-The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16) and No.9 Command Depot (1916-1919) that followed. Based on newspaper reports of the time.
October 1916 –The Bedfordshire Training Depot has now, after 2 years, been converted into a Command Depot. The original object of the camp was to allow men, under the voluntary system of enlistment, to do their training in their own county until they were fit to join friends and relatives fighting in the Regular and Service Battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment in France.
The camp commenced with 140 men. The men and Camp rapidly rapidly increased until at one moment over 1,600 men were accommodated. Over 2,000 men, all of whom joined under the voluntary system, have been trained at Ampthill, and have proceeded overseas.
Two of the men have received the Military Medal for distinguished and gallant service in the field. The casualties have been heavy, four officers and 155 men having been killed in action.
Bedfordshire Command Depot
The Ampthill Camp has been converted to fulfil a new role, with the Duke of Bedford and his senior staff continuing in command.
Combatant Staff Officers
- Duke of Bedford K.G. A.D.C. – Commanding Officer
- Major Frank A.D. Stevens – Second in Command
- Major Arthur Nelson – Adjutant
- Lieut Holmes – Royal Army Medical Corps
- Dr. William Garner (of The Limes, Ampthill)
The Command Depot at Ampthill will be for the non-commissioned officers and men of No.9 Group Regimental District, which comprises eight counties, and for officers who have trained at Ampthill and returned home wounded or invalided from the Front.
Men on discharge from hospital proceed on ten days’ furlough, and the rejoin a Command Depot, the objective of which is to restore wounded and invalided men to a state of military and physical efficiency by a careful system of physical and military training. At a Command Depot the men lead the ordinary life of a soldier in barracks or in huts – route marching, drill, bombing, musketry, physical drill, and trench warfare all being part of the course. In addition there is a special establishment for those requiring massage and electrical treatment, which will be under the supervision of the medical staff attached to the Command Depot.
News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front
Twenty-eight Ampthill recruits have been killed in the Somme region this month. Eleven of these men fell on October 12 when the Bedfords’ 2nd Battalion attacked the German frontline at the Battle of Le Transloy. The weather and ground conditions were atrocious. Few yards were gained for the British lives lost.
Read the war diary for October 12, 1916: http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/2ndbn/2ndbtn1916diary.html
- Casualties – All October 12
18205 Acting Corporal John William CLARKE (22) of Battlesden Killed in Action
26352 Private James DINES (19) of Langford Killed in Action
18759 Private Frederick Arthur DUNKLING (26) of St. Ives Killed in Action
19247 Private George GASCOIGNE (32) of Bedford Killed in Action
20502 Private John MERRYWEATHER (28) of Langford Killed in Action
19744 Sergeant Peter PIERACCINI (31) of Dunstable Killed in Action – more
18627 Private Alfred Stephen SEAMAN (22 of Huntingdon Died of Wounds
19043 Sergeant Edward Lewis SMITH of Lower Stondon Killed in Action
17777 Lance Corporal Frederick William SMITH of Milton Bryan Killed in Action
18972 Private Albert Henry WILLIS (29) of Bedford Missing in Action
22660 Private Percy LOCKEY (26) of Bedford Killed in Action
- Other Casualties
23280 Private Charles CLIFTON (21) of Godmanchester Died of Wounds on October 5
22791 Corporal Charles REDMAN (23) of Upper Gravenhurst Died of Wounds on October 5
23531 Private Frederick William LAND of Biggleswade Died of Wounds on October 9
20328 Private George PEARSON of Northampton Killed in Action on October 10
22099 Private Albert MEDLOCK (29) of Wrestlingworth Died of Wounds at home on October 14 – more
17875 Lance Corporal William HART (24) of Leighton Buzzard Died of Wounds on October 15
19735 Private George Thomas HALL of Connington Killed in Action on October 18
20777 Private Edgar Joseph WEST (23) of Great Graveley Killed in Action on October 18
19540 Private William WOODHAM (39) of Bolhurst Killed in Action on October 18
20147 Private Richard WOODING (28) of Houghton Conquest Killed in Action on October 19
18132 Private Albert HORLEY (20) of Heath & Reach Killed in Action on October 22
19309 Private Stanley George RUTT (21) of Langford Killed in Action on October 25
27355 Private Owen YOUNG (21) of North Crawley Killed in Action on October 25
25675 Sergeant Arthur Frederick Owen NORRIS (24) of Borehamwood Killed in Action on October 30 – more
19499 Private Frank KEFFORD (27) of Biggleswade Killed in Action on October 31
29355 Private Harold Vernon OCLEE of Bedford Killed in Action on October 31
The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Next installment to be published on 30 November 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)
Care is taken to ensure accuracy – please accept my apologies if the content contains any errors.
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