Tag Archives: Ampthill Urban District Council

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

November 1918 – the Armistice was signed at 5 o’clock on Monday, November 11th 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.

1918.11.15 BT Armistice

Bedfordshire Times – November 15, 1918

 

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.

Ampthill Command Depot

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.

A month of welcome relief

The Ampthill & Urban District Council’s decision to have 30 lamps lit in the town was speedily carried into effect. The dark paint has been removed, and the town presents a cheerful appearance.

The Band of the Bedford Depot, from Kempston Barracks, arrived in Ampthill on the afternoon of  Friday 15th, in motor lorries. It is 36 strong, under Bandmaster BAXTER, and seems to be composed chiefly of lads under military age. They were stationed at “Foulislea” in Church Street, and appear to be quite comfortable in their new quarters. The Band were inspected by Colonel His Grace the Duke of Bedford, K.G., A.D.C.,

A farewell tea, followed by a musical evening, was given to about 30 work men and staff of the Food Production Department, No. 2 Unit, Ampthill by the Flitt Cycle Company, at the King’s Arms Hotel. The men spent a most enjoyable time, and the military section were sorry to have to return to barracks, owing the scheme closing  down for the winter. No. 2 Unit has ploughed, cultivated or cut approximately 3,600 acres of land. This is really good considering the men were quite inexperienced in that particular work.

The Rev. A. M. RICHIE M.A., of Leicester, took both services at the Union Chapel, on Sunday. He has seen active service on the Western Front with the Y.M.C.A.

There was a good supply of cattle at the Ampthill Emergency Market  on Tuesday 19th. Forty beast and 200 sheep were surplus, and were sent away for distribution to other centres.

That evening the Ampthill Boy Scouts arranged a concert in the Church Room. Mr A. H. Wingfield was in the chair, and the room was crowded out. Mrs Stearn and Miss Collins were the accompanists, and much of the success is due to them. The Troop Funds should benefit by about £9 as a result.

News of Ampthill Boys

Private George DENNIS (Rifle Brigade), Private Edward SINEY (Machine Gun Corps), Private A. CARDINAL (Army Service Corps), Private Charles IZZARD (3rd Buffs) and Lieutenant Thomas Vaughan (Royal Scots Fusiliers) have been home on leave. Private Arthur MOORE (16th Middlesex) is also home on leave recovering from a neck wound.

Lieutenant Alfred WALDRON (Royal Engineers Signals) is now in France and has been laid up with an attack of influenza. Private Robert SHUTLER (Army Veterinary Corps) has been discharged from the Army, and is now home again. He has been looking after wounded horses in France.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

The final month of this torrid war has claimed the lives of 7 men who trained at the Ampthill Camp.

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
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 December 2018….

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, October 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.

October 1917 – more men who are recuperating at the Ampthill Command Depot have been awarded gallantry medals.

18257 Private Herbert W. FISH of the 7th Bedfords’ has been awarded the *Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Russian Cross of St. George. In 1916 near Mametz Private Fish’ prompt action helped to extricate 3 wounded officers who were buried alive after their dugout was blown in by a shell. In the July Private Fish saw action at Pomieres Redoubt. The British advance was held in open land while a barrage pounded the redoubt. A German machine gun opened up on the flank causing many casualties. Private Fish volunteered to help bomb the gun out of action, and was successful.

 

1917.10.05 BS
October 5, 1917

(* The official  Citation records Private Fish as being awarded the D.C.M. rather than M.M.)

31825_217834-00404

D.C.M. Citation

13538 Serjeant Reginald SHELFORD  of the 11th Suffolk Regiment. Awarded the Military Medal for his leadership on April 9, 1917 when commanding a platoon during the British attack at Arras, and for his continuouse good work and devotion to duty. Wounded in May 1917 at Rouex and invalided back to Blighty.

325105 Serjeant Jack SHELTON of Whittlesey – 1st Cambridgeshire Regiment. On July 31, 1917 Serjeant Shelton was part of an attack at St. Julien. He took command of the company after senior officers were wounded and killed, and led his men to achieve all of their objectives. In August 1917 when in the trenches Serjeant Shelton was wounded, and sent to England.

Private CHAPPELL of the 7th Bedfordshire Regiment. During an attack on the vilage of Chrisy the battalion was held up by a strong enemy post on the left flank. Private Chappell took his Lewis gun and crawled from shell hole to shell hole, and suceeded in reaching a position from which he was able to enfilade the German post and force their retirement.

1917.10.12 BS a

October 12, 1917

News of the Canadians

The Wesleyan Church has welcomed the Canadian Forestry Corps by placing three rooms at their disposal, where the man can spend a quiet and sociable time in the evenings.

However, the Canadian’s developing relationship with Ampthill Urban District Council remains fractious. The Council thought that it had obtained an agreement to spare a belt of trees. By the time Mr Dawson of the Timber Supply Department attended the Council meeting the trees in question were already down, which the Members considered very discourteous.

Writing in the Ampthill Parish Magazine, the Rev D. May tried to set matters in context

“The ravaging of woods, by our own hands, needs to be thought of by contrast with the ravaging of hearths and homes by the enemy; then we gain a sense of proportion.”

On October 3 the laying of rail for a narrow gauge railway started from Ampthill Station towards Breakheart Hill (to the West of Fordfield Road in Ampthill).

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Five hundred and fifty Ampthill recruits have lost their lives since our brave volunteers completed their training from May 1915 to July 1916 and were drafted to the Front.

