1. Memorial:Azmak Cemetery Suvla
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.120
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour10C GQS

Awards & Titles:


Land Agent

Family :

Son of Hugh Cumberland, J.P., C.A., of The Lynchet, Luton.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: 5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment 

1/5th Battalion August 1914 : in Gwyn Street, Bedford. Part of East Midland Brigade, East Anglian Division. Moved in August 1914 to Romford and thence to Bury St Edmunds. In May 1915 moved to St Albans. May 1915 : formation became 162nd Brigade, 54th (East Anglian) Division. Landed at Mudros on 10 August 1915 and at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, on 11 August. Moved to Egypt in December 1915.

Action : Gallipoli 

The Gallipoli Campaign was fought on the Gallipoli peninsula 25th April 1915 to 9th January 1916. in a failed attempt to defeat Turkey by seizing the Dardanelles and capturing Istanbul. Ill-conceived and planned, the initial effort by the Royal Navy failed to force passage through the Dardanelles by sea power alone. It was then realised that a land force was needed to support the project by suppressing the Turkish mobile artillery batteries. By the time all was ready the Turks were well aware and well prepared. Despite amazing heroics on the day of the landings only minor beachheads were achieved and over the succeeding 8 months little progress was made. Eventually the beachheads were evacuated in a series of successful ruses.

Despite Gallipoli rightly becoming a national source of pride to Australians and New Zealanders, far more British casualties were sustained, and these days the substantial French contribution is almost forgotten.

Captain Brian CUMBERLAND, Officer Commanding A Company, 1/5 Battaion Bedfordshire Regiment. 15th August 1915 -The 5th Bedford's 'Baptism of Fire'. On the 6th August 1915 the British and Commonwealth forces opened up a new front on the Gallipoli peninsular with the intention of breaking the deadlock that had set in at Helles and ANZAC. To that end, new landings were made in the Suvla Bay area with the idea of taking the hills surrounding the bay, attacking the Turkish Army from the rear and forcing their way to a decisive victory against their worthy enemy. The initial landings of the 10th and 11th Divisions were fraught with bad luck, confusion and badly directed attacks, and little ground was made by the 12th August. Following a major but predominantly unsuccessful offensive to the North / East of the bay along the Kiretch Tepe Sirt on the 12th (during which the famous Sandringham Company of the 1/5th Norfolks were wiped out, as portrayed in the film 'All The Kings Men') the Allied commanders chose to mount a final major attack along the same ridge. On the 15th August 1915, the 30th and 31st Brigades of the 10th Irish Division attacked along the ridge, with the 162nd Brigade of the 54th Division moving in protective support along the vulnerable right flank of the attack. Having landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on the 11th August, the 3 untried Battalions of the 162nd Brigade (the 4th Northants were not on the peninsular yet) were ordered into the attack on the 15th. The Bedfords had the honour of leading the Brigade, with B Company on right, A on left, C&D in support. The 5th Battalions War Diary recorded simply; 'Battalion paraded for attack at 12.15pm with the Brigade in connection with the 10th Division. The attack arrived through with tremendous dash - hills taken & entrenched. Casualties 14 Officers and 300 men.' In addition to the 314 Bedford casualties, the other Battalions of the 162nd Brigade recorded: 1/10th London battalion; 6 officers and 260 OR's 1/11th London Battalion; 9 Officers and 350 OR's. Before the attack a young officer, Lieutenant Warren Hertslet (1/10th London regiment), summed up in a diary letter what several thousand other men on the peninsular must have been thinking; 'I hope my regiment will make a good show. Of course it is a tremendous moment in the minds of us all. None of us know how we shall stand shell and other fire in the attack. I personally feel very doubtful about my prowess in the bayonet charge. Well, by this time tomorrow I shall know about it or shall be unconscious of that or anything else'. Unfortunately he, along with many thousands of other British ad Turkish troops, was killed in the following day's battle. Whilst orders were issued, the Brigade stood to in preparation for the attack, and at one o'clock on the afternoon of 15th August, the Bedfords started their advance. B Company, (under Captain CT Baker, the son of the Rector of Dunstable) was posted on the right flank of the Battalion. Its orders were to keep in touch with the other troops taking part in the attack. A Company (under Captain Brian Cumberland of Luton) was extended back on the dangerous left flank which had to be most carefully watched. The Machine Gun Section (under Lt FS Shoosmith of Luton, who was to lead a charmed life during the assault) was detailed to act in support of A Company. The Regimental HQ section followed in the rear of the two leading companies, while C and D Companies, (commanded by Captain WK Meakin of Bedford and Captain R Forrest of Biggleswade respectively) formed the Battalion reserve. Captain Forrest of the Biggleswade Company was the only Company commander to survive the charge, mainly because he opened up an old wound early in the day so was not involved in the hottest parts of the action. The first objective was very strongly held by the Turks and A, B and C Companies were ordered to storm the position. They went to their work with a will and with that extraordinary verve which is so often characteristic of troops receiving their baptism of fire, and who do not as yet know the real meanings of wounds, and also, of war seasoned veterans who have seen so many wounds that the have become fatalists. Well as the leading companies attacked, however, it became obvious that after a time their strength was not sufficient for them to crown the hill and establish even a temporary position without further aid. D Company was at once flung in to support the charge. The whole line went at it again and this wave of brave, intrepid and well disciplined men, only too anxious to blood their steel, soon cleared the position at the point of the bayonet. A Company, superbly led by Brian Cumberland had borne the brunt of the first bayonet charge, but casualties were described as 'fairly light'. Kidney Hill was to prove different as his company were all but shattered during the attack that followed. After a brief pause for reorganisation, the Bedfords gathered themselves and formed up for the attack on the 2nd and more difficult objective of Kidney Hill. As soon as the Bedfords left their trenches to form up for the second advance, they came under heavy fire. It was so bad that one company of the Bedfords (likely to be B Company) recorded that it was 'led from the outset by a Private' as all Officers and NCO's became casualties 'in the opening minutes of the (2nd) attack'. Private Horace Manton of the 5th Bedfords wrote; 'We'd got no cover at all. One of the lieutenants was going aside of me. We were in open formation. He got shot while we were going up the hill, I said: 'Do you need any help Sir?' He said: 'No, carry on, don?t break the line'. Our commanding officer, Colonel Brighten, got through alright. He gave us the name of the Yellow Devils. We got to the top and then we got blasted by shrapnel. I saw my cousin get killed in front of me. He was crying when he got shot. It killed him anyhow; he was only sixteen. How I missed it I don't know, shrapnel was flying all the time'. Horace Manton survived both the charge and the war. The Brigade advanced along the broken southern slopes of the ridge towards Kidney Hill with 'all the enthusiasm of inexperienced troops' and paid heavily for it. The whole advance had been made with bayonets fixed and when the final stage was reached and the order to charge rang out the men dashed to the attack. There was no stopping these unblooded British Troops. London, Essex and Bedford Territorials charged together, but the Bedford men outstripped the Regiments on right and left and dashed into the lead, causing the line to form a crescent and sweeping everything before them. Turks went down before cold steel in hundreds, and those who were not killed turned and fled.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Bedfordshire Lodge of St John the Baptist No. 475 E.C.Bedfordshire

17th January 1912
14th February 1912
20th March 1912

Source :

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Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2017-05-15 12:48:04