October 2023

Regimental Badges 1908 - 1915

This month's feature is a display of badges and buttons worn by the Regiment from their formation in 1908 until 1914.

The badges were presented by Maj LB Green who was doctor from Ross on Wye and served with the Regiment throughout the First World War, being awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

September 2023

Two 'Herefordshire' VCs

This month's feature is the 2 soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross which had associations with the Herefordshire Regiment - please have a look at the presentation on you tube.

The you tube reference to two ''Herefordshire' Regiment' VCs
The you tube reference to two ''Herefordshire' Regiment' VCs

August 2023 - Extra

Suvla Bay Centenary

The following article was published in Medal News December 2015:

August 2015

Suvla Bay 1915

August is the time each year when the Regiment’s historians remember the 1st Battalion’s initiation of fire in the First World War. The Gallipoli campaign had been running since April, but had not made any significant progress and had stalled. A new landing at Suvla Bay was proposed to break the stalemate and it was this landing the 1st Battalion took part in.

Almost 1000 men of the Regiment had sailed from Devonport on the Troop Ship Euripedes on the 16 Jul; in Egypt they has left their transport and 250 men – many who were later to join them at Suvla as reinforcement. For many it would be their first trip abroad and their first taste of war.

Many of the soldiers, 12 months before on the outbreak of war had been civilians – they had learnt much in the intervening 12 months but were still a raw and inexperienced Battalion.

In Mudros, an island about 15 miles from the peninsula and the main support area, the troops transferred to the isle of man steam packet the Snaefell and headed for Suvla.

The first troops landed on the 8th August and met little opposition, but for various reasons they did not press home the advantage. The Turks built up their troops and were then able to halt any advance. The Herefords were in the second wave, their landing was disrupted as landing beaches were changed, but troops not notified, the Commanding officer (Lt Col Godfrey Drage) did not even have a map. Commanders saw gaps and allocated battalions on a piece meal basis to fill them – when it came to an organised formation assault – troops were dispersed command chains broken and formation strength and cohesion, to mount an attack was therefore totally lacking.

Into this melee the Herefords landed; confusion reigned. The CO received no orders and the men just sat about in the sand dunes off the beach. Eventually they were sent off to meet up with troops of the Sherwood Foresters, but the Foresters location was not known and the general battle situation unclear.

The Herefords advance was completed in good order and attracted the compliments of the Commander In Chief – Sir Ian Hamilton – but it achieved nothing and the battalion suffered casualties, many being injured by Turkish artillery fire.

The initiative was lost, troops wasted, time lost and the Turks now held the high ground and could contain the landing.

The Suvla campaign was to last until December, the hardships were appalling. The Herefords had survived their battle initiation and were to go on and serve in the Middle East and the Western Front.

To find about more take a look at the youtube presentation 126 Days at Suvla Bay – link below:

The Herefordshire Regiment - 126 Days at Suvla Bay 1915 - A Territorial Battalion's Story. - YouTube

2023 July

Troops in Billets 1914

This month’s feature is a photograph of troops in billets probably taken in late 1914 or early 1915 and in the Newmarket/Rushden/Bury St Edmunds area. It in interesting from a couple of angles.

Firstly it well illustrates the billeting of soldiers in private houses, the massive increase in the Army meant there were no barracks available and though tented and hutted camps could be established they were not an immediate or, certainly in the case of tented camps, a long term option.

The formation and Battalion would be allocated an area, the Quartermaster (or second in command) would liaise with the Town Clerk and then allocate areas of the town and streets to companies and platoons and houses to sections. At the same time they would identify buildings for collective use – eg: church halls and schools for collective training and to act as canteens. In some cases householders provided meals, or some meals for those billeted with them. Many houses had capacity as ‘their’ menfolk were ‘away serving’ as well. The men were generally extremely well looked after as the householder treated them as they would wish their menfolk to be treated. There are accounts of Herefordshire soldiers maintaining written communication with those they had been billeted with and even some marriages.

The photograph well illustrates the closeness and perhaps even the pride of having soldiers billeted with them. It’s impossible to identify the householders, but it looks like 2 mothers and 2 daughters and probably a husband – as an aside I suspect he was later to serve in the Army – I wonder what his fate was?

The Regimental representative and Town Clerk would determine how many soldiers could be billeted in a house and they would chalk on the wall who was allocated and how many.  In the photograph houses were allocated to ‘1st Hfd Regt’ and ‘G Coy’. The house on the left ‘3’ soldiers and the house on the right ‘1’ Sgt R Williams. Interesting that there are 5 soldiers in the photo – is the house on the right allocated to Sgt Williams and one soldier?

The other interesting fact is the identification of Sgt R Williams – there is only one sergeant in the photo so it must be assumed it is Sgt Williams. A little research shows there was only one Sergeant Williams in G (Radnor/Knighton) Company in 1914. Again it is assumed this was 8093 Sgt Richard Williams of 5 Rock Terrace Rhayader. Little is known of his subsequent military career except he served with the Battalion at Suvla Bay and was later transferred as 91292 to the Royal Defence Corps

Sgt Williams and men of G Coy 1st Battalion with their hosts.
Sgt Williams and men of G Coy 1st Battalion with their hosts.

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