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Foster Hill Cemetery, Bedford: Fatal Diseases Strike the Highlanders

More than 17,000 Scottish soldiers arrived in Bedford over a 48-hour period shortly after war had been declared. The town was prepared for the influx but the Highlanders were not ready for the childhood diseases they would be exposed to.

Between August 1914 and January 1915, more than 1,000 were taken ill with measles, scarlet fever and diphtheria. A whole battalion had to be quarantined on the outskirts of the town. Altogether 135 men died as a result of complications they experienced. Of them, 33 are buried at the Foster Hill Road Cemetery where an annual service of remembrance takes place.

Location: Foster Hill Cemetery, Foster Hill Road, Bedford, Bedfordshire MK41 7TD
Image shows Scottish soldiers marching through the town
Photograph courtesy of Richard Galley

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