1st Bn Beds and Herts

Discussion in 'User Introductions' started by R Green, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. R Green

    R Green New Member

    Hi I have just joined to learn more about my dads experiences in WW2.
    He was in the 1st Battalion Beds and Herts serving in the Middle East and Burma.
    Robert Green
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Robert

    If you havent already then its best to start off with his service records, and they can only be obtained from the MOD - forms can be found here - Request records of deceased service personnel there are web sites that sound as if they have them but they dont

    If you already have them, then start a new thread where all the details for him will be in one place, if you do have them start it now and upload his records. Members will help out and try to answer your questions, but remember part of the fun bit is doing the research

  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    You will find a number of topics on that Battalion - including

    Beds and Herts

    Forum member Alex1975uk has a particular interest in the Regiment.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a summary of service of the 1st Battalion Beds and Herts:

    1st Battalion, The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment

    18th Infantry Brigade – 3 September 1939 to 26 November 1939
    The battalion served under the 18th Infantry Brigade at Abbassia Barracks, Cairo. It had a detachment at El Nil Barracks, Cairo and also provided a guard for the Middle East Reserve Ammunition Depot in the Tura Caves.

    14th Infantry Brigade – 27 November 1939 to 6 January 1940
    It moved to Tulkarm, Palestine on November 26th and joined the 14th Infantry Brigade there the following day. During the winter of 1939-40 it concentrated for training at Nathanya, 20 miles from Tel Aviv. It remained there until January 6th, 1940.

    HQ British Forces, Palestine and Transjordan – 6 January 1940 to May 1940
    The battalion moved to Nablus on January 6th with a detachment of two companies at Tulkarm. A two company mobile column was despatched to Haifa for about ten days.

    HQ Jerusalem Area – May 1940 to March 1941
    In May 1940, the battalion moved to Allenby Barracks, Jerusalem and replaced the 2nd Black Watch, which moved to Somaliland. The battalion also had detachments at Hebron, Allar, and north of Jerusalem. The battalion established a company training area on the coast ten miles south of Jaffa for ten-day training sessions by companies. At the end of 1940 a detachment was sent to MS 39 on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road to guard Italian POWs. The battalion also did at camp on the Dead Sea to train for the desert. In March 1941 the battalion was ordered by Jerusalem Area HQ to equip on a war scale and be prepared to move. It struck its camp at Jericho and closed Allenby Barracks. It left Jerusalem for Lydda and entrained for a transit camp at Alexandria.

    GHQ Middle East Force – March 1941 to 14 June 1941
    The battalion was code-named ‘Baldock Force’ and sailed for Athens where it got orders to move to Lemnos and Lesbos. The move to Lesbos was cancelled and the whole battalion landed at Lemnos, which it occupied from April 4th to 12th, 1941.

    HQ British Troops in Egypt – 12 April 1941 to 14 June 1941
    It was evacuated to Alexandria on April 12th and moved into Mustapha Barracks. The battalion provided AA teams for merchant ships. About 200 men went on these duties and only about one-third of these rejoined the battalion. The battalion left Alexandria in May 1941 for Quassassin.

    14th Infantry Brigade – 14 June 1941 to 28 October 1944
    It rejoined the 14th Infantry Brigade on June 14th, 1941 at Quassassin, Egypt replacing the 1st Welch Regiment, which took losses in Crete. The battalion left Egypt for Syria on July 7th, 1941 and took up positions in a line astride the road from Damascus to Beirut at Dimas by July 10th. It served in Syria until the end of the campaign and then remained there on occupation duties in the area of Zahle Ryak aerodrome and to north to Baalbeck and Djebel Mazar.

    The battalion left Syria with the brigade on October 10th, 1941 and was dispatched with the brigade to Tobruk. It moved by road to Haifa, by rail to Alexandria transit camp and arrived in Tobruk on the night of 21st/22nd of October. It served in the defence of Tobruk and the subsequent battle until it moved back into the Tobruk perimeter in early December 1941 and then before Christmas to Sidi Rezegh aerodrome. Two days later it moved back to Egypt and was at Quassassin Camp on January 1st, 1942. It did security duties in Cairo from the camp until February 2nd, 1942, when the battalion entrained for Djebel Mazar, Syria, where it arrived on February 4th. It returned to Egypt on February 24th, 1942 and was back at Quassassin on February 26th. The battalion embarked at Suez for the Far East on March 1st.

    The battalion disembarked at Bombay, India on March 13th and on March 14th it moved into barracks at Ahmednagar. Six weeks later the division moved to Ranchi. In August 1942 it was sent on internal security duties in the Patna-Sassaram area on the route from Bombay to Calcutta. At the start of 1943 it sent one platoon on attachment to a Gurkha battalion in the Fort White area of the Burma-Assam border for a two-month period. The brigade was ordered to Cox’s Bazaar in the Arakan to defend this area and the brigade was located there from May 9th to July 1st, 1943. It then withdrew back to Deola, India between Calcutta and Diamond Harbour. It was sent to Bangalore, South India in August 1943 and reorganized as Long Range Penetration Troops on September 7th, 1943. It was formed into the 16th and 61st Columns and remained in this role until October 1944. The division first trained at a centre 200 miles northwest of Bangalore and then moved to a new training centre 100 miles south of Jhansi.

    The battalion entrained at Lalitput on March 18th, 1944 and moved to a forward airfield in Assam on March 25th. The 16th Column landed at ‘Aberdeen’ on March 31st and was followed by the 61st Column on April 1st. These columns served under the brigade on a LRP role in Burma until August 20th, 1944, when the battalion returned with the brigade to India.

