The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot from 1914-16. Based on newspaper reports of the time.
December 1914 – In the last month The London Gazette has published notice of the officers who will be at the Bedfordshire Training Depot.
Colonel Herbrand Russell, Duke of Bedford K.G. – Colonel Commanding
Major Frank A.D. Stevens – Major, Second in Command
Captain & Hon. Major Arthur Nelson – Adjutant
Lieutenant Rupert H. Gretton – temporary Captain
Serjeant Frank Sloan – temporary Lieutenant
J.C. Hooper – temporary Quartermaster and Hon. Lieutenant
sad news. The first death of an Ampthill lad. Private Sidney Thorogood (20) of Park Hill was killed at the front on October 26. His grandmother is distraught. There is also news of Fred Pepper who was killed on November 8 at the First Battle of Ypres.
A family of Belgian refugees is being made comfortable at Caxton House and convoy trains of the wounded continue to arrive at Ampthill Station. Mr Wingfield has generously accommodated a dozen or so injured soldiers at his home, Ampthill House. All of this brings Ampthill’s effort into sharp relief!
Over 300 recruits are under training at the camp; some of the men are necessarily billeted in town until more huts are complete. The soldiers look fit and well. The men attended Church Parade at St. Andrew’s Church, headed by a rousing brass band. Heads were bowed to honour the Ampthill fallen.
The 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment received the parcel of Ampthill socks. These were greatly appreciated by the men who are preparing for return to the trenches.
Source: Ampthill and District News. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
More about Private 3/6995 Sidney Thorogood and 8200 Fred Pepper: Ampthill’s Fallen by John Hele (2014).
Next instalment to be published on 1 November 2015….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)