BASTARD, William

Lieutenant, 2nd Bn., Bedfordshire Regiment.

Born

April 1891
Son of William and Helen Bastard of Cottescombe, Slapton, South Devon.

Education

Blundell’s School, “North Close” from the age of 13, in January 1905 to Summer 1910.

Service

In early April 1915 he was mentioned in Field Marshall Sir John French’s dispatches (London Gazette 17.2.1915 page 1661 and 17.4.15 page 3412)

The Offensive

The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.

Death

27th October 1914.

Burial/Commemoration

Lieutenant Bastard has no known grave so is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium, (Flanders).

Memorial

The Menin Gate Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road, astride the main Menin to Courtrai (Kortrijk) Road. This site was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates those of all Commonwealth nations (except New Zealand) who died in the Salient, in the case of United Kingdom casualties before 16 August 1917, and now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, and unveiled by Lord Plumer in July 1927.
Each night at 8pm the traffic through the gate is stopped while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial's arches. Nearby the Cloth Hall Museum has an excellent interpretation centre but apparently no research facility.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
The National Archives, Public Record Office, Kew WO 339/ and Medal rolls WO 372/2
“The Blundellian”, November 1914 p122
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.5036
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 5/58
Field visit (JEA & GRY 11.04.2005)

 

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