Brave soldiers risked their lives for Hertfordshire

Colourised image of Hertfordshire Regiment men leaving Letchworth station in 1914 PNL-150123-152147001

Colourised image of Hertfordshire Regiment men leaving Letchworth station in 1914 PNL-150123-152147001

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The Hertfordshire Regiment first came into existence in 1908, six years before the world went to war.

It was created as part of Lord Haldane’s Army reforms, which turned the Herts Rifle Volunteers into a battalion of the new Territorial Army.

Colourised image of Hertfordshire Regiment men in 1914 PNL-150123-152200001

Colourised image of Hertfordshire Regiment men in 1914 PNL-150123-152200001

Despite being a reserve force, the regiment were mobilized with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and reached France on November 5, immediately joining the conflict in Ypres.

Regrouping as the ‘Herts Guards’ soon after, men from the county faced every major battle on the Western front, from the offensive at Passchendaele to the devastation of the Somme.

The memorial in the All Saints Church in Hertford bears the names of over 900 men who fought and died with the regiment over the course of the Great War.

Of the local men who fought, two were awarded the military’s highest honours - Victoria Crosses for surviving corporal AA Burt and Lieutenant FE Young, who was killed in battle in 1918.

MBTC-25-01-13-Times Past . ENGPNL00120130129112019

MBTC-25-01-13-Times Past . ENGPNL00120130129112019

A territorial force by design, Hertfordshire men stayed on home soil after the war for as long as the conditions in Europe allowed them. With the advent of World War Two, the regiment was split in half and brought to the front, with the 1st battalion travelling from Gibraltar to Italy to join the fight there.

The second battalion landed in Normandy on D Day - reaching the sands of Sword Beach only 30 minutes after the first soldier stepped foot on French soil.

After the war was won, Hertfordshire settled, reassuming its role as a territorial unit, until 1962, when it merged with the 5th Bedfordshire Regiment to become the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment.

As the standard was marched to its final position in December by long-standing bearer Tony Beasley, the men of the Hertfordshire Regiment Association celebrated 95 years of service. A fitting and ceremonious end for the soldiers of Hertfordshire who made the ultimate sacrifice.