Pte
Frederick Bonfield

Information about birth

Date of birth:
28/03/1877
Place of birth:
Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom

General information

Profession:
Farm Labourer

Army information

Country:
England, United Kingdom
Force:
British Expeditionary Force
Rank:
Private
Service number:
37553
Enlistment place:
Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
Units:
 —  Bedfordshire Regiment, 4th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
30/10/1917
Place of death:
Albatross Farm, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
40

Cemetery

Tyne Cot Cemetery
Plot: XIV
Row: E
Grave: 1

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

Frederick Bonfield was a Farm Labourer from the village of Guilden Morden in Cambridgeshire. In February 1902 Frederick, aged 23 enlisted in the army for twelve years. He served in the Bedfordshire Regiment and was posted in South Africa in 1902-1903. Frederick married Edith Deller in Guilden Morden on 20 October 1908. After he was discharged in February 1914, Frederick went back to his hometown, where he started working as a Farm Labourer. In 1916, at the age of 39, Frederick was drafted and re-joined the Bedfordshire Regiment, 4th Battalion, part of the 190th Brigade of the 63rd Division.

In October 1917 Frederick’s Battalion took part in the Second Battle of Passchendaele. On 30 October the 63rd Division attacked from the Padebeek valley towards the heights of Westrozebeke. The 190th Brigade advanced with the 4th Bedfordshires in the centre of the divisional front, going towards Bray Farm, Banff House and Sourd Farm. The 7th Royal Fusiliers were on the left and the Artists Rifles on the right. The Canadian Corps was on the right of the Artists Rifles. The latter’s attack in the direction of Passchendaele was successful, reaching the outskirts of the village. The attack of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division however encountered more difficulties.

The conditions on the battlefield were terrible, especially around the Paddebeek stream. The ground was sodden and in some places little more than a marsh, slowing down the advance. The advancing troops were often knee-deep in mud. Making them easy targets for the machine-gun and sniper fire from the men of the German 111th Infanterie-Division on the opposing side. While the men of the 63rd Division were struggling in the mud, the Germans dropped a counter-barrage 100 yards behind the British barrage, causing severe casualties.

That night the 63rd Division held a line at Source Trench-Varlet Farm-Bray Farm-Berks Houses, only 150-200 yards from their jump-off line. Casualties were numerous. The 4th Bedfordshires lost two officers in the attack. Seven officers were wounded. Fifty-two men were killed, 150 men were wounded and 23 men went missing. Private Frederick Bonfield, aged 40, was killed on 30 October 1917. His nephew Alfred Harold Leonard, who also served with the 4th Bedfordshires fell during the same attack. Frederick was initially buried in the field near Albatross Farm. His remains were exhumed after the war and reinterred in Tyne Cot Cemetery.

Connection to other soldiers 1

Files 2

Sources 6

Ancestry
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/
Sources used
CWGC
https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/461984/bonfield,-/
Sources used
Long Long Trail
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/63rd-royal-naval-division/
Sources used
Maurice, F., "The 16th Foot: A History of The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment", London, Constable and Company ltd, 1931, pg. 187-188.
Sources used
McCarthy C., "The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", London, Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018, pg. 154-155.
Sources used
War Diary
http://www.nmarchive.com/
Sources used