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In August 1914 the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment were amongst the small professional British Army who gathered and prepared for a war that would 'be over by Christmas'. With a long and proud history, dating back to 1688, the regiment's fighting men had already served through numerous wars and rebellions over and above long periods on garrison duties in the 'Fever Isles', the New World, and throughout the expanding British Empire. So when war was declared the 'Old Contemptibles' of the 1st Battalion would find themselves heavily engaged in more intense fighting during the first three months of the Great War, as it came to be known, than many of the newly raised 'Service' battalions would experience during their entire existence. Despite heavy casualties, atrocious conditions, and a steep learning curve, they remained professional and stoic through the early fire and movement battles and then the stagnant, arbitrary nature of trench warfare. They endured pitched battles, heavy shelling, snipers, gas attacks, fended off overwhelming numbers of enemy troops, and carried their bayonets across no man's land into the seething infernos of machine gun and artillery barrages. This is the first part of their story, from their first defiant defence amongst the slag heaps at Mons, through to the ferocious fighting during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. By integrating a wide variety of official and personal sources, supported by maps, and personalised with individual stories and photographs, Steven Fuller brings the fascinating and extraordinary history of this distinguished battalion and it's 'Soldier Lads' to life.
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Table of Contents

Contents Foreword Chapter 1. The Bedfordshires' Call to Arms Chapter 2. The Battle of Mons Chapter 3. The Battle of Le Cateau and the Retreat to Paris Chapter 4. The Battles of the Marne and the Aisne Chapter 5. The Battle of La Bassee Chapter 6. The Battles of Ypres, 1914 Chapter 7. A Winter's Lull Chapter 8. 'Murder Hill' and the Second Battle of Ypres Chapter 9. The Somme Sector Chapter 10. The Arras Sector Chapter 11. High Wood and Longueval Chapter 12. Falfemont Farm and Morval Notes Sources Acknowledgements Appendices Endnotes Index

About the Author

Steven Fuller lives in Cambridgeshire, Engalnd and has been researching the story of the Bedfordshire Regiment in the First World War for over a decade.

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