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.