Thursday, 29 January 2015

Bedford Grammar School OTC Training Exercise

1926 Valuation Map showing area around Kimbolton Road [DV2]

Friday 29th January 1914: The Officer’s Training Corps at Bedford Grammar School has carried out a field exercise in the Clapham Park / Putnoe Farm area – as no blank ammunition has been issued to the Corps this year the usual fight could not be held. No.1 Company manoeuvred to the west of Kimbolton Road and No.2 Company to the east. The Corps Commanding Officer reports:

“No. 1 Company set out from School as an Advance Guard, and proceeded to Jackman’s Farm. Here an attempt ws made to turn the Advance Guard into a Flank Guard. But, chiefly owing to the difficulty of keeping touch across fields which we are not allowed to use, it was not wholly a success. The Company reformed and had lunch. Afterward, an attack was made on Jackman’s Farm from Clapham House. This was quite well done, but Section Commanders and Cadets must use better judgment in choosing the ground on which to go down. It was fairly common to see sections lying in the open, where they could be easily seen by the enemy, whereas, if they had advanced a few more yards, they would have found a fold in the ground which would have given them complete cover from view. The final charge was a great success.”

“No. 2 Company first made an attack on Putnoe Farm from the south side. There was far too much shouting and confusion, and the sections often lay down in the open when they would have reached ‘dead ground’ by advancing a few yards further. Section Commanders in support must keep awake to see the signals to reinforce. It ought not to be necessary to send back a bugler to ask the Section Commander whether he had seen the signal: I do not think many of the Company would have reached Putnoe Farm."

“The Company afterwards reformed, and a fresh attack was made from Putnoe Farm towards Cleat Hill. This was quite successful.”

“For instructional purposes the training on this day was more valuable than a fight, as the Cadets learnt how things should be done, and were able to correct mistakes.”

Source: The Ousel 22 February 1915 [Z447/22]

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