WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, August 1915

The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot from 1914-16. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

August 1915 – The struggle has now been going on for very nearly a year. Buildings continue to be put up in the Park and recruits flood in, which says volumes for the Camp.

Leave has been granted for a number of soldiers to help gather the harvest in their district. On Saturday, August 14th the men did a route march through Greenfield out to Wrest Park and then back through Maulden. The weather was very warm; villagers threw apples and plums which were eagerly caught. Bayonet exercises are throughly taught and some non-commissioned officers are getting good instruction in bomb throwing.

In late August the fourth draft left for the Front. At 6 o’clock one morning the whole company lined up from the Hill to the entrance of the Park and heartily cheered the draft as they marched past, led by the Regimental Band. Later that day Lieutenant F.A. Sloan and Second-Lieutenants A. Lang, J.B. Healing, K.L. Mallett, R.E. Oakley and H.A. Deacon left for Southampton to join the Expeditionary Force in France. The fifth, sixth and seventh drafts have been picked out.

The Camp has enjoyed a splendid record of freedom from crime but sadly this has been broken. One of the privates has been found guilty of stealing some money. On Saturday, August 21st he was sentenced to 56 days’ hard labour.

 

August 20, 1915

 

August 27, 1915

In the Ampthill Parish Magazine the Reverend Walter D. May writes ~

What became of the men who are mentioned in the Bedfordshire Standard?

As far as I can determine:

Lieutenant Frank Alan Sloan – trained recruits in Ampthill Park and then served with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion in France. Lieutenant Sloan received regular mention in the Battalion war diary. Military Cross. He was wounded in July 1916 and again in March 1918, recovering on both occasions. Promoted to Captain and survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1914-15 Star and the Victory Medal. Retired from the British Army as Major Sloan and died in 1951.

Second-Lieutenant Arthur Lang – early discharge due to varicose veins, and survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1915 Star and the Victory Medal.

Second-Lieutenant John Burton Healing of Dunstable – formerly with the Canadian Cavalry Corps. Promoted to Lieutenant. Survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1915 Star and the Victory Medal.

Second-Lieutenant Kenneth L. Mallett – trained recruits in Ampthill Park and then served with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion. Survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1914-15 Star and the Victory Medal.

Second-Lieutenant Robert Edwin Oakley of Luton – trained recruits in Ampthill Park and then served with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion in France. Lieutenant Oakley received regular mention in the Battalion war diary. Awarded the Military Cross. In July 1917 he was wounded at Ypres. Promoted to Captain and survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1914-15 Star and the Victory Medal.

Lieutenant Harold Augustus Deacon of Kempston Croft- served with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion. In February 1916 he transferred to the 21st Brigade of the Machine Gin Corps. Survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1915 Star and the Victory Medal.

Source:
The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Banner of Faith

Next installment to be published on 15 March 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s