Farewell to Hertford

A poem on leaving for the front

By Private A Bentley

Fore Street, Hertford
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

Private A Bentley, ‘B’ Company, 1st Battalion, the Bedfordshire Regiment wrote the following verses to his mother, Mrs. Bentley, 23 Villiers Street, when his regiment left Mullingar, 50 miles west of Dublin, Ireland to go to the front.

Farewell to Hertford Town,

We may not see it more,

For we are bound for foreign lands,

Where murderous cannons roar;

We are bound for Belgium’s shore

To fight for liberty,

And Britain’s flag shall proudly wave,

Beside the Fleur-de-Lis.

We lived in peace and harmony

With nations far and wide,

Until the German Emperor

Could not control his pride,

Then Austria lit the torch of war

On Serbia’s peaceful plain,

And the Kaiser sent a mighty host

Through Alsace and Lorraine.

We tried with every peaceful means

To save the World from war,

Till the Kaiser threatened England,

Likewise the Russian Czar;

But he will dearly rue his march

Across the soil of France

When the British, French and Belgians get

The order to advance.

Then here’s success to Erin’s sons

Wherever they may be,

And may their flag in glory wave

On battlefield and sea;

Should Providence send us safely back

We’ll give three hearty cheers

For the good old Bedford Regiment

And the good old 4th beds too.


This was probably Alfred Edward Bentley, born in 1894, who enlisted in Bedfordshire Regiment on 30th December 1913.  His regiment embarked for France on 11th November 1914.  He was admitted to hospital with a severe head wound and gas poisoning on 7th/8th May 1915 and discharged on 22nd.

On 22nd August 1915 he transferred as a sapper to the 179th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers.  He was discharged from the Engineers on 9th February, 1919.

Hemarried Florence M. Blackaby in 1917 and died in Bishop’s Stortford in 1952 at the age of 58.

His mother was Clara.

This page was added on 21/08/2014.

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