Tag Archives: Ampthill Camp

The Armistice – Ampthill, 1918

Monday, 11th November – the Armistice was signed at 5 o’clock where after the news rippled through Bedfordshire that firing would cease on all fronts at 11am.

In Bedford, immediately afterwards flags were flying all over the town, the church bells rang merry peals, and schools and most of the factories closed down. Soldiers were heartily cheered in the streets and jubilant crowds marched through the principal thoroughfares. The welcome news rippled throughout the County and there were many relieved and joyous scenes – read more.

How Ampthill received the news

News of the signing of the Armistice reached Ampthill about 10.20 a.m. on Monday, and instantly the flags of bygone days made their appearance one by one, until the town presented a festive appearance. About the largest flag in town was a huge one of the British colours, which hung outside the White Hart Hotel. Workshops and places of business closed and gave their attendants a holiday, and others took it. Those who could not have a flag had bows and enterprising shopkeepers did a good trade. The soldiers from the Camp had leave, and many of them crowded into the centre of the town, singing patriotic songs and making merry. A brewery dray, making its way from Bedford Street, met with an enthusiastic reception from the soldiers, who started to tug at the barrels of beer. The drayman was forced to return for shelter to the brewery premises. The scholars paraded the streets waving flags, singing songs and making an immense salute of noise. The flag on the church tower was hoisted, and the bells pealed out one of the most welcome peals ever heard in Ampthill.

The good old town clock in the market place, which had been silent for some years, took upon itself to send out its familiar chimes at 11 o’clock, causing the ears of the towns people to tingle at the well-remembered sound which had been lacking so long.

At the Parish Church a united public thanksgiving was held at which all classes and conditions were represented, and the Rector led the service. A solemn Te Deum was sung by a large congregation including Lady Ampthill and the Hon. Miss Russell and special thanksgiving hymns and Psalms were sung. Later on the school boys paraded for hours, fondly thumping kettles, pans and drums, and carrying flags, singing patriotic songs. In fact there never was such a commotion in the town, and such a feeling of thankfulness. There were mixed feelings of joy and sorrow in many hearts, especially those who had lost loved ones, but at the same time one and all were thanking that further sacrifice of life was now not necessary. Up to late hours the festive crowd occupied the market place, and the streets were alive with people. Several windows threw out the almost forgotten light.

On Tuesday a party of the Royal Engineers from Haynes Park on horseback, paraded the town making merriment. In the evening the drum and fife band of the Command Depot, assisted by a number of men from the Depot, held a torchlight tattoo through the town, and were loudly cheered wherever they went. All the main streets were paraded, whilst the band played lively airs and the torches threw a lurid glare over the whole scene. In conclusion the band, halted in the Market-place and played “He’s a jolly good fellow,” followed by “Rule Britannia” and, as a finale, “God save the King.”

On Sunday, 17th a special thanksgiving service for the victory of the Allies was held at St.Andrew’s Church, when a large congregation was present. Ampthill Urban and District Council, the V.A.D and the uniformed organisations were well-represented. The Rector, Rev Walter D. May, took the service. Afterwards the various bodies formed up outside the church, and marched off to their respective headquarters.

Source: The Bedfordshire Standard, 15th November 1918

#IWMSTORIES

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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

EXT038_18 Ampthill Armistice 1x3m PRESS.pdf

 

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, December 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.

December 1917 – at the Command Depot a cinema has opened for use by the troops. A good show now takes place nearly every night in ‘Olympia.’ Lieutenant HANKINSON operates and Sergeant ALLEN is the engineer.

Three men at the Ampthill Command Depot have been awarded the Military Medal for their gallant actions:

8717 Corporal Frank AVELING (2nd Bedfords’) of Bromley has seen action since 1914. On August 1, 1917 in the Ypres Sector he was in the trenches and received news that several British bombers had been wounded raiding the German line – read war diary. Corporal  Aveling went out alone and rescued nine wounded under heavy fire – the London Gazette.

16359 Private George W. CATLING (7th Bedfords’)  – on May 3, 1917 the British advance was held up by heavy machine gun fire. Private Catling remained with his Lewis gun to cover his comrades during the retreat – the London Gazette.

