Bedfords 'prove their fighting qualities'

Sgt T. W. Andrews, of the Bedfordshires, has written the following letter to the Officer Commanding, Depot, Bedfordshire Regiment.

"Our regiment is proving its fighting qualities. Our losses are heavy, but nothing compared with those of the enemy. Our machine guns of the Batteries have done some deadly work, and our officers, NCOs and men are perfect heroes, especially in our advances under artillery fire.

My own company advanced under a perfect hail of shell, and we only lost three men, but in a few days later we have nearly lost the lot of of our officers. Nothing can be spoken of them too highly and I, as an NCO of our regiment with 17 years service, knew something of them, having been the last seven years or more connected with them in Gibraltar, Bermuda and South Africa. I do not know if you knew Major Traill or Major Stares, but they were both killed on the morning of 30th October. They both died doing their duty in the field by rallying men to hold their trenches.

"Our regiment's history should be great and read by all in Bedfordshire, and then I am sure that recruits would come up much easier. Nobody knows the daring and pluck of our "boys," as all the officers called us at the first instant of the engagements around Ypres. Well, we have lost nearly all our officers; only three were left in the field when I left, when we were relieved from the trenches for a short spell, names Captain Foss, our Adjutant and a brave man, Lieut Mills and Captain and Quatermaster Cressingham. Hoping this is news to you, and trust the reinforcements will do as we have done."

The letter was read out by Lieut-Col D. A. Henderson, the chief recruiting officer of this area, yesterday afternoon at the Luton Town Hall, when a meeting was held to forward a scheme initiated by Mr G. Royle, of Bedford, by which industrial insurance agents form themselves into an honorary recruiting brigade. Lord Kitchener had given his blessing to the scheme.

[The Saturday Telegraph, November 21st, 1914]