Tag Archives: 126th

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, January 1919

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.

January 1919 – A number of Ampthill girls have received their discharge from the Luton Munitions Works and quite a number have returned to their former employment as machinists. More are out of work and report daily to the local Labour Exchange and receive each week the Government allowance of 25′. The general opinion is that the girls will not return to service.

Corporal J. SMITH has ably organized a social in aid of the 1st Battalion, Beds Volunteer Regiment, Ampthill Detachment at the Drill Hall. Dancing commenced at 8pm and the evening closed at 1.30am. The music was provided by Mr. Norman Walker (violin) and Miss Walker (sister), piano. Further attractions were games and musical items. During the interval Lieutenant F.W. BRADSHAW made reference to Captain Howard SPENSLEY (of Westoning Manor) who was seriously injured on Thursday, January 16th when cycling to Ampthill and struck by a oncoming motor car, and everyone expressed hopes of his early recovery. Most of the Volunteers were present in full uniform.

On Monday, 27th the Volunteers were disbanded and all of their equipment was called in.

Rumours are current in town that it is contemplated shortly to form a German prisoner of war camp on the site of the Pine Woods. At the month end we clarified that the prisoners are to be held at the Bird in Hand Pub on Park Hill as the Canadian Camp has been taken over by the Board of Trade

Ampthill Command Depot

We understand that in all probability men at the Command Depot for treatment will be leaving at the end of the month. The staff will be staying on for a while, but there is no doubt that the end of the Command Depot is in sight, and the camp will soon be broken up. Allied to that, it has been requested that all accounts due by the Ampthill Command Depot be sent at once to the President of the Regimental Institutes, Ampthill Command Depot. It will not be long before a man in khaki will be quite a rare avis in Ampthill.

On the afternoon of Saturday, 4th January the Command Depot Football Team played ‘C’ Depot, Royal Engineers from Bedford. Corporal H. SMITH, Corporal WILKINSON and Private CHAPMAN all scored for the home side. The Royal Engineers also scored twice, and the whistle went leaving the Ampthill team the winners by 3 goals to 2. The Command Depot Football Team is now second down the league list.

On Thursday, 23rd the Command Depot Concert gave its last show. All concerts are now to be held in the Recreation Room instead of the Olympia Hall which is much too large for the small number of men who are still at the Depot. There are only about 60 men left at the Depot now.

News of Ampthill Boys 

Bandmaster T.M. TUNBRIDGE, son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. A. Stanbridge of Melvern Villa in Ampthill, writes from Cambrai that he is well, and states that recently he took a walk amidst the ruins some miles from the town when he encountered an English nurse. By a strange coincidence it happened to be Nurse Mabel GASCOMBE, of Ampthill, who has for some years been engaged as a nurse in France. She was stationed at a military hospital in the neighbourhood.

Private A. BASS (Middlesex Regiment) who was in charge of the Drill Hall for some years during the existence of the Ampthill Training Depot, has had an eventful career. Joining up at the commencement of the war, he served for some time at the Ampthill Camp, and went out to France with an early draft. He came home wounded and was then transferred to the Middlesex Regiment. He was sent to India on board the transport “Tyndareus,” which was torpedoed off the East of Africa, and has been cited as a parallel to the historic “Birkenhead.” After some months service at Singapore, he was sent to Russia, and we now have news of him as part of Colonel John Ward‘s propaganda battalion in Russia

Private Claude FOSSEY (Middlesex Regiment) of Saunders Piece is home from Germany where he has been held as a prisoner of war for some time. Claude is one of five brothers serving with the forces, and has been wounded in action.

Private Arthur OSBORNE (King’s Rifles) of Saunders Piece is home after being kept as a prisoner-of-war. His 22 year old brother, Lance Corporal Leonard OSBORNE (London Regiment) has been missing since March 1918.

Private Sidney STAPLETON (Sherwood Foresters) of Woburn Street is home on leave recovering from a wound.

Private James UNDERWOOD (Machine Gun Corps) of Park Hill, who was formerly a member of the Ampthill Training Depot band and went to France in February 1918, has been appointed to the bagpipe band of the 2nd Battery M.G.C., now on the Rhine.

Lance Corporal Ernest WOODLAND (Bedfordshire Regiment) of Dunstable Street, who has been stationed at the Command Depot for some time, has received his discharged from the Army and is now at home. He went through the Dardanelles Campaign with the 1/5th Bedfords’ and was badly wounded in France. He has been playing in the Command Depot Olympia Hall Cinema Bijon Orchestra.