15115 Sergeant Samuel IMPEY (7th Bedfords’) of Luton – on July 1, 1916 was involved in storming Pomiers Redoubt on the first day of The Somme. With all officers wounded, Sergeant Impey took command of the company, led and succeeded in taking the redoubt, and was wounded – read war diary. The London Gazette announced the award 12 months ago.

1917.12.7 BSa

Bedfordshire Standard – December 7, 1917

The Ampthill Platoon of the 1st Bedfordshire Volunteers had a field day on Sunday, December 5th near Bedford. They were joined by the Bedford Volunteers and the Bedford & Modern Schools O.T.C.’s. The Ampthill men formed the third line of attack in a general scheme of operations. Captain SCOTT (Adjutant, 1st Bedfords’) addressed the Volunteers and Cadets, who then re-formed and marched back into Bedford, via Bromham. The Ampthill Platoon returned on the 6.48 train and marched up to Headquarters, where they were finally dismissed by Lieutenant BRADSHAW.

 

1917-12-7-bsb.jpg

Bedfordshire Standard – December 7, 1917

News of the Canadians

The Forestry Corps detachment is now accommodated in a rustic, hutted camp which has been constructed in a clearing on the Cooper’s Hill Plantation.

Captain SHELLEY, Chaplain to six Canadian lumbering-camps, including Ampthill and the 125th Corps at Woburn, preached at the Union Chapel in Ampthill. Sergeant J.G. GARDEN read the lessons.

Sergeant Garden, with support of the Wesleyan Chapel, has also been making arrangements for placing the Canadian men in Ampthill homes to give them a home-like Christmas.

1917-12-21.png

December 21, 1917

 

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

A number of Ampthill boys are home on leave –
60675 Private Walter BARTRAM (Northamptonshire Regiment)
122644 Sergeant Sidney JEFFS (Devonshire Regiment)
37076 Private Arthur PRESSLAND (Bedfords’)
718277 Private George SHOTBOLT (Post Office Rifles)
21756 Private Fred WILCOX (Royal Sussex)
40941 Private James WOOLF (Essex Regiment)
522285 Sapper Fred WOODCRAFT (Royal Engineers)

25873 Private John COPPERWHEAT (Bedfords’) is in the King George Hospital, London recovering from a wound to the lower back. 37175 Lance Corporal Ernest WOODLAND (Bedfords’) is hospitalised in Stockport where he is recovering from five wounds.

Ten Ampthill Camp recruits have been killed in action or have died of wounds this month.

There is tragic news that on 30 December the troop ship S.S. Aragon was torpedoed while entering the Port of Alexandra in Egypt, and sank with the loss of 380 officers and men. Twenty-five Bedfords were among them of which two – Private BEESLEY and Private MINNIS – trained at the Ampthill Camp.

  • Casualties

20603 Private Samuel KING (27) of Coppingford Killed in Action on December 7
18602 Private Harry TITMUS (40) of Sundon Killed in Action on December 9
26665 Private George H. WARREN of Great Berkhamsted Died of Wounds on December 12 and buried in Northolt
23722 Private Charles F. WRIGHT of Stagsden Killed in Action on December 13
203151 Private Alfred STANBRIDGE (38) of Maulden Died of Dysentry on December 14
20150 Private Bert SHERWOOD (33) of Baldock Died of Wounds on December 16
23397 Private Edward G. BEESLEY  (21) of Ramsey Drowned at Sea on December 30
30901 Private Arthur W. MINNIS (27) of Hitchin Drowned at Sea on December 30
23675 Lance Corporal Frederick G. COVINGTON (22) of Guilden Morden Killed in Action on December 31
30064 Private Stewart W. HILL (28) of Ampthill Died of Wounds on December 31

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
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 January 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

£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.

 

 

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, September 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.

September 1917 – on Thursday, 6th an audience of soldiers and civilians packed into the large and conduits Recreation Room at the Depot to be entertained by M Fred Hall’s party from Bedford. The concert opened with a pianoforte selection by Miss Lillie Lee. The boys of rank and file were not slow in taking up the choruses.

