Beds and Herts

Discussion in 'User Introductions' started by andymills, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. andymills

    andymills Junior Member

    My father, 5948193 Harry William MILLS, served with the 2nd Battalion of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. Signing on in September 1932, demobbed in November 1945.
    I would like to know more of the movements and exploits of the the Battalion - as dad did not talk about his experiences. He has now passed on and I would like more background on his wartime, and pre-wartime escapades.
    I do know that he spent 6 years in India before the war, before moving to Palestine.
  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Hello and welcome Andy. Have you any photos you would like to share?

  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive


    2 Beds and Herts were part of 10 Bde, 4 Div, II Corps when they were in France during 1940.

    The best way to further your research would be to get to the National Archives and view the battalions war diaries. I can confirm there are two 1940 diaries, a battalion one and another written by the CO. I have both and you won't be disappointed.

    There will be similiar diaries covering most if not all of their war service.

  4. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum Andy - enjoy!

    The 2nd Bn Beds & Herts also served in N Africa, Italy and Greece. You will find a fair few books available on or referring to the battalion also; try a search on amazon or one of the other major supplier sites. Revert if you need any assistence.


  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  6. kiwigeordie

    kiwigeordie Senior Member

    Hi Andy and welcome. Had to share this given the title of your thread.
    My wife is a Hertfordshire girl (Hemel Hempstead). When we were first married she enrolled with the Family Planning Clinic (these were the early 70's).
    Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire shared a lot of social services so the front cover of her clinic appointment card proudly displayed "Family Planning Association - Beds & Herts Branch".:rolleyes:
  7. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I've always known the Beds & Herts as the Honeymoon Regiment!

  8. andymills

    andymills Junior Member

    Afraid not, only photo I have is glued down in a frame with his medal collection
  9. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Andy, try taking the frame outside on a brightish day and take a photo of the frame (no flash). Worked reasonably well for me.
  10. Pete Weight

    Pete Weight Member

    My name is Pete Weight and my late father, William (Bill) James Weight served in the 2nd Batt, Beds and Herts as a bren gunner from mid 1938.
    He went with the original force in the BEF and saw action at Lys Le Lannoy and The Basse Canal before arriving at La Panne. after a short stay there, he and a pal decided to head towards Dunkirk because, in his own words, it was chaos at La Panne. He eventually got off on HMS Salamander on the
    penultimate day. After a period of leave and recovery, he was rolled up into the 5th Batt and was heading for Egypt when the Japs invaded Burma, as many of you know, those troops were redirected to Singapore and the rest is well known. He spent most of his time in Changi but did travel up country with K force for a while.
    I would dearly like to find out more, especially about the Beds & Herts during the period in France and Belgium in the period leading up to Dunkirk or that short 4 days period on Singapore before surrender. any help or advice greatly appreciated as many searches on this site have not thrown up new information, yet although i may be not looking in the right places.
  11. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Here's a complete list of all the battalions war diaries covering WW2.

    WO 167/708 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1939 Sept.-1940 June
    WO 166/4131 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1940 July - 1941 Dec.
    WO 166/8591 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1942 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 166/12476 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1943 Jan., Feb.
    WO 175/493 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1943 Mar.- June
    WO 169/10175 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1943 July- Dec.
    WO 169/16272 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1944 Jan.
    WO 170/1358 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1944 Feb-July
    WO 170/1359 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1944 Aug-Oct
    WO 170/1360 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1944 Nov-Dec
    WO 170/4989 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1945 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 170/7982 2 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment 1946 Jan.- June

    Drop me a PM if you want any copying.

  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    There's only one 5 Beds and Herts war diary but it may contain some interesting detail if your man joined before the end of the diary date:

    WO 166/4133 5 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. 1939 Aug.- 1941 Sept.

    There's also a good book called Cap Badge by R H Medley which covers both battalions you are interested in.
  14. Pete Weight

    Pete Weight Member

    Thank you so much for the immediate replies and guidance. Like many others, I have only just stumbled upon your website, in fact, it was last Saturday evening, 24hrs before i set off for Dunkirk and Brugges with my son for our first visit to the battlefields! I have been out to Changi so this was part 2 of dads story as he later went on to serve with the Gloucesters in Korea having been recalled to the colours after 4 years of being home from Changi and the end of the war!
    Just got back and now trying to start to put some detail into my late fathers personal story which he wrote not long before he passed away.

    At this stage I will follow your advice and apply for his war service records. With regard to the war diaries, After Dunkirk and a short leave he was asked if he would volunteer for 5 Bedfords as he had Bren gun battle experience, being bored on shore defence duties in Bognor, he jumped at the chance, hence the arrival in Singapore and subsequent capture. The date of capture is missing I should imagine as he had landed with the Bedfords (date unknown at this time) and was immediately sent to the front line at a rubber plantation. a short while later, his battalion re positioned to the McRitchie reservoir and then fell back to the Alexandra hospital where after a fierce firefight, a mortar exploded just behind him and rendered him unconcious. he later woke up to find that the surrender had taken place.
    It seems pretty clear that the only 5 Bedfords diary that you refer to is indeed the one that I will need copying, so yes please, can I have that. I can pay you in advance if that is helpful, in any event, please advise the next step?

    Best regards.

    Peter Weight
  15. Phil Hopkins

    Phil Hopkins Member

    Hello first post not sure it'll even be answered but I'm researching my Grandfather whom I believe was with the Beds & Herts before and until he was evacuated from Dunkirk
  16. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Which years did he serve?
  17. Phil Hopkins

    Phil Hopkins Member

  18. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that. My grandad was with the 2nd battalion 33-37, then 1st battalion 37-44. I've only ever spoken to 1 ex Beds and Herts person.
  19. Phil Hopkins

    Phil Hopkins Member

    It looks to me after Dunkirk he swiftly moved over to the Royal Engineers, I'd love to know what the abbreviations after the letters b & d are I presume b is some sort of rest period after Dunkirk (5 weeks)
  20. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    B and D??

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