by M.A. James (Back Badge 1973)
From Tidworth, the 1st Bn was ordered to proceed to Beuthen in Upper Silesia to relieve the Connaught Rangers, who were on security duty whilst the Plebiscite was taking place to decided the frontier between Pland and Germany. The situation was tense as there was hostility between the Polish and German inhabitants of the region. Small arms were numerous and there were many shooting incidents.
28th Sept. 1922 the local head of the Control Commission asked the Glosters to send men to a German mining village called Bobrek, where armed Poles had seized the mine. Lt-Col. Foord and 2 Companies, with a 3" mortar detachment, proceeded to Bobrek to restore order.
"Ref. Map Bethuen 3309. The head of the column arrived at level crossing on Schonberg-Bobrek Road at 01.30 hrs 3rd June.
There was no sign of Capt. Foss so I sent forward Lieut. James with 7 men to the Police Station under the guide of a civilian. He found a crowd of about 200 civilians, many of whom were carrying arms. On interogation they stated that all the Police were disarmed. They also stated that the Krus Controller had been there but had gone away again. He then returned to the column and just at that moment rifle fire was heard at the rear of the column. This on investigation showed that Bdsm. James of the rear guard had recieved a bullet through the trouser leg which had grazed his thigh from a party of civilians in the direction of Schomberg. Several more shots were fired. Capt. Foss then reached the column at about 1.45 hrs and stated that he had arranged for billets in Julian Hutte Mine buildings. The column then proceeded to the billets and on arrival about 0200 hrs I communicated with Bn HQ on the telephone. During the whole proceedings there had been intermittent rifle firing. There are signs of looting in the village. The Polish bands had however evacuated the village before our arrival. The situation now is apparently quiet.
Signed W.P.S. Foord, Lt-Col.
3.6.22 Comg. Column 1st Gloucestershire Regt."
Subsequently there was more rifle fire from the direction of the nearby Polish village of Orzgow. Col. Foord decided to send a patrol towards the village to try and clear up the situation.
Report on Patrol:
"Ref: map Bethuen 3309. Strength of Patrol 1 Officer and 12 ORs.
Object of Patrol to reconnoitre wood running N. from junction Bobrek-Orzegow and Shomberg-Orzegow Road for traces of armed bandits. Patrol left Bobrek 1445 hrs proceeding along Bobrek-Orzegow Road; on reaching junction of this road with Schomberg-Orzegow Road patrol halted whilst a reconnoitring party searched the wood, but no signs of bandits were seen. On return of this party at about 1515 hrs rifle fire was suddenly opened on patrol by armed groups of men in position in neighbourhood of Gotthardt Schacht and N. of Railway line running W. towards Karlskolonie. I with-held my fire for three minutes in order that they might not have made a mistake as to the identity of my patrol. Firing continued so I ordered my patrol to open fire. The armed group of men then retired in the direction of Orzegow and disappeared amongst the houses. I then returned towards Bobrek and as I returned more shots were fired in my direction."
Later it was reported that we had killed one Polish bandit. A further incident occured when the Company Commander of our 3" Mortar Detachment decided to open fire on some armed men believed to approaching from Bobrek. This was a false alarm. Col. Foord now decided to occupy Orzegow and Capt. Capel was detailed to take "A" Coy. and carry out this action. His orders were as follows:
"To Capt. Capel.
You will proceed to Orzegow forthwith with A Coy. and 1 NCO and 9 men of B Coy. and billet yourself in the village. You are responsible for keeping order in the village and seeing that Martial Law is obeyed. Report your arrival to HQ Foord Detachment Bobrek. Render situation reports at 8 am and 7 pm. Keep Daily diary and send in extracts every 24 hrs. A French Detachment is situated at Morgenroth.
Signed W.P.S. Foord. Lt-Col."
This finally resolved the problem and the detachment returned to Bn HQ at Bethuen.