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.
February 1917 – a detachment of the Royal Engineers Signals Company is presently stationed in Ampthill. A successful whist drive and concert has taken place at the National School in Bedford Street, with several of the prizes kindly given by people in the town.
News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front
This month 36 Ampthill Recruits have been killed – 34 of them on the Western Front. The main action – map – happened on February 11 at Miraumont near the River Ancre in Northern France. Two companies were engaged to attack the German positions. At Zero Hour 9pm the allied artillery laid down a barrage lifting gradually until 9:30pm. The Bedfords’ then advanced but were temporarily held up on the left flank by barbed wire and heavy machine gun fire. This was dealt with and by early hours of February 12 the objective gained, line straightened out and posts consolidated. Source: 4th Battalion War Diary
Two Ampthill recruits – Private West and Pateman – have been killed in Iraq where they were serving with Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. On June 26, 1916 these men were transferred from the Camp with 50 others to serve with the South Wales Borderers, and issued with new Service Number.
23704 Private William CLAYTON of Riseley Killed in Action on February 1
30830 Private Walter SMITH (38) of Colne Killed in Action on February 1
12147 Private Percy WEST (19) of Clifton Killed in Action on February 1
30922 Private George BREWSTER of Abridge Killed in Action on February 4
23642 Acting Corporal Alec W. HARRIS (25) of Luton Killed in Action on February 4
20463 Lance Corporal Walter WEBB (36) of Leverstock Green Killed in Action on February 4
23081 Private Arthur R. GOODMAN (20) of Luton Killed in Action on February 5
20630 Lance Corporal Lewis J. HARVEY (29) of Shefford Killed in Action on February 5
23134 Lance Corporal James NORMAN (25) of Beeston Green Killed in Action on February 5
60156 Private Edward TUCKER (35) of Leighton Buzzard Killed in Action on February 6
23210 Lance Corporal Henry G.W. ANTHONY (20) of Bushey Killed in Action on February 7
23320 Private Noah L. DESBOROUGH (20) of Guilden Morden Killed in Action on February 7
23266 Private Hector P. GAMMONS (20) of Woolley Killed in Action on February 7
23058 Private George R. HUBBARD of Buckworth Killed in Action on February 7
22812 Private John HULL (21) of Everton Killed in Action on February 8
22790 Lance Corporal Stephen T. REDMAN (20) of Upper Gravenhurst Killed in Action on February 8 – more
23424 Private Frederick W. SMITH (28) of Redbourn Killed in Action on February 8
20333 Private Thomas BASON of Tempsford Killed in Action on February 10
23146 Private Samuel BEAN (19) of Watford Killed in Action on February 10
22902 Private Edward ELLIS (20) of Wootton Killed in Action on February 11
23328 Private William P. EVANS (26) of Sharnbrook Killed in Action on February 11
30058 Private Leonard J. FRANKLIN (23) of Dunstable Killed in Action on February 11
18925 Private Stanley G. HALFHEAD (21) of Luton Killed in Action on February 11
22853 Private Horace C. HULL (20) of Bedford Killed in Action on February 11
23166 Private Horace M. ALLEN (30) of Markyate Killed in Action on February 12
23444 Private William BARNES (23) of Newport Pagnell Killed in Action on February 13
23071 Private Henry BURT (20) of Woburn Sands Killed in Action on February 13
20305 Private Herbert W. MERRYWEATHER of Bedford Died on February 13
30910 Private James COLLINS (36) of Stanground Died of Wounds on February 14
30818 Private John HILL (39) of Fleetville Died of Wounds on February 14
23238 Private George G. WAGSTAFF (24) of Yelden Killed in Action on February 14
12136 Private Frank PATEMAN (25) of Clifton Killed in Action on February 15
23494 Private Charlie LAWRENCE (20) of Luton Died of Wounds on February 16
23699 Private Joseph ELEMENT (40) of Hemel Hempstead Died of Wounds on February 21
23540 Lance Corporal Frederick COUGHTREY of Watford Killed in Action on February 26
Next installment to be published on 31 March 2017….
Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)
Care is taken to ensure accuracy – please accept my apologies if the content contains any errors.
BUY: Stencilling Tommy’s Footprints
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£6 (inc p&p). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to order by PayPal or BACS transfer. The book is also available from Ampthill Town Council, The Hub and The Stationery Boutique in Ampthill while stocks last.