Monday, 15 June 2015

Bravery of the 2nd Bedfords' Band

Bedfordshire Regiment Band, late 19th century [X550/19/34/20]

Tuesday 15th June 1915: When the war began the Band of the 2nd Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment pictured above was recalled from South Africa along with the rest of the Battalion and sent to France where the musicians were to act as stretcher-bearers - an extremely dangerous and onerous task. Since then six bandsmen have been killed, 21 wounded, one is a prisoner of war, and one has been mentioned in despatches and recommended for bravery. The Bandmaster, Mr Baxter, is now stationed at Bedford Barracks where several of the men are recovering from their wounds.

The men killed in action are Bandsman C. Allsopp (3rd from left, top row), Bandsman Blogg (6th from left, 2nd row), Bandsman Hyams (8th from left, 2nd row), Bandsman Pearson, (4th from left, 4th row), Bandsman Pratt (10th from left, 4th row) and Corporal Thurston (6th from left, 5th row), and Bandsman Balls (not in picture) died of wounds this week. Sergeant E. Eustace (left hand side of 4th row from top) received the following official note from the Commander of the 8th Division:

“Your C.O. and Brigade Commander have informed me that you have distinguished yourself by conspicuous bravery in the field, on 16th May 1915. I have read their reports and have forwarded them to higher authority for recognition. Promotion and decorations cannot be given in every case, but I should like you to know that your gallant action is recognised, and how greatly it is appreciated. H.P. Gough, Major-General Commanding 7th Division, 25th May 1915”

Sergeant Eustace comes from Peterborough and enlisted in the 2nd Bedfords’ band as a boy twelve years ago. He returned from South Africa with the Battalion in October when he was a Lance-Corporal in the Band. While at the Front he received a bayonet wound in the leg, but he recovered from that and went back into the firing line. He was subsequently promoted to Sergeant, and is still at the Front serving as a stretcher-bearer.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 18th June 1915

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