Stanstead Abbotts

Local History Society

Bertie FORSTER


Private 39832

2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment


Died of Wounds 22nd July 1918 aged 28

Born on 16th February 1890, in Sittingbourne, Kent where he lived until the family moved to Surrey as the census for 1911 shows him at FernleeVillas, Glebe Road, Warlingham.  He lived with his parents Leonard and Emma, his brothers Vallance and Albert and sister Lily.   His father was a labourer and Bertie himself was a butcher. He married Ada Mary Payne in 1913, she was living at 4 Myddleton Villas, Church Lane, Wormley, at the time of his death.


He joined the Bedfordshire Regiment and served in the 2nd Battalion.  This unit fought in many of the major battles of the war including, NeuveChapelle, Festubert, Givency and Loos in 1915, at the first battle of the Somme in 1916 specifically at Trones Wood and Delville wood.  In 1917 they were at the Third Battle of Ypres or Passchendaele at the battle for Pilkelm Ridge.  Then in 1918 during the German assault in March as part of Operation Michael at St Quentin and Rosieres.

At the end of June Bertie’s unit was ordered to attack enemy units North West of Albert near the villages of Bouzincourt and Senlis.  The assault began at 9.35pm on June 30th, when the Bedfords, with the 6th Northants in support on the left attacked the German front line trenches. Initially the assault was a success with their targets captured, however an enemy counter attack at 02.30 forced some of the Bedford’s from their positions, the German trench changed hands twice more until at 8.50pm an enemy attack along the whole front forced most of the British troops back, it was most likely at this attack that Bertie became a casualty.

During this action he was possibly wounded and captured, as he died in a German hospital.  (It is possible that Bertie may have recovered from his wound and may have died from illness as his date of death equates to the spread of the Spanish influenza epidemic that spread across Europe in 1918).


He is buried at Cologne Southern Cemetery; this cemetery was used for the burial of over 2500 Commonwealth servicemen who were brought from all over Germany into 4 permanent cemeteries in 1922.


Medals Awarded: British War Medal, Victory Medal