The following Ampthill boys have been discharged from the army:

  • Private Sydney H. LAKE (R.A.M.C.) of Park Street
  • Private Thomas A. LAMBERT (Bedfordshire Regiment)
  • Private Arthur G. ROBINSON M.M. (Hertfordshire Regiment) of Oliver Street
  • Private William A. STANBRIDGE (Bedfordshire Regiment) of Park Street
  • Private Charles P. STAPLES (Suffolk Regiment) of Arthur Street 

Source:

The Bedfordshire Standard; Bedfordshire Times. 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
British Newspaper Archive
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog

Ampthill’s Fallen – by John Hele (2014)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

Next instalment to be published on 28 February 2019….

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, December 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.

December 1918 – The Ampthill Volunteer Machine Gun Team has resumed their course of instruction under Corporal C.F. WOOD of Bedford.

The Town Band, which has been reformed, gave an excellent concert on the evening of Saturday, December 8th in The Market Place. Mr W. N. Walker and Sergeant Drummer A. PEPPER acted as co-directors, and collections were taken in aid of the band funds.

Dr. K. Roberts (Ministry of Health), for the Ampthill Rural District, reports that the influenza epidemic has abated.

On Sunday, 22nd a memorial service was held at St. Andrew’s Church to those who had fallen in the war, and the names of some 40 men of the parish were recited. A very impressive sermon was preached by the Rector, the Rev. Walter D. May from John xv.13 “Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” In the course of the sermon the Rector referred to the provision of a permanent memorial of those who had fallen in the war, and said that he considered no more fitting one could be chosen than that of a large stone Churchyard cross – the sign of Christ’s own sacrifice – at the foot of which should be inscribed the names of all in the parish who had offered their lives for their country and their friends.

There have been khaki weddings:

On Christmas Day at the Wesleyan Chapel the wedding of Miss Ethel Barker of  Dunstable Street and Sergeant George H. GOODWIN (126th C.F.C.) who is now stationed at Brandon. Upon return to Canada Sergeant GOODWIN anticipates taking up his engineering work at Revelstoke in British Columbia.

On 28th December at the Wesleyan Chapel Miss Florence Sugars wed Sergeant Frederick T. SUDBURY (126th C.F.C.) of Ontario.

Also on 28th December at the Wesleyan Chapel in Streatham Miss Emmie Prior (V.A.D. Nurse, British Red Cross Hospital, Streatham) to Private Clement HARDWICK (Suffolks). They are taking up residence at ‘Homeleigh’ on Chandos Road, Ampthill.

General Election

On Saturday, 14th the two Polling Stations at Ampthill were kept throughout the day. Voters No.1 to 599 voted at the National School (Presiding Officer: Mr H. Robinson) and voters 600 to 1,215 for Ampthill and all Millbrook voters at the Wesleyan Schools (Presiding Officer: Mr H. Webber). It is believed that about 700 voted, and of these about 400 are women. This is not a bad total when the 240 absent uniformed voters are allowed for. The Deputy Returning Officer is Mr W.F.A. Fletcher (Under Sheriff) of Biggleswade.

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The votes of men on service were handled separately at Shire Hall and in unexpected numbers. The total absent voters polling strength is 18,966, but of course many have died since the lists were prepared and many are too off to vote and have not taken advantage of their right to appoint a proxy.

The General Election result was declared on 28th December. The counting of the Mid Bedfordshire ballot papers took place at the County Court Hall in Ampthill, under the supervision of Mr Howard Spensley (High Sheriff). Among those present  were Sir Arthur W. Black and Lady Black, and Mr and Mrs Max G. Townley, with their agents. At one o’clock the High Sheriff proceeded to the steps of the County Court Hall where the poll result was officially announced as:

Mr Max G. Townley (Coalition Union)   9,073
Sir Arthur W. Black (Liberal)                  7,352
Majority                                                       1,712

Nationally, it was a landslide victory for the coalition government of David Lloyd George – read more.

Ampthill Command Depot

The Ampthill Command Depot Football Team served an overwhelming victory on Saturday, 7th afternoon, when playing the Army Service Corps in Ampthill Park. The whistle went leaving Ampthill the winners by 11 goals to none.

Private A.V. COOTE (Machine Gun Corps), late of the Command Depot, who has been a prisoner of war for sometime, has now been released and is back in England.

A grand victory ball was held in the Olympia Hall, in the Park, on Boxing Night.