Two men – Private Jack Dougherty and Private Joe Galewski amused those assembled with a comic song and mystifying tricks. The singing of the National Anthem brought a very enjoyable evening to a close.

1917.09.07 BS

September 7, 1917

The Pines

The 126th Canadian Forestry Corps has erected a camp of tents on the Cooper’s Hill Plantation. A Captain Kenny is in charge. On September 5th reinforcements arrived in Ampthill which brings the Corps strength up to more than 180 men.

So great was the interest manifest in the operation on Cooper’s Hill that 4 policemen have be continually on the job to chase the people away from the falling trees.

The Corps has taken of the Bird in Hand pub on Park Hill which has bee untenanted for some 3 years. Work is underway to scrub and sweep this picturesque old inn.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Eight Ampthill Camp recruits are among the casualties this month. Two of the boys – Private RALPH and Private ASHWELL – died in Turkey where they were serving with the 4th Battalion,  South Wales Borderers.

A further four were killed in action on September 20. We know that the 2nd Bedfords’ were in the trenches at Ypres. A party of fifty Bedfords took part in an early hours raid on the German line. The Commanding Officer’s report gives an account of what happened:

On the morning of 20th September 1917, Zero hour 5.40 a.m. the Battalion carried out 2 minor operations in conjunction with a general advance of the 2nd and 5th Armies. 

Captain William J. HOLBROOK MC and 2nd Lieutenant Thomas G. SEARLE MC were in command of a party consisting of 50 Other ranks, with orders to raid the Centre of Movement at O.12.c.25/70 for the purpose of collecting information, capturing Prisoners, Machine Guns and damaging Dug-outs. They were accompanied by a party of 8 Royal Engineers with blasting charges. The party on nearing their objective were fired on heavily both with Machine Guns and Rifles. This fire, so intense, and the wire discovered to be uncut, made further advance and return impossible. The party, among whom were several wounded, remained in shell-holes during the whole day and returned about 9 p.m. to our own line. Much valuable information was collected from this enterprise.” 

The Nominal Roll of Captain Holbrook names two Ampthill recruits – Private Charles ARNOTT and Private Alfred GREEN both of ‘A’ Company – who were killed during the raid.

Source: Bedfordshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion War Diary for September 20, 1917

  • Casualties

19714 Private Walter HUDSON (30) of Earith Killed in Action on September 14
12138 Private Victor J. RALPH of Christchurch Died in Turkey on September 16
12101 Private Walter ASHWELL (29) of Moggerhanger Died in Turkey on September 18
18932 Private Charles ARNOTT (24) of Hemel Hempstead Killed in Action on September 20
18721 Private Alfred GREEN (21) of Huntingdon Killed in Action on September 20
18024 Private Cecil R. HOLMES (24) of Bletsoe Killed in Action on September 20
23605 Private John R. NEWBURY (29) of Woburn Killed in Action on September 20
26786 Private Albert LANE (23) of Toddington Killed in Action on September 22

Source:

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
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 October 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.

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

June 1917 – on Tuesday, June 12 the Ampthill Command Depot played an enjoyable game of cricket against Ampthill. A collection was also held in aid of the British Red Cross.

1917.06.15 BS ACD

Bedfordshire Standard – June 15, 1917

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month eight Ampthill Camp boys have died at the Front.

Source:

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

Next installment to be published on 31 July 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.

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

May 1917 – News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Mr and Mrs Putman of Park Street, Ampthill have received news that on April 15 their son Richard was seriously injured by a shell burst. Surgeons amputated the shattered leg but on April 26 Richard succumbed at the No.7 General Hospital in St. Omer, France, and is buried close by. 23505 Private Richard Putman had served at the Front for nigh on a year.

There is also news of 27359 Private Percy Robinson (19) of Woburn Street, Ampthill who did his early training at the Ampthill Camp. Percy sustained serious head injuries whilst in the trenches with the Northamptonshire Regiment – he did not regain consciousness. Percy is remembered at St. Andrew’s Parish Church in Ampthill.

