Category Archives: Uncategorized

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, June 1918

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.

June 1918

Ampthill Command Depot

About 65 large marquees and a number of small tents have been erected, and a large camp has formed at eastern end of the park to receive more convalescent troops who are expected to arrive any day.

The Command Depot cricket team scored an impressive victory on Saturday, June 1st by beating the Hydraulic Works team by 137 runs to 56. The low score of the Luton team was chiefly due to the excellent bowling of Private T. EDWARDS (late of Surrey 2nd XI).  Lieutenant BOOTH (late captain of Bedford Alma) scored 52 for the Command Depot.

On Thursday, June 13th an excellent show was given by D.H. Evan’s No.1 Party at Olympia. The large hall was crowded with Tommies and their friends.

A draft of 50 men was escorted to the Station by the Depot’s Drum and Fife Band.

PC J. PEGG, formerly Sergeant Instructor of bayonet training who was very popular at the Training- and the Command Depot, has been discharged to join the Ampthill Police. Force.

Ampthill Volunteers

The Ampthill Platoon marched over to Clophill and attended church parade at the Parish Church. The sermon was preached by the Rector, Rev Cecil L. MATTHEWS, who is home on short leave from the Front. Lieutenant F.W. BRADSHAW (O.C.), Sergeant E.J. MOORE (Platoon Sergeant), Corporals W.E. PARMITER and J. SMITH, and other N.C.Os were on parade. Major L.H. CHASE (Officer Commanding the 1st Battalion) inspected the Ampthill Platoon.

Canadian Forestry Corps

In early June the Portuguese Labour Corps remembered the first anniversary of the death of their comrade who was killed in an air raid in France. There was a series of village dances to the music of an improvised orchestra consisting of a concertina, mandolin, and a guitar. The dancing kept on to a late hour, when hats were removed, and the proceedings concluded with the singing of the Portuguese National Anthem.

The “Jesters” concert party from the Royal Engineers, Bedford provided an evening of entertainment at the Y.M.C.A. Hut in the Pines, and their programme was thoroughly enjoyed. The “Zig-Zag Concert Party and Bob Barry’s party from Luton have also been entertaining at the Y.M.C.A. On Thursday, the “Woodpeckers” Pierrot Troupe of the Canadian Forestry Corps made their debut, with an excellent programme of the latest songs.

A pretty wedding has taken place on June 3rd at St. Andrew’s between Canadian Forester Private E.J. PERRY and Miss Gertrude Gowers of Park Hill. The Canadian’s Chaplain, Rev. H.P. Pollard officiated.

A book by Sgt. Herman L. PORTER has been published. In a pleasant, breezy manner Sergt. Porter reviews the work of the Canadian Forestry Corps since the formation of the camp in August 1917. The book is published by the Beds. Times Publishing Co. Ltd and is on sale at Mr F. Harwood’s in the Market Place, and is priced at 2s 3d. The entire profits are being devoted to a fund for the providing of concerts at the Y.M.C.A Hut during the summer.

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News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

There is news that Sapper James T. WILDMAN has been badly gassed in the recent fighting in France, and is lying seriously ill in Queen Mary’s Military Hospital at Whalley.

We also hear that 2nd Lieutenant Walter E. GADSBY M.M. has been wounded again and is now at the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth. Formerly a private footman to HRH Queen Mary, 17906 Private W.E. GADSBY enlisted in the early days of the war and left the Bedfordshire Training Depot in May 1915 with the first draft. Walter has the unique honour of being the first man from the Depot to win the Military Medal which he did in July 1916 at the infamous Somme ‘Trones Wood’ action, and was subsequently recommended for a commission which he took in August 1917 with 4th York & Lancaster Regiment.

26765 Private Arthur ROBINSON of Woburn Street, who trained at the Bedfordshire Depot, has been awarded the Military Medal. While serving as a runner with the Bedfords’ Private Robinson discovered part of the line unoccupied. At great personal risk and danger to himself Private Robinson brought up reinforcements and he saved the situation. His younger brother, 27359 Private Percy ROBINSON, died in France in April 1917 due to a serious head injury.

This month the war has claimed the lives of two men who trained at the Ampthill Camp.

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.

Ampthill Parish Magazine
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Red Cross
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)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

Next instalment to be published on 31 July 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 hartleyhare135@gmail.com 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.

