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:
|23 and 24 August||Battle of Mons [II. Corps].|
|23 August to 05 September||RETREAT FROM MONS [II. Corps].|
|26 August||Battle of le Cateau [II. Corps].|
|01 September||Crepy en Valois.|
|06 to 09 September||Battle of the Marne [II. Corps]|
|13 to 20 September||BATTLE OF THE AISNE [II. Corps]|
|13 September||Passage of the Aisne.|
|20 September||Actions on the Aisne Heights.|
|10 October to 02 November||Battle of la Bassee [II. Corps].|
|05 to 19 November||BATTLE OF YPRES [I. Corps]|
|11 November||Battle of Nonne Bosschen (2/K.O.S.B., 2/Duke’s (13th Bde.), and 1/Bedf., 1/Ches. (15th Bde.)) [I. Corps].|
|17 to 22 April||Capture of Hill 60 [II. Corps, Second Army].|
|23 April to 01 May||BATTLE OF YPRES [V. Corps, Second Army].|
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:-
|25 August to 05 September||RETREAT FROM MONS [II. Corps, 26 to 30 August 1914, and III. Corps from 31 August 1914.]|
|26 August||Battle of le Cateau [under II. Corps].|
|01 September||Nery (1/R. War. R. and 2/R.D.F., 10th Bde.)|
|06 to 09 September||Battle of the Marne [III. Corps].|
|13 to 20 September||BATTLE OF THE AISNE [III. Corps].|
|13 October to 02 November||Battle of Armentieres [III. Corps].|
|13 October||Capture of Meteren|
|25 April to 25 May||BATTLES OF YPRES [V. Corps, Second Army].|
|25 April to 04 May||Battle of St. Julien [V. Corps, Second Army, and from 28 April to 07 May in Plumer’s Force].|
|08 to 13 May||Battle of Frezenberg Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].|
|24 and 25 May||Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].|
The 21st Brigade was transferred to the 30th Division on 19 December, 1915.
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.
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..