HL Bemand Notes

Bemand HL Notes 1
Bemand HL Notes 2
Bemand HL Notes 3
Bemand HL Notes 4

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. [2] 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

Lt. R.F.A.

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: [3]

“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 tem[4]perance 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