Continue reading

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, May 1918

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.

May 1918

The Ampthill Platoon of Volunteers went into camp at Luton Hoo on Saturday, 18 May. The men attending paraded in full kit and entrained at Ampthill Midland Station.

The Military Medal has been awarded to Signaller Charles Transley (Middlesex Regiment) of Woburn Street. Signaller Transley, with two comrades, held a forward post for several days against the Germans. This is the fifth Ampthill lad to be awarded the Military Medal, the others being: Corporal Guy S. Martin, Sergeant Richard H. Wheeler, Corporal James Hall and Sergeant Fred Gibbs.

Ampthill Command Depot

About 60 men of the R.A.M.C. are now under canvas in Ampthill Great Park. Dr. Scott and Dr. Glasgow have arrived at the Command Depot to cope with the increasing number of convalescents, and the R.A.M.C. staff have also been augmented.

An exciting cricket match was held on the afternoon of Saturday, 18th May between the Ampthill Command Depot and strong team from the Army Service Corps. The visitors were all out for 57 runs, and the Depot went on to score 64 runs thanks to the all-round excellence of the team’s batting.

That evening Private T. Simpson of the Hertfordshire Regiment was gravely injured when cycling home from the Depot. Private Simpson came down Brewery Lane and lost control of the machine and, gathering speed, it dashed with terrible force into the wall at the other side of Bedford Street. Dr Garner attended the scene. The Park ambulance conveyed the injured man to Kempston Military Hospital where he succumbed on Friday, 24th May to the injuries.

On Saturday, 25th May a draft left the Command Depot for the Front. They were given a hearty send-off by the Command Depot band.

Canadian Forestry Corps

There is news that the Ampthill Mill has claimed a record for cutting more timber than any other Mill of its size in England.

On May 9th a grand concert was given by the “Whizz Bangs” at the Y.M.C.A. Hut on the Pines, which was well-received. The audience joined in by singing “O Canada” and the evening closed with the National Anthem.

The first baseball match to be held in Ampthill took place on Monday, 20th May. The 125th Canadian Forestry Corps arrived from Woburn to take on the 126th Corps in an exciting game. The Ampthill Canadians claimed the victory by 22 tries to 18.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month the war has claimed the lives of six men who trained at the Ampthill Camp.

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.

Ampthill Parish Magazine
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Red Cross
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)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

Next instalment to be published on 31 May 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 hartleyhare135@gmail.com 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.

Continue reading

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, April 1918

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].

1918.4.12 BS

Bedfordshire Standard – April 12, 1918

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.

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.

Ampthill Parish Magazine
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Red Cross
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)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 hartleyhare135@gmail.com 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.

Continue reading

31524 Private Ernest Rogers of Langford 

The Ampthill Camp Memorial names 707 men who trained at the Ampthill Camp and were killed in WWI. Examining the Roll of Honour for Langford I found an Ampthill recruit who isn’t named on the bronze plaques of the Ampthill Camp Memorial – Private Ernest Rogers of 12, Station Rd in Langford. Ernest’s Service Record is one of those that survived WWII German bombing in 1940 and confirms the link.

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(all images © Crown Copyright)

Ernest Rogers was a 19 year old farm labourer from Langford. On November 17, 1915 Ernest Rogers went to the Bedfordshire Training Depot and attested before Major Nelson (Adjutant). Dr Garner did the medical examination. Private 23344 Rogers trained at the Ampthill Camp until he was transferred on April 12, 1916 to the Machine Gun Corps, 8th Battalion and his Military Service Number changed to 31524.

On September 25 Ernest was posted to France where he joined the Machine Gun Corps, 89 Company.

On March 20, 1917 Private Rogers was wounded in action – a gunshot wound to the neck/shoulder. Ernest was brought back to the UK and spent some time being rehabilitated at the Alnwick Command Depot. In October 1917 he returned to the Front as a Machine Gunner where he served with the 5th Battalion. On April 23, 1918 Ernest was injured again – a shrapnel wound to the knee and a and leg fracture. Private Ernest Rogers died one week later at the 39th Stationary Hospital. He is buried in the Aire Communal Cemetery and remembered on the Memorial Clock Tower in Langford

Research has found five more Ampthill Park recruits who fell during the Great War and are not named on the Ampthill Camp Memorial. There may well be more. This no great surprise because men were transferred from the Bedfords’ to reinforce other regiments. News of those casualties may not have filtered back to the Ampthill Camp.

