Bernard Pedley was born in Crick, Northants and baptised there on 26th August 1894. His father was Alfred Pedley the village schoolmaster. He and his wife Harriet (nee Smith) had married in Birmingham in 1873 shortly before moving to Crick. Bernard was the youngest of their eleven children. In May 1899 Bernard Pedley died, at the age of 50. The family continued living in Crick for a few years, Bernard attended Lawrence Sheriff School in 1905 -1906, before they moved to Leicester. By 1911 Bernard was a sixteen year old bank clerk, living with his widowed mother at 45 Glenfield Road.
It is not known when Bernard enlisted, but comparison with similar numbers in the Worcestershire Regiment suggest it was in December 1915. He would have joined the 4th Battalion in France in March 1916 after their return from Gallipoli. The battalion moved into an area of trenches called “White City” near Auchonvilliers in the Somme. They spent time in the firing line, working on constructing covers for the trenches and placing gas alarms. Artillery was active on both sides.
The war diary for 1916 reads:
Firing line (White City) June 3rd
Erection of overhead cover carried on in all trenches. A raid was carried out by the 86th Brigade on that part of German trenches called “The Hawthorne Redoubt”. Artillery bombarded enemy’s trenches from 12 Midnight to 12.30 A.M., then lifted to 2nd line. Raiding party discharged Bangalore Torpedoes thus cutting the wire. At 12.45 A.M. the party entered the German trenches & found them empty, they did not penetrate into the 2nd line. A few boards were brought back which gave the information that the 119th Reserve Regt were holding the trenches in front of us. At 12.15 A.M. the German artillery replied to our bombardment; & very heavily shelled the White City. Two huts were hit. Casualties 11 killed, 2nd Lt New & 27 other Ranks wounded. Raiding party returned at 1 A.M. Artillery ceased firing 1.30 A.M. Quite an exciting night.
At 6 A.M. the eleven bodies were got out from beneath the debris, and taken down for burial to Auchon-Villiers cemetery. 1 Officer and 9 men returned from leave.
Bernard Pedley would have been one of those eleven bodies.
Lance Corporal Bernard Pedley, 25296, 4th Bn, Worcestershire Regiment is remembered at Auchonvilliers Military Cemetery and also on the Lawrence Sheriff School Plaque.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM