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The Bedfordshire Regiment:

Great War - Inter-war

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The Great War

The Bedfordshire Regiment consisted of Infantry Battalions that would have had an MG Section as part of its Battalion Headquarters. These weapons would have been brigaded when the Machine Gun Corps was formed in 1915. The guns, and crews, would have been formed into a Machine Gun Company.

During the Great War, the Battalions were distributed as follows:

1st

The 1st Battalion was part of the 15th Brigade, attached to the 5th Division. It's MG Section was transferred on 27 December 1915 to form the 15th Bde. MG Coy..

As a unit of the 5th Infantry Division, it's MG Section will have taken part in the following battles and engagements.
1914
23 and 24 AugustBattle of Mons [II. Corps].
23 August to 05 SeptemberRETREAT FROM MONS [II. Corps].
26 AugustBattle of le Cateau [II. Corps].
01 SeptemberCrepy en Valois.
06 to 09 SeptemberBattle of the Marne [II. Corps]
13 to 20 SeptemberBATTLE OF THE AISNE [II. Corps]
13 SeptemberPassage of the Aisne.
20 SeptemberActions on the Aisne Heights.
10 October to 02 NovemberBattle of la Bassee [II. Corps].
05 to 19 NovemberBATTLE OF YPRES [I. Corps]
11 NovemberBattle of Nonne Bosschen (2/K.O.S.B., 2/Duke's (13th Bde.), and 1/Bedf., 1/Ches. (15th Bde.)) [I. Corps].
1915
17 to 22 AprilCapture of Hill 60 [II. Corps, Second Army].
23 April to 01 MayBATTLE OF YPRES [V. Corps, Second Army].

2nd

At the outbreak of war, the 2nd Battalion was part of 21st Brigade, 7th Division. As a unit of the 7th Division, it will have taken part in the following engagements.

The division had no existence before the outbreak of War; it was gradually assembled at Lyndhurst between the 31st August and the 4th October, 1914. The 12 infantry battalions included the three remaining unalloted regular battalions left in England, as well as nine battalions brought back from various overseas stations, viz. - Guernsey (1), Gibralter (2), Malta (2), Cairo (1), Natal (1), and the Transvaal (2). The mounted troops included an existing yeomanry regiment as well as a cyclist company, formed on mobilization. The Field Artillery was made up by one R.H.A. Brigade (XIV., of two batteries), and one R.F.A. Brigade (XXXV.) still left at home, together with one R.F.A. Brigade (XXII.) from the Transvaal. The two heavy batteries were new units formed at Woolwich after the outbreak of War, and the field companies came from Chatham and Pretoria. Three of the A.S.C. companies (30, 40 and 42) came from Gibralter, Malta, and Pretoria, but the remaining company (86) was a new formation.

The 7th Division embarked at Southampton on the 4th and 5th October, and began disembarkation at Zeebrugge on the 6th October. The division moved to Bruges on the 7th October, and reached Ghent on the 9th October. During the night of 11/12 October, a retirement on Ypres was begun and the place was reached on the 14th. The 7th Division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium until the 17th November, 1917, when it began entraining for the Italian Front, on which it served for the remainder of the War. The 7th Division was engaged in the following operations:-

1914
25 August to 05 SeptemberRETREAT FROM MONS [II. Corps, 26 to 30 August 1914, and III. Corps from 31 August 1914.]
26 AugustBattle of le Cateau [under II. Corps].
01 SeptemberNery (1/R. War. R. and 2/R.D.F., 10th Bde.)
06 to 09 SeptemberBattle of the Marne [III. Corps].
13 to 20 SeptemberBATTLE OF THE AISNE [III. Corps].
13 October to 02 NovemberBattle of Armentieres [III. Corps].
13 OctoberCapture of Meteren
1915
25 April to 25 MayBATTLES OF YPRES [V. Corps, Second Army].
25 April to 04 MayBattle of St. Julien [V. Corps, Second Army, and from 28 April to 07 May in Plumer's Force].
08 to 13 MayBattle of Frezenberg Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].
24 and 25 MayBattle of Bellewaarde Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].

The 21st Brigade was transferred to the 30th Division on 19 December, 1915.

7th

The 7th Battalion joined the 54th Brigade, attached to the 18th (Eastern) Division, from Army Troops, on 25 February 1915. It replaced the 8th Bn Royal Sussex Regiment in the Brigade.

As a unit of the 18th (Eastern) Division, it may have taken part in the following battles and engagements.

It's MG Section will have been disbanded on the attachment of 54th MG Company, which took place on 13 February 1916, Machine Gunners may have been absorbed by the 54th MG Company, or trained on the Lewis Gun, which now equipped the Infantry Battalion.

8th

The 8th Battalion was part of the 71st Brigade, 24th Division until 11 October 1915 when the Brigade transferred to 6th Division. The 8th Bn, Bedf. then transferred to 16th Brigade on 17 November 1915. It's MG Section was transferred in February 1916 to form the 16th Bde. MG Coy..


Inter-war Period

As part of the Army's reorganisation in 1922, this regiment was amalgamated with the Hertfordshire Regiment to form the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment.


Sources

  • Becke, 1934
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