    It first moved to Myitkyina and then by jeep train and plane to Tinsukia, Assam and finally by train to Bangalore. It left the the 14th Brigade in Bangalore on October 28th, 1944

    16th Infantry Brigade – 29 October 1944 to 31 August 1945
    The battalion joined the 16th Infantry Brigade on October 29th, 1944 at Dehra Dun and remained with it for the rest of the war.
    Wobbler, RobG64, Tullybrone and 2 others like this.
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Welcome Robert,

    Looking forward to hearing more about your father.
  6. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the nod!
  7. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hi Rob.
    My grandad was also in the Beds and Herts from 1933-1944. I’ve done a lot of research and happy to share. As others have already said, getting your chaps service record is a must.
    Speak soon.
    Wobbler likes this.
  8. R Green

    R Green New Member

    Thanks Tricky Dicky for pointing me in the right direction. I will apply for them but first I need to get a copy of his death certificate. So I will be off line for a while.
  9. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Don’t think you need a death certificate to obtain the records??

  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    You dont need a death cert if he died in service, you would need to copy the CWGC certificate. If he didnt die in service you will need to copy of his death certificate - it all revolves around the data protection act etc etc

    Robert - if you post his details - assuming he died out of service - we can usually find the details you needto apply for them they usually take about a week once you have the details

  11. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Came back to this thread to see if this chap had any update.
  12. Hi all, My grandfather was in the 1st Batt and I remember a few of his stories about the desert, Burma etc from when I was young, but he also mentioned being on Crete and I have not heard anything mentioned about this, am I wrong?
  13. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    The 1st Battalion were in Egypt and were about to be sent to Crete, but luckily stopped when the situation there was hopeless. They did go to the Island of Lemnos in order to deny the use of its airfield (The Germans were in mainland Greece by then). Maybe that’s what he recalls.
    I’d love to know more about your chap, (my grandad was in the 2nd Battalion and then the 1st from 1933-1944)
  14. Hi Alex, He probably knew your Grandpa then!
    I have read elsewhere there was a detachment sent to Crete, trying to find out more, so who knows although I could be remembering this part wrongly. He said one of the issues on Crete was that all the officers shipped out to town for drinks etc and the Germans landed in between the troops and the officers so they were somewhat leaderless. I think at this point he may have been a driver or batman, so may have been with an officer.
    He was in the army in Palestine before the start of the war, as far as I can recall was at Tobruk and in the chindits (Muleteer) where I believe he had malaria seven times! He gave his medals away and did not talk much, I think he lost a lot of mates, but he did tell me a few stories, although I was pretty young at the time. He should have been in the other battalion in France as he spoke perfect French!
    I think he served until some time in late1945
    BrianHall1963 likes this.
  15. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Definitely 1st Battalion from what you’re saying. I’ll check my stuff for any Crete action, there certainly wasn’t any main body of men that went. Some (including my Grandad) were out to see as air defence troops on ships in the med, lots were lost or shipwrecked, he may have been bombed near Crete and made land?
    BrianHall1963 likes this.
  16. A story I remember from the jungle was they were in full retreat from the japs and legging it through the jungle and apparently they carried a chest of coins/gold (To pay natives I guess). This was slowing them down so they dumped it in a lake or similar, thinking they might get it back later but I don't think they ever did. Presumably there were some very happy locals!
    A desert story was he was with a friend in a truck and they parked up at night. Pitch black and a load of germans parked very close. They could here them chatting. It was so dark they did not see them and my grandpa and his friend slept under their truck moaning about the fact they could not smoke for fear of their neighbours spotting them. When they woke, the germans had gone, apparently they did not like to travel too much by day as the RAF had a habit of spoiling their journey!
    I have his service book, does not say much:
    Home 15/3/38 - 9/11/38
    Palestine 10/11/38-18/7/39
    Egypt 19/7/39-2/11/39
    Palestine 3/11/39-28/3/41
    Egypt 29/3/41- 28/2/42
    India 1/3/42-24/10/44
    Home 25/10/44-6/5/46
    His book also says he had the GS Medal with clasp, any idea what the clasp would be?
    I am trying to get his medals together.
    The service book looks like it may be a replacement as all the writing is the same and signed by the same officer, did this sort of thing happen?
  17. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    The General Service Medal (1918) with clasp was awarded for service in Palestine 1936 - 1939 and the clasp would have been worded as "Palestine". Unlike most WW2 medals & stars his name, rank, service number & regiment would have been impressed on the rim.
    General Service Medal (1918) - Wikipedia

    The medal rolls for this medal & bar are on the ancestry web site, with the original rolls being at The National Archives, Kew.
    This is the ancestry link:
  18. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Any pics of him in uniform etc etc?
  19. Hello, new to the forums and thought I'd add some details as this thread is still active.

    My Grandpa was in the 12th Field Company RE who were attached to the 14th Infantry Brigade at the same time as the 1st Beds & Herts this time 80 years ago.
    I recently wrote an article on their move to Syria if anyone is interested 12th Field Company War Diary (12 July) #OTD 1941

    Their movements mirrored each other as they were also in Operation Crusader at Tobruk and then off to Assam/ Burma.
    I am always adding to the site, unfortunately currently an 'armchair/internet researcher' due to lack of funds for books and distance to archives.
    Chris C and Alex1975uk like this.
  20. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Sounds familiar! I’m sure we spoke on Twitter (when I had an account!) along with Andreas (Crusader Project)
    If that’s not you then hello, will be good to discuss this area of the war!


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