George Frederick better known as Fred was born in 1884 in Skinner Lane, Methley Town, Leeds. His parents were George and Mary Bedford. Until the outbreak of war in World War I, he lived in Castleford, but then became a private in the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, service number 21493.
The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry better known as the Koyli’s, was set up in 1881. Before that it was known as the 51st Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and had a history dating back to the battle of Waterloo and before that. Their motto was Cede Nullis – Yield to None. This showed how the Koyli’s tried not to give up, even in the hardest conditions. The Regiment was absorbed along with others into the Light Infantry in 1968.
It is likely that Fred joined one of the Territorial (volunteer) Battalions created at the outbreak of the Great War to serve alongside the Koyli Regulars. After training in various towns in the County, his battalion was mobilised for action and sent to Flanders in early 1915. It formed part of the 49th Division which fought in the battle of Aubers Ridge in May of that year. Here, the germans used phosgene gas for the first time. Although the battle was a disaster for the British, Fred apparently survived, only to be killed in action on the 8th July, 1915. He was 31 years old.
His grave is in the Kemmel Chateaux Military Cemetery at Huevelland, West Vlaaneran, Belgium. This cemetery contains the graves of 1,137 men that were part of the allied forces.
In August 2014, along with my grandpa I took a trip to the cemetery to visit the grave of George Frederick (Fred). But before that we went to the churchyard at Methley where Fred’s name is on the memorial. Unfortunately the church was closed and the Vicar was away.James in Flanders
Fred’s grave is surrounded by those of his friends, who were all killed within three days of one another.
We also visited Ypres for the Last Post ceremony at the Menim Gate which takes place every night at 8.pm. The ceremony is to honour those who lost their lives defending Belgium.
The reason I made the trip was to honour Fred Bedford and his comrades, and to try to find out more about him and what he did.
James Bowman age 14 (2015) Framingham Earl High School,Norwich