The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot from 1914-16. Based on newspaper reports of the time.
June 1915 – After the Whitsun holidays the recruits have been training hard in readiness to join the Bedfordshire Regiment at the front. Firing practice is almost continuous and bayonet drills are given great detail.
Quite a large number of the men have married in the last few weeks.
The first draft of 200 men left the camp for France in mid June. The final stage of the journey was made in cattle trucks. They were billeted at a farm house. A number of Bedfords have been in the trenches for three days, while all are close enough to see the big guns flash.
At a Battalion parade his Grace singled out all the youngest men, and individually questioned them as to age. Upwards of 100 who are under foreign service age or of small stature are classed as cadets and are now drilled apart from the others. This is to give the cadets a better chance of thorough training before leaving the Camp.
On Tuesday, June 22 the second draft of 100 picked men were heartily cheered on leaving left the Park in the charge of Lieutenants Lang and Healing, led by the Regimental Band. They were a fine body of men
The vacancies caused by the departure of the first and second draft have been made up, and with a continuous influx of recruits the Camp seems as full as ever.
Source: The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Next installment to be published on 15 February 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)