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.
April 1918 – two wounded, non-commissioned officers who have won gallantry medals are undergoing rehabilitation at the Ampthill Command Depot.
9409 Acting Company Sergeant Major Alfred STRINGER D.C.M. was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal twice in 1915 for his brave actions, and has also won the Russian Cross of St. George.
Alfred (20) joined the Army in January 1909 and was drafted in October 1914. He distinguished himself on May 16, 1915 at Festubert when, in the face of heavy German fire, Alfred Stringer led a small party who rushed a barricade that blocked the road and was hindering the British attack. Two days later when the Bedfords’ again went over the top Stringer, with ten men, reached a German trench in advance of the Battalion and held it against heavy odds until ordered to retire.
On September 30, 1915 Sergeant Stringer won a bar to the D.C.M. at the Battle of Loos where he led a night bombing raid. The party struggled forwards in the face of fierce resistance and achieved their objective of taking the German trench, and repelled further vigorous counter attacks.
13784 Corporal Ernest W. JONES M.M. was awarded the Military Medal for his brave actions on August 10, 1917 during a British attack on the West Hoek Ridge in the Ypres Sector. Faced with a counter attack the Battalion withdrew and sustained casualties in Glencorse Wood which was being heavily shelled. Corporal Jones advanced into the wood and succeeded in bringing out some of the casualties.
[both of these men survived the war and were discharged from service in 1919].
News of the Canadians
The total cut for April amounted to 583,015 F.B.M. This was produced at the Canadian Mill at Ampthill Station and at the Scotch Mill at Clophill. The Canadian Mill lumbered timber from softwood hauled by motor transport from the Flitwick Plantation. The Clophill operation achieved 23 sawing days despite being handicapped by having to log fallen timber and haul it half a mile by horse-drawn wagon across the fields, and being impacted by the Portuguese labour trouble.
A total of 770,219 F.B.M. of sawn timber was consigned from Ampthill Station which is a little lower than in March.
News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front
This month the war has claimed the lives of five men who trained at the Ampthill Camp.
20973 Private Harry ANSELL (21) of Meppershall killed in action on April 27
51620 Private Ernest A. PEACH (32) of Alconbury killed in action on April 29
18440 Lance Corporal Harry PEDDAR (21) of Trowley Bottom killed in action on April 29
20084 Norman CONQUEST (19) of Felbridge died on April 30
31524 Ernest ROGERS (21) of Langford died of wounds on April 30 – read more
The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Ampthill Parish Magazine
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
The National Archives
Ampthill’s Fallen – by John Hele (2014)
Report on the Activities of the 126 Company Canadian Forestry Corps. Ampthill 1917-18 (K.Fadden)
A Review of Activities with the 126th Company Canadian Forestry Corps while stationed at Ampthill, Bedfordshire, Eng. (Sgt H. Porter, 1918)
Next instalment to be published on 30 April 2018….
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
This 48 page book tells the story of how Tommy’s Footprints came about and notes the many people who have contributed and connected. There are just 150 individually numbered books. A unique gift.
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.
£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.
To remember that amazing day and the memories it went onto craft, here is a free copy of the book “Stencilling Tommy’s Footprints” – click to download.