- Second Lieutenant Dudley Luis Tavores Fernandes
- Private Charles Allison
- Lance Sergeant George Edward Newsome
- Private Lewis Newsome
- Private Walter Thompson
- Private William Edward Coultas
- Private Thomas Coultas
- Corporal Douglas Horton
- Private Percy Ireland
- Private John Richard Pegg
- Rifleman William Henry Thompson
In the euphoric early stages of the war when it had generally been believed that the conflict would be over by Christmas, the British government had sent sixty four one thousand men strong battalions of infantry to France in August 1914, by November over 90,000 of these had become casualties, and of these magnificent battalions of British regulars that had arrived in France just three months earlier, usually with a complement of around one thousand officers and men, an average of one officer and thirty men were all that remained.
Typical of those pre -war Regular Army units had been the Second Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment. Popularly known as ‘The Featherbeds’, before the onset of war the unit ad been comfortably ensconced in one of the British Empires many outposts, at Roberts Heights in Pretoria, South Africa. The battalion had been mobilised for war on the tenth of August and had embarked in His Majesty’s Transport S.S. Kenilworth Castle at Cape Town on the twenty second of August 1914, and had subsequently sailed for England on the twenty seventh.
The former Union Castle Liner had subsequently called at St Helena on the first of September, continuing her journey to the /motherland the following day. Arriving at Southampton on the 19TH of September 1914, the battalion, by then attached to the 21ST Infantry Brigade of the 7TH Division, along with the Second Battalion’s of the Yorkshire Regiment, that had been recalled from garrison duties at Guernsey, the 2ND Wiltshires, and the 2ND Royal Scots Fusiliers [both had been serving pre war at Gibraltar, had made their way to the until then, very unmilitary town of Lyndhurst in Hampshire’s New Forest, where the Brigade had bivouacked on a piece of land that is now the town’s golf course.
The time at Lyndhust had been spent in hard training: route marches, weapon training, and exercises had filled every waking hour of the soldiers lives, who by the end of September had become to know the New Forest intimately, one very sorry and foot sore statistician had calculated that he had marched three hundred miles round the f---ing place!
All the footslogging and exercising had however come to an end in the afternoon of Sunday the fourth of October 1914 when the Division had received their orders to proceed to the usual ‘unknown destination’. Sunday in those day’s had been the soldiers traditional day of rest and the majority of the eighteen thousand or so men of Seventh Division had, as was to be expected, been ‘off camp’ and had at the time been doing the things that soldiers usually do with a few hours on their hands, thronging the towns public houses, threatening to drink them dry, or packing the few cafes consuming vast amounts of fish and chips and faggots and peas. Others were of course ogling women. The problem of recalling all the men, had eventually been solved by sending buglers to the high ground near the camp from which vantage point they had blown ‘assembly’ at the full pitch of their lungs.
The Division had subsequently mobilised in a miraculously short space of time, the first units moving out of the camp that same afternoon. Practically the whole of Lyndhurst had turned out to see the Seventh on their way as they had begun their nine-mile march to the port of Southampton, and eventually the war.
The Bedford’s had eventually boarded two trains which had taken them to the port of Southampton where they had arrived at four in the morning of the following day, shortly afterwards half of the battalion had boarded the Steam Ship ‘Winefredian’ to the accompaniment of a rapturous send-off from the crowds of civilians who had gathered to see the men off and had sailed for France the same day. The other half of the unit had been crammed into the Steamship ‘Cornishman’ which had also sailed for France, the following day.
The division under the command of General Capper had originally been sent abroad as a rescue force to the beleaguered garrison of the Belgian city of Antwerp, however with the evacuation of the city on the night of the eighth and ninth of October the division had found themselves without an objective. On October the tenth the two divisions, by then named fourth Corps and under the command of General Sir Henry Rawlinson had come under the orders of Sir John French who had ordered them to concentrate at the town of Ghent to cover the withdrawal of the Belgian Army and the British Royal Naval Division who had been hastily sent to the defence of the city on October the sixth. Following this operation on the fourteenth of October the Seventh division had itself fallen back with the Germans hard at their heels and begun to march to the southwest where they had linked up with units of the French Army to await the arrival from the Aisne of the main body of the British Expeditionary Force.
To all intents and purposes the province of Flanders in the north west of Belgium appear to the naked eye as flat as the proverbial pancake this is not so. In places the ground forms shallow saucers between three and six miles across, rimmed by ridges which, though gently sloping and nowhere higher than a hundred and seventy feet dominates the lowlands. In 1914 one such saucer was green with farms, parkland, woods and spinneys, its fields dotted by hedgerows. Dotted amongst the greenery were many villages clustering around their fine churches with names such as St Julien, Gheluvelt, Hooge, Menin, and Passchendeale, names that would in the next four years become synonymous with inconceivable horror. In the middle of the saucer stood the old town of Ypres.
Blessed with an impossibly unpronounceable name, Ypres, or as it is called today Leper, had in the early days been called ‘Eeprez’ by the ‘tommies’ of the original British Expeditionary Force, in the years to follow it had gained with just cause the altogether more sinister name of Wipers, the name I will use in my text.