Source:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.co.uk
The National Archives

#IWMSTORIES

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, March 1918

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.

March 1918 – News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Starting 1918 with just four Ampthill Camp casualties lulled a false sense of hopefulness. From March 21 a German Offensive in the Somme sector has claimed a mounting number of casualties. This month 30 men of the Ampthill Camp have been killed in action or have died of their wounds.

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.

Ampthill Parish Magazine
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Red Cross
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)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 hartleyhare135@gmail.com 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.

Continue reading

2nd Lieutenant Alfred K. Setchell

Alfred Knight SETCHELL was born on February 12, 1898 in Bedford. The only son of Mr & Mrs Arthur Setchell, Alfred attended Bedford Modern School where he served in the Officer Training Corps (O.T.C.).

On June 3, 1916, aged 18 years and 4 months, Alfred attested at Ampthill as 29967 Private Setchell and was posted to the Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Great Park. On July 25 he was appointed Lance Corporal and on October 28 posted to the Ampthill Command Depot, shortly after it opened.

image1

On May 5, 1917 Alfred was posted to undertake training at No.3 Officer Cadet Battalion in Bristol and then discharged (August 28) on being appointed to a command with the 9th Norfolks’ as a 2nd Lieutenant (temporary).

On March 21, 1918 2nd Lieutenant Setchell was wounded in action and recorded as ‘missing.’

Mr Arthur Setchell (father) was Secretary of the Discharged Prisoner’s Aid Society in Bedford. Mr Setchell refused to accept, without evidence, that ‘missing’ meant that his son was dead, and so he exchanged letters with the War Office up to and after the armistice. Mr Setchell’s persistence glimpsed the fate of his son – a witness account and sketch by a Captain William Arnott (R.A.M.C.) who recalled 2nd Lieutenant Setchell at the 18th Field Ambulance Advanced Dressing Station in the Cambrai region; Alfred was had a serious chest wound. Later that day German troops over ran the dugout and Captain Arnott handed the wounded officer into the care of a Prussian Guards Division’ Doctor, who took charge. Contact was lost with 2nd Lieutenant Setchell and two other British wounded who were left in the dugout.

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The War Office made efforts to locate 2nd Lieutenant Setchell, but his fate and resting place are unknown.

A December 23, 1919 War Office minute records that “No further information has been received [about 2nd Lieutenant A.K. Setchell], and in view of the lapse of time since he was reported as Missing, his death has been accepted for official purposes as having occurred on or since 21st March, 1918.

2nd Lieutenant Alfred K. SETCHELL is remembered at Arras, on the Duke of Bedford War Memorial in Ampthill Great Park and is named on the memorial stones at Bedford Modern School and Bedford St. Peters Church. 

Source:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk
#IWMSTORIES

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, February 1918

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 1918 – On Tuesday, 12th the Church Room hosted a concert to help with recruiting volunteers to the Ampthill Detachment of the 1st Bedfordshire Volunteer Regiment. Lieutenant F. W. Bradshaw (O.C. Ampthill Detachment) and Volunteers in uniform were in attendance.

The main event was the ‘Olympics’ Concert Party from the Ampthill Command Depot, with Miss Belle Cameron of the ‘Arcadians Company’ also contributing with song.

During the interval Captain D. Scott (Adjutant, 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Volunteer Regiment) outlined the scheme and Captain H. Spensley O.C. ‘C’ Company appealed for volunteers and explained how necessary it was to get the Volunteer Force up to strength in case of an invasion.

A collection was taken in aid of the Red Cross funds, which raised a goodly sum.

In the Ampthill Parish Magazine the Reverend W.D. May has gladly written of the presence of a good many members of the Urban Council attending, as well as officer and men of the Volunteer Training Corps, and those at the Command Depot.

1918.2.15 BS
Bedfordshire Standard – February 15, 1918

 

 

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

February has been a quiet month for Ampthill Park recruits who are serving on the Western Front.

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.

Ampthill Parish Magazine
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Red Cross
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)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

Next instalment to be published on 31 March 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 hartleyhare135@gmail.com 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.