Friday, 8 January 2016

"Send Us Some More Men!"

Derby Recruitment Scheme Poster [Wikimedia]

Saturday 8th January 1916: Private H. Bunker of Leighton Buzzard has written home from France where he is serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment:
We had a very nice Christmas, although the weather was so wet. As we were lucky enough to be out of the trenches we did not mind the wet, and had a very nice time on our own as you may imagine. Yesterday we had the great pleasure of seeing some of the boys of the 1st Battalion. They go in the trenches again tonight, but are as happy as they can be. Now just a word to the slackers. If they could possible see one half of what we have seen of the Germans and their doings, they would not need asking twice. Although Lord Derby has got so many of the young men [1], I know that there are hundreds who are quite eligible and fit, and yet hang back. Why? Because they do not realise that this is a war to the very knife. If they could have been at Loos, and seen the boys shedding their heart's blood they would have seen and realised how badly men were needed. If we had had more men we should now be beyond Lille, or at least have held that town. The slacker need not flatter himself that all will soon be over, for it won't finish yet. A man will do well to join some such regiment as my own, the Bedfords, which has earned a fine name at Ypres, Neuve Chapelle, Hill 60, Festubert and Loos, and many another fight. Just send us some more men. We have got plenty of guns and ammunition, and we will see this fight through to a fine finish with the old flag still flying.
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 18th January 1916

[1] Lord Derby's recruitment scheme had required each eligible man to publicly declare whether he was willing to serve in the armed forces

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