During October 1917 twenty nine Ampthill Recruits have been killed or have died of their wounds. One of the men is John AYLOTT (37) of Bedford who earlier in summer was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in bringing in wounded under fire.

18171 Aylott 1917

Twelve of these chaps fell on 30 October while serving with the Bedfords’ 4th Battalion near Ypres. The Bedfords attacked at dawn but were held up by very heavy and boggy ground surrounding the Paddebeek and a total advance of about 150-200 yards only was made. Eleven of the twelve have no known grave. Click – to read the war diary of October 30, 1917.

  • Casualties

20862 Private James W. TRIPLOW (27) of Stotfold Died of Wounds on October, 4
20650 Private Samuel RANDALL (34) of Houghton Regis Killed in Action on October, 6
23638 Private Sidney TAYLOR of Ramsey Killed in Action on October 7
28935 Private George W. DAWES (32) of Kettering Killed in Action on October 8
27349 Private Edwin HARRIS (28) of Bozeat Killed in Action on October, 8
17924 Private Albert SPURR (32) of Hemel Hempstead Killed in Action on October, 9
30902 Private Charles H. WILKINSON (21) of Cheshunt Killed in Action on October, 9
32610 Private Thomas STOKES (24) of Earith Killed in Action on October, 11
20782 Private Jack KINGSLEY (23) of Hitchin Killed in Action on October, 18
4626 Private Bertrand W. BLAND (26) of Meppershall Died of Wounds on October 21
18171 Private John AYLOTT M.M. (37) of Bedford Killed in Action on October, 23
23316 Private Herbert BRIGHTMAN of Dunstable Killed in Action on October, 25
23488 Private Bertie EKINS (24) of Riseley Killed in Action on October, 26
18309 Private Joseph BILCOCK (38) of Biggleswade Died of Wounds on October, 28
26509 Private Ernest H. JOHNSON (28) of Kettering Died of Wounds on October, 28
20279 Lance Corporal Frank ASHPOLE (19) of Wootton Died of Wounds on October, 29

23181 Private Oscar J. BOON (20) of Bedford Killed in Action on October, 30
26761 Private William C. CAKEBREAD (22) of Meppershall Killed in Action on October, 30
23647 Corporal George HORSLER (27) of Bramingham Killed in Action on October, 30
23335 Private Alfred H. LEONARD (21) of Guilden Morden Killed in Action on October, 30
18552 Private Joseph W. LISTER (28) of St. Ives Killed in Action on October, 30
23515 Private Frederick LITTLE (34) of Biggleswade Killed in Action on October, 30
23605 Private Wilmot LORTON (21) of Little Brickhill Killed in Action on October, 30
23720 Private Edgar MASSEY (23) of Wilbourn Sands Killed in Action on October, 30
23336 Private Albert J. MURRER (26) of Woburn Killed in Action on October, 30
26777 Private Alfred PAGE of Bozeat Killed in Action on October, 30
23429 Private Herbert PAINE of Gamlingay Killed in Action on October, 30
20589 Private Herbert WILLSHER (21) of Caldicote Killed in Action on October, 30
19848 Private Jesse WRIGHT (33) of Connington Fen Died of Wounds on October, 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
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 30 November 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.

 

 

 

 

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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, July 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.

July 1917 – news has been received the Government proposes to acquire and fell timber in the locality. The Government has selected the Coopers Hill Plantation which is fondly known and enjoyed as ‘The Pines,’ together with areas in the Millbrook district and 500 acres near Aspley Heath.

The Pines – Victorian beauty spot

Mr Charles P. Hall, the agent to the Duke of Bedford, regretfully confirmed that the news is true; it also affects His Grace who is being pressed to supply extremely large quantities on the grounds of ‘national necessity.’

A special meeting of Ampthill Urban District Council was convened and unanimously resolved to protest strongly against the felling of The Pines on the grounds that it is one of the main features and chief attractions of the town, and provides the only open space in proximity to the town, to which the public have open access; and also on the grounds of the health-giving properties of the pines, particularly in cases of pulmonary affection, which has made Ampthill for many years a health resort for numberous visitors.

The Council also resolved to implore Local Members of Parliament to use their influence, and a petition will be opened for signature by the ratepayers.

1917.07.13 BS CFC

Bedfordshire Standard – July 13, 1917


News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month 12 Ampthill recruits have been killed in action or died of their battle wounds. Three of the boys – Privates Bransome, Elsdon and Ball – come from Luton. Private Stocker trained with the Bedfords’ and was killed serving with the 21st Machine Gun Gorps.

  • Casualties

23490 Private Percy A. REEVE (21) of Watford Killed in Action on July 5
20674 Private Arthur H. BUTCHER (24) of Milton Keynes Died of Wounds on July 6
19569 Private Sidney READ (22) of Orton Waterville Died of Wounds on July 7
22530 Private Joseph BRANSOME (33) of Luton Died of Wounds on July 8
18971 Private Ernest ELSDON (20) of Luton Killed in Action on July 12
22801 Lance Corporal Walter GOODMAN (32) of Marston Church End Killed in Action on July 16
23136 Private George A. KILBY (23) of Ramsey Hollow Killed in Action on July 16
30779 Private George HILLS (31) of Beechwood Green Killed in Action on July 20
18459 Private Robert W. AMBROSE (22) of Earith Killed in Action on July 28
22996 Private Alfred BALL (21) of Luton Killed in Action on July 29
18476 Private Frank JEFFS of Fenstanton Killed in Action on July 29
21602 Private Robert W. STOCKER (21) of Biggleswade Killed in Action on July 31

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

Next installment to be published on 31 August 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.