/Lt.Col.) J.S.Collings-Wells [John Stanhope COLLINGS-WELLS, VC, DSO]
THE MILITARY CROSS: Captain S.D.Mills [Stephen Douglas MILLS, MC]. T/CAPTAIN P.J.WATKIN, R.A.M.C. attached 4th Bn Bedfordshire Regt.
THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL. No. 8338 Sgt. Jefferies R. [Reuben JEFFERIES, DCM], No. 12930 Pte Beasley R. [Richard BEASLEY, DCM],
THE MILITARY MEDAL. No. 4/7086 Sgt. Harris J. No. 23554 Pte (L/CPL) Wilson F.
[Comment; the Following Messages are between Captain Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC of B Company and other Officers - I came across them mixed up with the 1st Battalion War Diary at the National Archives. See also entries for January 1918]
H.Q. about R.2.b.8.0. For O.C. A & B 1. A & B Coys & H.Q. will proceed at once to the Counter Attack Area & occupy trenches in R.2.a.& c. 2. C & D Coys will occupy trench running north & south through R.2.central & R.2.c.central. 3. A Coy will occupy trench from R.3.a.25.50 - R.3.c.6.8. 4. B Coy will occupy trench from R.3.c.6.8 - R.3.c.90.50. J.H.Blackwell Capt & Adjt
O.C. COY NOBLE in trench L330-R8
Move your company to fill up gap from R.4.a.6.5 - R.4.a.5.0. They will have to consolidate a position there - there is no trench yet. Report at HQ R.4.a.3.3. M.B.Hewitt Lieut.A.Adjt. NOISY for L.Col.comdg. at H.Q. R.4.a.3.3. Artists 30.12.17. 5.45
To OC B Coy
Posts have been working out for some time now and are still progressing. Can I come and see you about this 2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC] Rewired 1 p.m. About
To 2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC]
Come in with Runner. Will send for Hayes & Childs [George Wilmot CHILDS] later, after you have had some food F.T.Spicer Capt. [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] OC B Coy 30-12-17
From O.C. B Coy. NOBLE To Major F.W.F.Lathom.
Repeat to L.Col.J.S.Collings Wells D.S.O. [John Stanhope COLLINGS-WELLS, VC, DSO] I have established communication from HOODS at R.4.c.55.60 (Sunken Road) along Sunken road to About R.4.a.80.45. where I am in touch with 1st ARTISTS. Am consolidating as rapidly as possible, everything is quiet at present. My HQrs will be located at R.4.a.65.60. Please have my rations forwarded here. 30-12-17 8.30.pm F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC]
O C B COY NOBLE
The Hawke Bn is relieving the HOOD Bn tonight & should be starting this by now. The HAWKE will put one platoon into CAMOUFLAGE ROAD on your right to relieve RF's and the HAWKE will relieve all your posts in CABLE TRENCH except the one nearest your end which you will continue to hold. I note what you say about the remainder of the Artists Rifles. J.S.Collings-Wells Lt.Col. [John Stanhope COLLINGS-WELLS, VC, DSO] NOBLE
From O.C. B COY NOBLE to O.C. NOAH
My Coy frontage now is from R.4.c.65.60 to R.4.a.90.80. 30-12-17 8.57 p.m. F.T.Spicer [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] O.C. B Coy NOBLE
From O.C. NOAH To O.C. B Coy NOBLE
Hope soon to send some of my men so as to shorten your line. Will inform you but shall put them in Camouflage road from the HOOD end. F.W.F.Lathom Major 9.15 p.m. 30.12.17
From O.C.B.Coy NOBLE To O.C. NOAH
Am in touch with HOODS. along cable trench at R.4.d.15.85. Have established posts along Cable Trench as ordered. Am sending down for SAA & Bombs. Have you any Very lights? F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] 31-12-17 1.26 a.m. O.C.B Coy. NOBLE
From OC [unreadable] Coy NOBLE To O.C. B. Coy. NOBLE [sic?]
Can you please inform me what time rations will be up. It is essential that I should have them before daylight, after dawn it will be difficult for me to get to all my positions. C.O. informed me that you would cover for me F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] O.C. B.Coy NOBLE
From O C B Coy. To 2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC]
Try and get posts along Cable Trench again as soon as possible, & inform me. Try & keep your positions don't withdraw until you get orders. F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] 31-12-17 8.20 am OC B Coy.
URGENT From OC B Coy.NOBLE To 2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC].
Reoccupy posts along Cable Trench at once HOODS are again retaking their posts along EAGLE AVENUE. Find a Runner & inform me when you have occupied these posts. This must be done. If HOODS are pressed send Bombing Section to help them. 9.5 am 31-12-17 F.T.Spicer Capt. OC B Coy NOBLE
Have established LG post about 60 yds from road up Cable Trench also Bombing post about 40 yds from road. Cannot get any further at present 9.12 am Rewired. 2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC]
From O.C.B.Coy To Adj.NOBLE
A small party of the 1st A.R.s between me & Plumbly have not yet been relieved yet. Plumbly says that he has not sufficient men to relieve them. I cannot thin my line any more, but as soon as my posts along Cable Trench (189 Bde) are relieved I can put them in when the A.R.s. are at present. I have been to see Plumbly and arranged this. 31-12-17 10.16 a.m. F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] OC B Coy.