Wipers had in the middle ages been the centre of a prosperous textiles industry, however by 1914 the grand days had gone and by this time the city had been but a sleepy little provincial backwater, its population numbering around 16,000 souls. Nevertheless well endowed by many fine medieval and seventeenth century buildings, the town being dominated by the spires of St Martin’s Cathedral and the hundred and twenty yard long Cloth Hall. Barely fifteen miles from Calais and twenty from Boulogne, Ypres had been the gateway to the capture of the channel ports and the seizure of the city by the Germans had been imperative, and as the British Army were to learn the German Army were prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to grasp it. The problem for the common British soldier who had arrived on the doorstep of Wipers in 1914 [and the ensuing four bloody years] was that the city was the last patch of German free Belgium soil and to lose it would mean world wide humiliation for Britain’s prestige, therefore the British were equally determined that Ypres would be held no matter the cost, and as history shows very few of those men who had arrived in the early days were to make it home unharmed.
When the seventh division had reached Ypres the formation had taken up positions some five to six miles east of the town on a line which had stretched between the villages of Houlthem and Gheluvelt to St Julien, the 3rd Cavalry Division covering their left flank from the village of Zonnebeke to Westroosebeke, whilst French Territorials were collecting at the Yser Canal. Both the Seventh and the Third Cavalry Divisions were in need of refit and some rest having been continually on the move since the fourth of October. However, during the afternoon of the seventeenth arrangements had been finalised for an advance to be made the next day towards the village of Menin with the object of seizing the bridges over the River Lys in the hope that this would impede the further advance of very strong German reinforcements which it had been known were making their way to the front from the newly captured French city of Lille.
The advance on Menin had begun on the eighteenth of October as planned, but the rapidly increasing power and weight of German forces beginning to threaten the British left flank, and the opposition met with, had made the carrying out of the task so perilous an undertaking that it had to be countermanded. So the curtain had risen on the terribly bitter fighting that would later become known as the First Battle of Ypres (before the war had ended there were to be three more),
Basically the allied defensive perimeter at Ypres had extended round in a semi circle sixteen miles out from the town [this would later be much contracted to a radius of five miles]. Due south the British had held a ten mile long line which had made contact with the French Army, who had also held a fifteen mile long sector. At the northern end of the bulge, or as it was later to be remembered with dread by the soldiers who had survived as ‘the salient’ the British had made contact with the Belgian Army on their fifteen mile line which had run from the Yser Canal to Niewport at the coast.
The Germans had eventually made their attack from the direction of the village of Menin to the east of Wipers, massed ranks of field grey clad infantry supported by artillery had launched themselves at the British who had stood in trenches that were barely scrapes made in the Flanders earth.
The Second Bedford’s had been delayed in their landing on foreign soil by a submarine scare off the Belgian coast which had sent the ‘Winefredian’ back to Dover where she had remained until 9pm on the sixth and had belatedly arrived at the Belgian port of Zeebrugge in the early hours of the seventh. The Battalion had then been moved by train to Bruges from where the by then tired Bedford’s had marched to billets at St Croix where they had rested overnight and awaited the arrival of the other half of the battalion which had embarked in the ‘Cornishman’. The battalion had eventually arrived at Ypres on the fourteenth of October, and had subsequently moved into billets on the road to Bailleul. The following day the men had been moved forward to the Menin Road where they had relieved the exhausted eighth French Regiment, their position according to the battalions war diary had been given as running from the three kilometre stone on the Menin Road running south south west towards the village of Zillebeke, and had been entrenched in a rough semi circle round Veldhoek Château. At the time the general situation was that that the Seventh division was holding an extended line in the centre of the defensive line and had been facing the infantry and heavy guns of the fourth German Army.
On Wednesday the 21ST of October the enemy had made a strong attack against the 22ND Infantry Brigade of the division [2ND Battalion’s The Royal West Surrey’s, Warwickshire’s, and the First Battalions of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and South Staffs Regiment] near the village of Zonnebeke and in the afternoon the Second Bedford’s had received word that they were to assist the beleaguered Brigade. The History of the Battalion states;
‘Messages were sent round to collect the companies from their trenches and as they began to do so they were very heavily shelled; so accurately was one platoon of ‘C’ Company being marked that the platoon was pinned in its trenches. After a march of two and a half miles during which time we were intermittently shelled, we arrived at the level crossing just west of Zonnebeke’…
In the event, the services of the Battalion had not been required and the unit had made their way back the way they had gone to their previous positions. However during the night of the 21ST/22nd October two platoons of the Bedford’s had been sent back to Zonnebeeke to assist the hard pressed Second Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and had been returning to the Battalion during the early morning of the twenty second when they had come under heavy German shellfire which had killed a number of men, amongst whom had been a twenty one year old subaltern; Second Lieutenant Dudley Luis De Tavora Fernandes.
