HL Bemand Notes
Gunner Harold Leslie Bemand 107838 was born in Kingston, Jamaica October 17th 1897. Received a part of his education in Jamaica, then at the Ealing Grammar School Middlesex & at Dulwich College. He entered the latter college to finish his education with a view to entering the legal profession. He enlisted at Malvern, Worcestershire 20th August 1915. In November 1915 he was a driver with the 14th Reserve Battery R.F.A. Cosham, Hants. In January 1916 he was with the 56 Reserve Battery R.F.A. Woolwich. In a letter dated 30/1/16 he says “I had the stripe offered to me this morning, but had to refuse it as it would hinder my going to the front. In a Depot like this if one accepts a stripe one may become permanently attached to it.” He enlisted as a trooper in the R.F.A. at Malvern. He went to France in the month of February 1916. I cannot tell the actions he was engaged in owing to the Censorship but his letter of the 18/10/16 says: “Our battery is one of the lucky ones of the Division. We have been in action & come out again without a casualty”. He was then in 323 T.M.B. 23rd Division. He was also in the E. [Jut?] No. 1 Section & D.A.C.  He was sent for a course of signalling, but did not pass out as his battery was moved on. His father feeling anxious about him as he had not heard from him & on writing to mark an enquiry received a letter from which I shall quote. The letter came from:
Sydney R. Thorp
323 T.M.B., R.A.
“Your son was admitted sick to the Casualty Clearing station suffering from scabies. He was then struck off the strength of this unit. I hope he will soon [revive?] & relieve your anxiety. H. Bemand has always done very good work since I have known him, which is about 8 months. He has twice been offered a Commission I believe but he would never accept it.” The letter was dated 16.3.17. He was killed in action on the morning of the 7th June 1917. I will quote from the letter which I received from Lt. Bibby R.F.A. X/8 T.M.B: 
“He was taking part in a big attack, his job being to carry forward French Mortar bombs across No Man’s Land & into enemy trenches just captured, when they were advancing with a French Mortar gun. During the first journey he was struck in the chest & head by fragments of shrapnel & it was seen at the outset that he was sorely wounded. All he said was: “Just put a bandage on me & go on. This they did & on their return found him dead. His extraordinary self sacrificing courage in telling them to go on was largely instrumental in the [help?] attained in getting the required number of bombs forward. He was buried with three other comrades at Bedford House Cemetery, Ypres Salient, close to the Canal. I cannot speak too highly of him & his death is a very big loss to the Battery, to me & to all his friends who lost in him a man who was always courageous, straight, kindly courteous – in other words a gentleman. Please accept my most sincere sympathy in the irreparable loss & my assurance that anything that you would like to know or be done will be attended to at once.” I may say he was a great advocate for temperance as he had signed the pledge twice in his short life, he was also a believer in conscription.
He wrote a lot to his aunt
Mrs. Laurie Bemand
66 Denmark Hill S.E.
I do not know if she would be able to give you any account of any action he was in – if you care to apply to her you might do so mentioning my name. He was also in X/8 Trench Mortar Battery