Lieutenant Reginald Cumberland Green
Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
18 May 1916
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Lieutenant Reginald Cumberland Green, 1st Beds Regiment, died on May 18th, 1916, within two hours of receiving a bullet wound in the thigh sustained while examining the wire entanglement in front of British trenches at Arras in France. He was aged 31 and the son of brewer Mr John W. Green and his wife Mary (Commandant of Wardown V.A.D. Hospital), of The Larches, New Bedford Road, Luton.
News of his son's death was received by Mr Green from the War Office in a telegram delivered on the evening of Friday, May 19th, 1916, on his return home from London. The message read: "Deeply regret to inform you that Lieutenant R. C. Green, Bedford Regiment, died of wounds, May 18th. Lord Kitchener expresses his sincere sympathy."
The following Monday morning, the Colonel and Company Commander of Lieut Green's battalion, wrote: "He died as a gallant Englishman, doing his duty. When he was shot he was examining the wire entanglement, and was hit in the thigh. One would think, and I hoped when I heard of it, that it was a slight enough wound, but apparently some blood vessel was cut and he had bled most copiously, dying just as they got him to the field ambulance, within two hours of being wounded."
A letter from Lieut Green's Company Commander said: "He was shot through the right thigh about 2.30 this (Thursday) morning while out in front of our trenches, looking at the wire. He died almost as soon as he reached the field ambulance. I went to him directly I heard that he was hit. He had been bandaged by our stretcher bearers, and they had for the time being stopped the bleeding. Rex [as he was referred to in both letters] said, 'I'm all right, but I feel awful.' I don't think he was in much pain, but he felt weak from loss of blood. He will be buried tomorrow, along with the other brave fellows we have lost here, in the Military Cemetery."
Lieut Green had been in and out of the trenches on the Western Front since December 1915 and had recently been home on ten days' leave. Previous to the outbreak of war he had had no military experience but on the declaration of hostilities he took steps to obtain a commission, joining the 3rd Bedfords at Landguard, near Felixstowe, in the same regiment that his brother, Major Harold Green, was serving.
Under Lord Ampthill's command he remained there in training until drafted out to France in October 1915, joining up with the 1st Bedfords at the front in December. For some weeks before his death he had been in temporary command of a company, although his temporary captaincy has not been gazetted.
Born on August 10th, 1884, Lieut Green was educated at Bedford Grammar School before proceeding to Exeter College, Oxford, where he took his BA degree. He then became a law student in the chambers of his father's old friend Mr George Elliott KC in the Temple. About four years earlier he was called to the Bar, although it was not his intention to practice as a barrister. He was looking forward to a commercial career, being just about to enter his father's brewery business, Messrs J. W. Green Ltd.
The last rites in France were conducted by a clergyman known in Bedfordshire. The Rev A.R.K. Wells had succeeded the Rev G. H. C. Shorting, of Stopsley, in the vicarage of Kimpton, Herts.
Among more than 300 letters of sympathy received by the Green family was one from Cpl A. Sharpe, of Dunstable, who had been doing extra duty in the trenches with Lieut Green. He wrote: "He went out on No-Man's-Land, and unfortunately received a shot in the right thigh, which proved fatal. He was a very good officer indeed, and he was in charge of my platoon. We are all very sorry at his death."
Lieut Green's brother-in-law, Lieut Tabor was also serving in France when he was wounded, and his brother Major Sidney Green was on active service with the Bedfordshire Yeomanry in France.