Private Herbert John Croxford | 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment

'Linda was so excited with her discovery, she messaged Andy to share her news'.

This was my second tour with Andy. Ten years ago he had kindly organised a trip for my wife’s 50th birthday so she could learn more about how her Great Uncle Albert had died in France during WW1.

Ten years ago, I was the husband who was tagging along on my wife’s birthday but this second pilgrimage; I can’t express enough what a fabulous trip we had. 

My wife, Linda, has continued to trace her family tree and last year discovered that her Nanny’s Cousin, Herbert John Croxford, had also been killed in WW1 in Flanders, Belgium. He was also in the Bedfordshire Regiment but he was 2nd Battalion (Uncle Albert was 4th Battalion).

Linda was so excited with her discovery, she messaged Andy to share her news.

A few weeks later I asked Andy if there was any chance we could replicate our previous trip, this time for Linda’s 60th birthday? He said he was more than happy to organise another weekend.

Linda didn’t think it could get any better than her first battlefield tour but this time Andy went above and beyond to make it extra special. In the ten years, Andy has certainly has refined the art of delivering a memorable tour. 

Andy did his “stuff” and, as usual, provided us with an exceptionally well researched bulky folder. He explained that there would be no grave to visit this time as Herbert was killed in action and has no known grave. Herbert's name is one of the 54, 585 on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing. His name is inscribed on panel 33. 

Being a life member of the Last Post Association, Andy was permitted to allow us to stand with other members in a position to watch the ceremony. As if this wasn’t special enough, Linda couldn’t believe it when Andy surprised her with the opportunity to lay a wreath during the ceremony. Andy presented her with a beautiful wreath dedicated to both Herbert and Albert. He even wrote something to be attached to the wreath.

It was a once in a lifetime experience for both of us. As we walked up the steps to lay the wreath we felt enormous pride and it has left a lasting impression on us both. 

Again, we could refer to Linda’s booklet as we walked in Herbert's footsteps and as we travelled around the countryside to all the relevant places, the maps, photographs and war diary entries helped us understand his journey. But it is Andy’s unique way of bringing the experiences to life that makes all the difference.

To think that Andy began with just a name, is actually incredible. 



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