103039 Pte Frederick Blaydon – one of the ‘Bedfordshire Lads’………

Sherwood Foresters Cap Badge

Unfortunately, I carelessly let this Medal Pair ‘get away from me’ on a well known internet auction site last night, but I thought that I would still try to piece together Frederick’s story.

Frederick was one of approximately 112 men who were transferred to the 2/6th Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters from the Bedfordshire Regiment and issued the new Regimental numbers running from 103024 (Herbert Meekins) to 103137 (George Webster). Many of these men had previously been numbered with a post-1917 6-digit Bedfordshire Territorial Force Regimental number (see below).

Section of the Sherwood Forester Medal Roll showing the transfer of Men from the Bedfordshire Regiment to the 2/6th Battalion.

But when and why did this transfer happen?

Fortunately the Service Records of at least two of this group of 112 men still exist:

103035 Pte John Male from Bath (see above).

103065 Pte Horace Crowle from Cornwall.

Casualty Form – Active service for 204038 Pte John Male
Casualty Form – Active Service for 103035 Pte John Male
Casualty Form – Active Service for 103065 Pte Horace Crowie

These documents confirm that Pte John Male and Pte Horace Crowle – and by inference Pte Frederick Blaydon – were posted to the 5th Reserve Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment, before proceeding to France from Folkestone on the 28th March 1918.

They arrived at “L” Infantry Base Depot and were transferred to the 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the 31st March 1918. This transfer was due to the losses suffered by the 2/6th Battalion (178th Bde, 59th Division) on the 21st March 1918 during the German Spring Offensive.

Neither John Male or Horace Cowle would survive the month

59th Division Casualties for April 1918

John Male was killed in action with B Company, 2/6th Battalion on the 16th April aged 48. He was the Son of Mr and Mrs Male of 13, Maytree Rd., Bitterne, Southampton. John’s body was exhumed near Kemmel Hall in July 1919 and he is now buried in La Clytte Military Cemetery.

Mount Kemmel – John’s body was found at 19 D, near to Kemmel Hall

Horace Cowle served with B Company and was listed as ‘missing in action’ during the defence of Kemmel on the 18th April 1918 aged 19. He was the son of Mr and Mrs Crowle of 1 Chapel Terrace, St. Blazey, Cornwall. Horace is commemorated on The Ploegsteert Memorial.

Horace had enlisted underage in November 1915. He arrived in France in December 1916 and was posted to the 1st Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. However, in January 1917 he was returned to England.

Frederick Blaydon was later transferred to the 1/6th Battalion when the 2/6th was reduced to Cadre in May 1918 and survived the War.

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