WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, August 1916

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

August 1916 – On 26th July Christopher Cox died in Oxford Hospital where he was being treated for serious head and thigh wounds. The funeral took place at Ampthill, with full military honours in the presence of a large and sympathetic congregation. The firing party and band from the Ampthill Camp preceded the procession from his home to the Parish Church. Volleys were fired over the grave, and the “The Last Post ” sounded. Mother, Father and his brothers, Private Josiah- and Edward Cox, were there to mourn the death.

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August 4, 1916

 

On Tuesday, August 8th a local Reporter visited the Ampthill Camp. The writer eloquently describes the tranquil setting and the programme of entertainment the assembly enjoyed that Summer evening.

Tf concert - Bedfordshire Standard 11 August 1916.jpg

Source: The Bedfordshire Standard (August 16, 1916); retyped to aid reading

 

 

On Friday, 11th a small draft of convalescent soldiers left the Camp to continue with Overseas Service. Next day a further three drafts, numbering almost 200 men, left the Camp for the completion of training elsewhere, possibly at Sittingbourne. Included among the drafts were most of the members of the Old Regimental Band. Many of the recruits were disappointed at the early departure, as were their relatives. At the station there were some affecting scenes.

The Bedfordshire Training Depot has lost some of it’s usual humdrum. A number of huts stand empty.

 

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August 18, 1916

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

The Somme region claimed the lives of seventeen Ampthill Park recruits this month. Eleven of these boys were killed on August 8/9th while serving with the 6th Battalion at Contalmaison – read war diary.

18312 Private Albert ROLFE of Watbridge Died of Wounds on August 1
18577 Private William BAVISTER (23) of Luton Died of Wounds on August 1
17760 Private George BIGNELL (36) of North Church Died of Wounds on August 4
20618 Private Herbert PARSONS (34) of Tilbrook Killed in Action on August 8
18773 Private John Theodore PRATT (22) of Eaton Bray Died of Wounds on August 8
20576 Private Arthur CONSTABLE 24) of Walsworth Killed in Action on August 9
26355 Lance Corporal Thomas HARRIS (19) of Tempsford Killed in Action on August 9
27305 Private Horace Frederick JACKSON of Redbourn Killed in Action on August 9
26703 Private Thomas John MONEY (23) of Ampthill Killed in Action on August 9
25138 Private Arthur READ (34) of Barham Killed in Action on August 9
22153 Private Albert Edward SKEGGS of Hatfield Killed in Action on August 9
26711 Private Jonah SOLE (27) of Ashwell Killed in Action on August 9
25891 Private Edward STEVENS (19) of Shefford Killed in Action on August 9
27043 Private Ralph Henry TOMPKINS (21) of Bozeat Killed in Action on August 9
26785 Private Albert WILTON (35) of Henlow Killed in Action on August 9
18315 Private Percy Alfred SWAIN (22) of Weston Died of Wounds on August 13
34452 Private Sidney Arthur CUTLER (19) of Kensworth Killed in Action on August 16

Sources:

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Bedfordshire Regiment

Next installment to be published on 30 September 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

Care is taken to ensure accuracy – please accept my apologies if the content contains any errors.


BUY: Ampthill Camp WWI Centenary Postcard

This special postcard commemorates the centenary of the WWI Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16). Limited edition: 500

Proceeds will help to fund a book about the Ampthill Camp ~ profits to benefit the charity Combat Stress which was founded in 1919 to help WWI veterans deal with shell shock.

£2 (inc p&p). Please email hartleyhare135@gmail.com to order by PayPal or BACS transfer.

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