News of Ampthill Boys

The Military Medal has been awarded to 202116 Private Arthur LOWE M.M. (1/7th Middlesex) of Bedford Street. he is the eighth Ampthill boy to win the M.M. and it is in all probability the last award made in the war. The news was received in a letter from his officer, B.E.F. France, which stays:

“As the officer commanding No.6 Platoon, it became necessary for me to change my servant at a minute’s notice on the night of the 6th November, as we were leaving a village in France to proceed to our “jumping off” place for what proved to be the last burst of the war. My choice of servant fell upon your son, who has served with me for some time, and from that moment until the declaration of the armistice he carried on in the double capacity of my batman and platoon runner, with a remarkable devotion to duty, and to myself personally. For three nights and until we were relieved on the fourth day we had a very trying and at times dangerous time, with practically no sleep. Your son was invariably very willing and unquenchably cheerful, and exceed his duty in many respects. He was particularly good in carrying messages, both under fire and otherwise.”

Source: Bedfordshire Time & Independent (December 13th, 1918)

Lieutenant Ernest CHIVERS, who has been the Garrison Engineer at Hyderabad for some months, has been promoted to Captain, and is in charge of the military works at Karachi.

7029 Lance Corporal John ODELL D.C.M. (Seaforth Highlanders) who has been a prisoner of war for sometime in Germany, has returned home to Oliver Street.

60688 Sergeant Harry STAPLETON (R.A.M.C.) of Arthur Street has been returned from Germany, where has been a prisoner for some time.

Mrs M. A. Two of Oliver Street has heard that her son 30431 Private Albert E. TWO (75th Field Ambulance, R.A.M.C.) who has been missing since March, is presumed killed in action.

9400 Private William STANBRIDGE (1st Bedfords’) of The Alameda has received his discharge from the Army. William was in the Regular Army, and previous to the outbreak of war was stationed in South Africa, cam over in 1914, and went to France in October 1914.

149453 Private James DAVIS (Labour Corps) of Park Hill has been discharged.

26765 Private Arthur ROBINSON M.M. has also been discharged and is now at home in Woburn Street.

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard; Bedfordshire Times. 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
British Newspaper Archive
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Red Cross
Ampthill’s Fallen – by John Hele (2014)

 

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

Next instalment to be published on 31 January 2019….

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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


24 February 2019 – Guided Walk to revisit the WWI Trenching Ground

A guided walk to discover what remains of the Trenching Ground in Steppingley Woods.

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Starts: 2pm
Venue: Please gather in Ampthill Great Park, West Car Park (map) by A507 to depart at 2pm.
Detail: 2-3 miles. Please wear stout shoes and warm clothing. Child and dog friendly. We should be back in Ampthill Great Park for 4pm.
Cost: £3 on the day (no need to pre-book).

 

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 Tansley (Middlesex Regiment) of Woburn Street. Signaller Tansley, 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.

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, November 1917

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 1917 – on Wednesday, November 14th  Sister Dora NEWMAN (Superintendent) of the Ampthill V.A.D. Hospital was awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal (2nd Class) for devoted service rendered to wounded soldiers. Ampthill Park House is one of four residences in town that are providing medical care to support war effort.

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Ampthill Park House (1908)

On November 18th a large number of wounded arrived at Ampthill Station from France and Flanders. There were about fifty cases who were conveyed by motor ambulance for treatment at the two hospitals in Woburn. Most of the men were suffering from being gassed, and a number of them were Canadians and Anzacs.

1917.11.16 BS

Bedfordshire Standard – November 16, 1917

 

1917.11.23 BS

Bedfordshire Standard – November 23, 1917

 

News of the Canadians

Work is underway on Cooper’s Hill to create a camp of rustic, timber huts from from the waste slabs. This will replace the bell tents as winter draws in.

There is news that Private John HAYWARD, one of the railway foreman, has been injured after the brakes failed on a railway car and he was dashed into a closed gate at the bottom of the grade.  Private Hayward sustained serious compound fracture to the right arm. He has been taken to the Duchess of Bedford’s Hospital, at Woburn

Sergeant GARDEN of the Canadian Forestry Corps has been at the Wesleyan School to tell the children of ‘Canada.’ Sergeant Garden took his hearers on an imaginary trip where he described the wonders of Niagra Falls, the Rocky Mountains, and many other sights and scenes of that beautiful country. The headmaster, Mr W.H. CUTLAND, thanked the narrator on behalf of the children.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Thirteen Ampthill Camp recruits have been killed this month of which eight died of battle wounds. Here is what we know of Sergeant George S. BABBINGTON.

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Source: de Ruvignys Roll of Honour vol.3

Private Walter C. PEARCE died at home and has been laid to rest in Hitchin Cemetery.

Source:

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

Ampthill Parish Magazine
de Ruvignys Roll of Honour vol.3
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog

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 December 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

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.