Of Portuguese extraction, Dudley Fernandes possesses the most exotic name on Scarborough’s War Memorial. He had, however, not been a native of the town having been born during 1893, according to the 1901 Census, at ‘St Crosby’ in Lancashire, and had been the only son of Emily Margaret [formally Heywood] and Thomas Weddell Luis Fernandes, who had been the eldest son of Scarborough Wine Merchant, Thomas William Dawson Fernandes, the founder of Fernandes & Co, Wine and Spirit Merchants of No 21 Huntriss Row. 
At the time of the 1901 Census, the seven year old Dudley Fernandes and younger sister Marjorie, aged six, had been residing with their seventy three years old widower grandfather at No 25 Grosvenor Crescent in Scarborough, however, by 1914 Dudley had been living with his sister and grandfather’s former cook /domestic, sixty one years old Mary Sutton, at a house named ‘Coomrith’, in Bodorgan Road, Bournemouth.
Fernandes had enrolled as a Cadet Officer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst at Camberley in Surrey on the fourth of September 1912. A member of ‘A’ Company, he had remained at the establishment until the sixteenth of July 1913. The following day he had been ‘gazetted’ as a Second Lieutenant in the Bedfordshire Regiment and had shortly joined the 2ND Battalion at its Depot at Pretoria in South Africa. Remaining in South Africa until the outbreak of war, Dudley and the remainder of his battalion had shortly received orders to return to England Arriving at Southampton on the 19TH of September 1914.
With obvious Scarborough connections Dudley’s photograph had eventually appeared in the ‘Scarborough Pictorial’ of Wednesday the 9TH of December 1914, the image had been accompanied by the following information;
‘Second Lieutenant Dudley H.L. De T. Fernandes, of the Bedfordshire Regiment who has been killed in action by a shell, was the great-grandson of the well known Dr Weddell of Scarborough, and the only son of the late Mr and Mrs L. Fernandes, and grandson of Mr Thomas Fernandes of Grosvenor Crescent, Scarborough. Lieutenant Fernandes was only 21 years of age and was educated at Mr Coopers School [George Cooper’s Orelton School had been at ‘Sunninghill’, No 17 Filey Road] Scarborough; St Peters York; and Sandhurst. His Colonel has written; ‘I know he was a very gallant fellow and would meet his death fearlessly. Without any flattery I can say that he was one of the best officers of his rank that we have ever had. Such a thorough gentleman, so popular with officers and men, and so keen in his profession that; had he lived, he would have risen to high rank in the service. I can assure you that his loss to the regiment is very great’…
Mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette published on the 17TH of February 1915 [Page 1661], no identifiable remains of Dudley Fernandes had ever recovered from the torn fields of Flanders and like so many more men who had lost their lives in the terrible slaughter at Ypres he possesses no known grave. Nevertheless, Dudley’s name can be found amongst those of the Bedfordshire Regiment commemorated on Panels 31 and 33 of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres. In Scarborough, in addition to the town’s Oliver’s Mount Memorial, the missing officer’s name is also commemorated in Section D, Row 9, Grave 29 in Dean Road Cemetery on a large memorial which bears a striking resemblance to that on Oliver’s Mount, the inscription, which had been placed there by Dudley’s sister Marjorie reads;
‘In loving memory of Dudley Luis De Tavores Fernandes
2nd Lieutenant Bedfordshire Regiment, who was killed in action at Ypres in Belgium October 23rd 1914 aged 21 years.
Mentioned In a despatch from F.M. Sir John French for gallant and distinguished service in the field’…
The monument in Dean Road also bears the names of Dudley’s Grandparents, Emily Maud, the youngest daughter of Doctor Thomas and Caroline Weddell, who had been born at Scarborough on June 10th 1843, who had died at 14 St Paul’s Street Southport, on May 12th 1897, and Thomas William Dawson Luis Fernandes who had been born at Wakefield on August 29th 1827, who had passed away at Scarborough on the ninth of April 1909. The name of the missing officer can also be found in St Martin’s Parish Church on South Cliff, of which he was a member of the congregation. A large brass plaque set into the north interior wall of the church bears the inscription;
‘In loving memory of Dudley Luis De Tavora Fernandes
2ND Lieutenant Bedfordshire Regiment
who was killed by a shell near Ypres, in Belgium,
October 23rd 1914 aged 21years…
Following First Wipers the 2ND Bedfordshire Regiment had remained on the Western Front until the end of the war. Attached to the 54TH Brigade of the 18TH [Eastern] Division during the latter stages the unit played a part in the final advance in Picardy and had seen action in the Battle of the Sambre, which had begun on the 4TH of November 1918 and ended shortly before the Armistice on the 11TH of November 1918.
 A copy of the Regimental history of the Bedfordshire Regiment [author unknown] for the period in which Dudley Fernandes had died was kindly supplied to the author by Mr George Vine, the Trustee of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regimental Museum at Luton.
 At the time of the 1891 Census of Scarborough Dudley’s future father, Thomas Weddell Luis Fernandes, had reportedly been aged nineteen years. A younger brother, Hubert Weddell Luis, had been aged eighteen. Both were Scarborough born.