WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, November 1916

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.

November 1916 – the number of convalescent soldiers at the Camp has grown steadily. On Tuesday, 14th about 200 men arrived from the Shoreham-by-Sea Rest Camp. The Command Depot Band escorted the contingent through Ampthill. These men are at No.9 Command Depot to facilitate their recovery from injury and wounds. They will follow a programme of rehabilitation and retraining. Those men who regain physical fitness will be drafted back to resume service at the Front.

1917-11-24-bs

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front 

Sadly, Mr and Mrs F. Smith of Milton Bryan have received confirmation that their son Frederick has been killed. 17777 Lance Corporal F.W. Smith has been missing in action since October 12th.

1916-11-10-bt-17777-smith-fw

Bedfordshire Times – November 10, 1916

Actions in the The Somme region have been taking place since 1 July 1916 when the Allied Offensive opened – more. On November 18th the Allied scout parties discovered that German troops had withdrawn from their frontline positions. An expected quiet occupies the sector after weeks of attrition.

The Battles of The Somme have gravely affected the Ampthill Camp – we know that in the 141 day offensive 228 recruits have been killed in action or died of their wounds – more. This is one tenth of the 2,235 local volunteers who passed out of the Ampthill Camp upon completion of infantry soldier training.

This month 54 Ampthill recruits have been killed in action or died of wounds. Of these 37 men died on November 13th in an Allied operation with the Bedfords’ 4th Battalion by the North Bank of the River Ancre.

War diary – Bedfordshire Regiment, 4th Battalion

The Battalion advanced with the remainder of the Brigade at 6.45 am and sustained heavy casualties among Officers and NCOs in and near the enemy front line from a strongpoint established between enemy front line and second line which had been passed over by the leading Brigades. Battalion advanced to enemy second line and from there parties pushed forward to Station Road and beyond. In the evening all available men were withdrawn and refitted.” 

Source: http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/4thbn/4thbtn1916diary.html

  • Casualties on November 13 – all Bedfords’ 4th Battalion Killed in Action

19596 Private Herbert T. BROOKER (21) of Wrestlingworth
23712 Private James W. BROWN (27) of Northill
28738 Private Elijah BROWN of St. Neots
20433 Private Charles T. CLACK (29) of Warboys
23066 Private Percy T. CLARK (20) of Flamstead
23393 Private Ernest CLARK of Hitchin
19399 Private George W.COOTE of Royston
23246 Private Henry T. DIGGINS (19) of Maulden
23812 Private John DYSON of Luton
23123 Private William H. FOOTE (24) of Bedford
23272 Private Albert GEORGE of Kempston
23782 Private William GREEN of Bassingbourne
23372 Acting Sergeant Charles GUDGIN (19) of Clophill
25127 Private Frederick G. HARRIS (19) of Campton
23465 Private Albert HARVEY (28) of Wormley
23614 Private George A. HAYNES (20) of Wootton
23268 Lance Corporal Arthur HILL (20) of Barton
23301 Private Herbert HOLLIMAN (38) of Chipperfield
22967 Lance Corporal Sidney B. IZZARD (22) of Maulden
23310 Private Fred KILBY (27) of Luton
23617 Private John W. KINGSTON of Kempston
23295 Private William G. KITSON (29) of Berkhamsted
23752 Private Arthur E. KNIGHT of Souldrop
23111 Private William H. MARSTON (28) of Old Warden
23730 Private Percy S. MARTIN (21) of Luton
23518 Private Reginald MOSS (21) of Stevenage
23581 Private Melburne MUSKETT of Olney
22863 Private William F. NEWBURY (30) of Woburn
22856 Private John S. OAKLEY of St Albans
23625 Private Harry ROWLETT (25) of Biggleswade
23595 Private George SAVAGE (19) of Cranfield
22976 Private Arthur J. SEARS of Irchester
23621 Private Walter J. WATSON of Watford
23189 Private Herbert C. WEBB (23) of Beadlow
23458 Private Walter J. WELCH (31) of Kimpton
22168 Private William WILKIN of Leagrave
23543 Private Ernest WRIGHT (20) of Hitchin

  • Other casualties in November

19523 Private Sidney WOODS of Bulbourne Died of Wounds on November, 3
22903 Private Philip W. EVANS (25) of Cranfield Died of Wounds on November, 7
22887 Private William J. ANDERSON of Weston Killed in Action on November, 12
23496 Private John RADFORD (19) of Luton Died of Wounds on November, 14
20006 Private Stanley ANGELL (23) of Breachwood Green Killed in Action on November, 16
18688 Private Albert S. HOLLOWAY (31) of Chenies Bottome Died of Wounds on November, 16
19708 Private Ralph MABBOTT (27) of Shefford Killed in Action on November, 16
27607 Private Arthur C. BOWLER (20) of Mansfield Died of Wounds on November, 17
23309 Private William COLEMAN (36) of Woburn Died of Wounds on November, 17
31529 Private William W. SHAMBROOK (20) of King’s Walden Killed in Action on November, 19
23500 Private Joseph WARD (24) of Luton Died of Wounds on November, 21
18556 Private Amos J. JEEVES (23) of Dunton Died of Wounds on November, 23
23305 Private William R. LEWIS (31) of Weston Died of Wounds on November, 23
23489 Private Sidney G. VASS (19) of Luton Died of Wounds on November, 24
31494 Private Harold W. CHESSUM (20) of Wrestlingworth Killed in Action on November, 25
20351 Private Charles W. WARD (20) of Stevenage Died of Wounds on November, 25
23055 Private William GATES (29) of Stevenage Died of Wounds at Home on November, 26

Source:

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

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

Next installment to be published on 31 December 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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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.

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