To OC B Coy.
Posts just got out and retired to road on their own with report of enemy massing for attack on the right of our posts. 2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC] Rewired 10.20 am
From OC B Coy To 2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC]
Ref: your message just received. These posts must again be occupied. These posts should not retire when they see enemy massing, they are sent there to repulse these attacks therefore they must be reoccupied at once. You must also watch your R flank & give HOODS assistance. Camouflage road must be held at all costs F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC]
From O.C. B Coy NOBLE To OC NOAH
Posts are now trying to get back along Cable Trench. 2/Lt Clark reports that the Boche are getting in strength in EAGLE AVENUE about R.[4?]d.40.85. 10.21 am 31-12-17 F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] OC B Coy NOBLE
From O C B Coy. NOBLE To Adj NOBLE
Received your message re Reports. At present I am sending reports to O.C. NOAH but if possible will also forward them on to you. At present we are engaged with the Boch up EAGLE AVENUE, where he is trying to push on. He was seen massing there at 10.20 am. This has been reported to OC NOAH who is asking for Artillery Support. 11.13 am 31-12-17 F.T.Spicer Capt. [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC]
From O.C. B.Coy NOBLE. To 2/Lt Webb
Send one Bombing Section down Sunken road to help HOODS in EAGLE AVENUE. 12 noon 31-12-17 F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] OC B Coy NOBLE
From OC B Coy. NOBLE To O.C. NOAH
Have put one Bombing Section to assist HOODS along EAGLE AVENUE. Have also order [sic] posts to reoccupy Cable Trench as soon as posts are all along Cut Trench will inform you 12.15 p.m. 31-12-17 F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] OC B Coy NOB
From O C B Coy NOBLE. To 2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC]
Continue to push out along Cu[t] trench with all Haste and info[rm] me when this is completed. It is very urgent, as I am wait[ing] to report this to Bn.H.Qrs. I have ordered Webb to send one Bombing Section to assist the HOODS along EAGLE AVENUE. Will inform you when to com[e] and see me, not at present but make sure & see the pos[ts] along Cable Trench, this is t[o] assist the HOODS 12.30 pm 31-12-17 F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] OC B Coy.
From O.C.B Coy. NOBLE. To O C NOAH
HOODS have been driven back a little way along EAGLE AVENUE. My most forward post in CABLE TRENCH has had to withdraw slightly owing to the HOODS being driven down EAGLE AVENUE. Have given orders to reoccupy these posts, at once. Situation Enemy heavily shelled my positions from 7.30 am to 8.20 am. S.O.S.was fired on my Right. German Aeroplane flew low over my front at 8.15 a.m. 8.30 a.m. Enemy appears to be bombing down EAGLE AVENUE. My positions in SUNKEN ROAD are intact. F.T.Spicer Capt. [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC]
From OC B Coy. NOBLE To Adj. NOBLE
2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC] is badly wounded along Cable Trench R.4.a.8. Have taken steps to have him brought in 2.15 pm F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] Received M.C.
From OC B Coy NOBLE To OC NOAH
Posts are now along Cabl[e] Trench. 2/Lt A.V.Clark [Albert Victor CLARK, MC] is badly woun[ded] along Cable Trench. 31-12-17 2.45 pm F.T.Spicer Ca[pt] [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] O.C. B Coy NOBL[E]
From O C B Coy NOBLE To 2Lt Webb
Please send for Bombing Section that was sent to HOO[DS] This Afternoon. HOODS Have now been reinforce[d] by one Platoon of A Co[y] 31-12-17 3.20 pm F.T.Spicer C[apt] [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] OC B Coy NOBLE A Coy will relieved [sic] ARTIS[TS R] on your Left at Dusk. FTS
From O.C. B.Coy. To Adj. NOBLE
Could you let me have some V [Very] lights. Also some picks. I have sufficient shovels. Capt Plumbly also can do with some Very lights. 31-12-17 6.20 pm F.T.Spicer Capt [Frederick Thomas SPICER, MBE, MC] O C B Coy
From OC B Coy To Adj NOBLE Inteligence [sic] Report ARTILLERY - (Hostile)
At 7.30 am enemy opened heavy barrage on Sunken road (R.4.b.0.9 to R.4.a.8.a.) this lasted until 8.25 am. SOS was fired by Batt on Right HOODS. Also at two minute intervals at 8 & 11 pm enemy artillery [unreadable]. Our Artillery was very active during the morning. M.G. Hostile M.G. were active. One M.G. located about R.5.a.1.3.
SIGNALS - From 4.15 to 5.30 p.m. enemy fired pairs of red lights
AEROPLANE - At 8.15 a.m. an E.A. flew low along camouflage road, again at 4 pm, this time the E.A. was n[ot] so low.
MOVEMENT - About 10.15 am much movement was seen in EAGLE AVENUE about R.4.b.8.2. where trench crosses road.
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