Percy Robinson – remembered at St. Andrew’s Church, Ampthill

1917.05.04 BS.jpg

Bedfordshire Standard – May 4, 1917

During May the Ampthill Park recruits have seen more action near Arras. Twenty-five of the boys have fallen or died of wounds.

One lad –19845 Private Edward H. Wiles of Ravensden – was awarded the Military Medal for his brave actions at Gavrelle on April 22/23, and has since died of his wounds.

19845 Wiles 1917

Source: The National Archives

Eight of the twenty-five chaps died on May 3 when the 7th Bedfords’ were part of an attack at Chérisy. Poor light delayed ZERO hour to 4:15am. The barrage commenced badly, being irregular. When the advance started the Battalion soon slightly lost direction the men being extended at about 12 paces could scarcely see each other. Regiments forces to the left also lost direction & crowded to the right, thus confusing the British attack & causing a further loss of direction. Four Tanks were used but these achieved little – two machines broke down and a third turned and came back through the British lines, which added to the confusion. Some Bedfords found themselves stranded in shell holes. In the evening a second attempt was made to attack but this was thwarted by an intense enemy barrage & the wire in front could not be forced. The whole lot fell back to original front line and held that during the night being relieved early in the morning by the Northants taking over. (Source: war diary)

Two boys – 18858 Private Thomas Andrews and 23749 Private Birty Johnson – died at home of their war wounds and are buried in Blighty.

Source:

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

Next installment to be published on 30 June 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.

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

April 1917 – News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Mr and Mrs William have received tragic confirmation that one of their sons has been killed. In the Somme region on August 9, last 26703 Private Thomas J. Money was reported as missing in action.

1917-4-20-bs-george-money

Bedfordshire Standard – April 20, 1917

After a quiet Spring the Bedfords’ have seen action in the allied offensive at Arras in France. Eighty-four Ampthill Recruits have been killed – 35 of the boys fell in the April 23rd attack at La Coulotte. One of these chaps – 26708 Private William J. SMITH of Dunstable – was awarded the Military Medal for his galant actions.

36186944_unknown

Source: The National Archives at Kew

Lieutenant Geoffrey de Cateret Millais survived the action and has been recommended to receive the Military Cross for “cool courage at LA COULOTTE on the 23rd inst. Though lying out in a shell hole all day a short distance from German wire when he was continually fired at with M.G. and Minnenwerfen which became intense and his retiring a problem, he despatched [?] later despite the fact that he knew this would draw attention to his position. One of the men with him was wounded. He also sent back two messages by power buzzer and was unable to withdraw until night” – war diary.

On April 29 ten Ampthill recruits were killed in action with the 4th Bedfords’ at the Battle of Oppywood. The Battalion attacked at dawn & captured its objective, was counter attacked and driven out and recaptured trench and consolidated it about 11.0 A.M. The trench was shelled heavily by German artillery all day – war diary.

Fifty-nine of these 83 Ampthill recruits have no known grave.

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 May 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.

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Medlock brothers of Wrestlingworth

Albert and Alfred James Medlock were brothers. Before the outbreak of war both lived in Cockayne Hatley, Bedfordshire where they followed the family tradition and worked as farm labour. In 1915 the brothers enlisted at Ampthill and trained at the Bedfordshire Training Depot.

Private 22099 Albert Medlock was drafted to the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. Private 23539 Alfred J. Medlock joined the 4th Battalion. Both were posted to fight with the British Expeditionary Force.

Albert (29) was wounded and cleared back to England. On October 14, 1916 he died at the Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley, and is buried in the North-West corner of St. Peters Churchyard in Wrestlingworth.

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Albert (29) was wounded and cleared back to England. On October 14, 1916 he died at the Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley, and is buried in the North-West corner of St. Peters Churchyard in Wrestlingworth.

Six months on his younger brother Alfred (25) was killed in action (April 20, 1917) at Arras.

It is hard to imagine parents Mr & Mrs  Jonah Medlock receiving one fateful War Office telegram, let alone two. Albert and Alfred left two sisters, Clara (1886-1923) and Rosina (1888-1956).

Source:

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

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.