Remembering The Bedfordshire Regiment

Posted on 24th November 2013 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

Remembering The Bedfordshire Regiment

A recent guest to No.fifty6, Ian Mould, who lives in Bedford inspired us with his determination to remember the Bedfordshire Regiment and the sacrifices those men made in The First World War.

Ian was born in Bedfordshire and has lived there all his life.  From an early age he has been inspired by military history. He was brought up in a small Bedfordshire village and Ian remembers going to the local war memorial on 11th November each year as a boy scout and thinking, “Who are these people?”

 This ignited Ian’s interest in the Bedfordshire Regiment.  Though a small county, Beds had its own infantry regiment in WW1, though after the war Beds was joined with Hertfordshire and then in 1958 Beds and Herts were absorbed into the Anglia Regiment.

Ian has been visiting The Western Front for 20 years and is struck by the peace of the area in what was once the most violent place on earth.

Ian plans to photograph as many Beds headstones and memorials.  A tall ask for one man.  Of 6500 men, 800 are commemorated on Thiepval alone, 500 on the Menin Gate and 300 in Tyne Cot.

Ian was struck that though the Bedfordshires suffered so much, there is no Western Front memorial to the regiment.  He has therefore campaigned for a memorial. It has been a long road.  His first achievement was to find a fitting place for the memorial which would be widely accepted.  It has been agreed the memorial will be at Tyne Cot, along the pathway to the visitors centre.  This agreed, Ian then had to design the memorial, get it accepted and then raise funds to build it. Ian wrote to every parish council, trust, local body etc.  and has had a mixed response.  More recently, Ian has been around county fares, shows and shopping centres with a maquette of the memorial in a bid to raise further funds.

Ian says “ the centre section of the memorial will be made of Bedfordshire bricks, donated by a company in the county and a local builder has agreed to give his time to build it in situe.   I have been astonished by the generosity of some people who have given money to fund the project, but we still have a way to go and I intend to carry on raising funds until the project is complete.”

Ian is making plans for the memorial to be built next autumn, and to have it unveiled on 10th November 2014 as part of the WW1 Centenary commemorations.  The memorial will bear the words:

 

IN MEMORY OF THE OFFICERS AND MEN

 OF THE

 BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT

 WHO FOUGHT AND DIED

 IN THE GREAT WAR

LET THOSE WHO COME AFTER

 SEE THAT

 THEIR NAMES ARE NOT

 FORGOTTEN

 

For those wishing to find out more or contact Ian about his project please visit:

 

http://www.bedsregtmem.co.uk

 

 

Comments (3)

Janet Hicks says:

I have just come back from Belgium and visited Tyne Cot Cemetery.
As I live in Wales I had no idea that there would be a Memorial to the Bedfordshire Regiment there, and I even had a cross to place there for a relation of mine who belonged to the Regiment. He is buried in another grave in France which I could not visit.
So , many thanks to Ian and all his efforts which allowed me to place my cross in such a relevant place, at such a lovely memorial.

Julie Rowe says:

I wish Ian well.My great grandfather, from Leighton Buzzard, William Toms, died August 11th 1917 buried Etaples military cemetery France. Always remembered.

Ashley Atkinson says:

I knew about Ian and his efforts via local press - looks like he has made good prgress
I wish him well
Regards - Ashley

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