Tag Archives: Arthur Gillett

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

September 1918 – a war aims meeting was held when a large crowd listened to speeches by several speakers on the Allies’ war aims. Mr A.H. Wingfield presided.

Private Herbert FOSSEY (Middlesex Regiment) has been wounded again in France, and is now in hospital at the base.

Miss Dorothy Long of Avenue House has been home on leave. She is a member of the Ampthill V.A.D., and has been working in one of the Rouen Hospitals for the last two years. Another member, Miss Olive Smith of Chandos Road, has been working in Salonika Hospital for over a year.

The death in action of the Bedfords’ 48016 Private John LANCASTER (30) of Oliver Street has been reported. John was or some years employed by the Midland Railway Co., and he joined up with the Bedfords in the early years of the war, and after a short training was sent to France with his battalion, afterwards being moved to Italy. After some months fighting in the mountains he was sent back to France again, where he was killed in severe fighting late last month.

Ampthill Command Depot

Private Robert H. PACK of Dunstable Street has been promoted to Corporal, whilst serving at the Command Depot with the R.A.M.C.

C.S.M. George BASS, of Saunder’s Piece, has been home on sick leave. He has just been transferred to the Essex Regiment, after over 18 years service with the Bedfords’, with whom he served during the South African War. For some time he was R.S.M. at the Depot, and after some months’ service in France, is now at the V.A.D. Hospital in Bedford.

Lieutenant T.E.P. BOOTH, late of the Bedford Alma team, has been appointed secretary to the Depot Sports Committee for the ensuing season. Sergeant H. HUBBARD, a returned prisoner of war, is acting as captain.

C.S.M. CHITTLEBOROUGH, of the Command Depot, has been detailed from the Eastern Command to act as instructor to the Ampthill Volunteers. C.S.M. CHITTLEBOROUGH belongs to the Norfolk Regiment, and has been wounded three times in action. He also wears the ribbon of the 1914 star.

The Ampthill detachment of the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment have moved their headquarters from the Drill Hall, Market Place, to the Old Territorial Drill Hall in Dunstable Street. A Hotchkiss Gun Section is being formed in connection with the detachment. The new Drill Hall has been occupied by men of the Command Depot until recently, as sleeping quarters.

43419 Private Arthur W. HIPWELL of Ramsey St. Mary who is at Command Depot recuperating from a gunshot wound to the back, has received a postcard from relatives in Blackpool.

 

 

Canadian Forestry Corps

The Mill at Ampthill Station has been run for nearly 3 days to clear up odd logs from the bush and construction, and cut 26,302 f.b.m.

On Saturday, 28th September a quiet and pretty wedding was held at St. Peter’s Church, Tempsford, where Private Charles A. Boyce of the Canadian Foresters was married to Miss Ellen M. Smith, a teacher at the Ampthill National Schools. The bride was given away by her father and attended by her sister Miss Florence Smith. Private D. Gillespie acted as best man. The bride was attired in white , with a veil and orange blossom, and carried a bouquet of carnations, roses and sweet peas.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month the war has claimed the lives of 16 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 October 2018….

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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


Ampthill Armistice100

As part of Ampthill Armistice100 join us on 12th or 13th October for the WWI Living History Encampment in Ampthill Great Park.

 

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Click here to download a copy of the Ampthill Armistice100 programme.

Please email Stephen Hartley if you would like to know more about Ampthill Armistice100 or volunteer.
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WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, September 1916

The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot from 1914-16. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

September 1916 – Another draft of men have left the Camp to join the British Expedition Force. The Ampthill Camp is starting to feel decidedly empty.

On Thursday, 7th September Major-General Pilcher made an inspection of the camp and watched the cadets go through physical drill and bayonet practice. A number of men back from France, following wounds or illness, are engaged in light duties. This includes agricultural work in fields near the Camp.

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September 8, 1916

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September 15, 1916

Wrest Park Military Hospital

Since the outbreak of war Wrest Park has played a major part in treating the wounded. On Thursday, 14th a convoy train of wounded soldiers were met at Ampthill Station and conveyed to Woburn and Wrest Park Hospitals. Later that day a major fire developed in the East Wing of Wrest Park. Some 160 soldiers were there convalescing at the time. Twice during the night the Ampthill Camp bugle sounded ‘parade at the double.’ The first order of the evening was for all men who had cycles or other ways of getting to Wrest Park quickly, to start off and assist with the fire. The second call came nearer midnight for the men to assist with arrangements for making comfortable about 50 wounded soldiers removed from Wrest House to Woburn Abbey Hospital and to empty huts in the Camp. The recruits also helped with salvaging valuable furniture and paintings.

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The House survived the fire but some parts were gutted. The damage is estimated at £20,000. Thankfully there was no loss of life – read the full newspaper report.

By converting this fine country house into a hospital for wounded soldiers and practically maintaining it for two years at great personal expense, Lord Lucas has rendered great national service, and during the whole time his sister, the Hon. Miss Herbert, devoted herself with loving care and attention to the work of the hospital as Matron. Very few people, indeed, are aware of the great work that has been done at Wrest House, for our wounded heroes brought home from the battlefields.

The authorities have come to the decision that Wrest Park will no longer be used as a military hospital.

Ampthill Camp – more departures

On Friday, 22nd a small group of N.C.O.’s left the camp to join another battalion. Captain Tanqueray who has been heavily engaged with Cadet training, has rejoined the Royal West Sussex Regiment. The following officers have proceeded to France to join the Bedfordshire Regiment: Lieutenants Millars and Blanchard, and 2nd Lieutenants Matson, Sharpen, G.C. Scott, Forbes, Stanton, Piercey, Deacon, Hyde, Hope, Woodford, Hickman, Fletcher, Kingdom, and Booth.

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September 22, 1916

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September 29, 1916

 

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

News has been received of two promising Maulden lads, and flags were flown at half mast.

17743 Private Charles Newman has been missing since the Battle of Loo in September last. The War Office has written to his mother intimating that sadly, death must be assumed.

Mr. and Mrs. Northwood have been notified that on September 3rd their only son, Charles, was killed in an attack on the German trenches. Lieutenant D’Airgdor writes that 17843 Private Newman was “hit by a shell.” There is news that on  July 19th a similar fate befell 22523 Private William J.Shambrook of Ware who was with the 54th Mortar Battery.

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Four hundred and six Bedfords’ have been killed during September. Sixty-two of these men trained at the Ampthill – the Camp’s worst month by a country mile. Most of the Ampthill men were killed in the actions of 15th and 25th September.

September 15th – The Battle of Flers-Courcelette

A grim day for the Bedfords’ – the men were part of the British attack at The Battle of Flers-Courcelette in the Somme region. The 8th Battalion had three waves of infantry in position ready to attack from shell holes. At 06:00 artillery started to lay down a heavy barrage – however, the munitions fell short causing many British casualties. At ZERO Hour [06:20] the companies pushed forwards with support. Depleted in number, the Bedfords’ failed to take their objective. Survivors returned to hold the original trenches and were then relieved. 

One hundred and twenty-four Bedfords’ were killed in the action that day. Thirty-nine of these soldiers trained at the Ampthill Camp.

Casualties – September 15
22674 Private Horace AMBRIDGE (27) of Barton Killed in Action
22673 Private Albert ASHBY of Barton Killed in Action
17774 Private John ATKINSON (43) of Barford Killed in Action
22269 Private Daniel AUSTIN of Harrowden Killed in Action
20779 Private Horace BATCHELOR (27) of Flamsted Killed in Action
20527 Private Ernest BODSWORTH (25) of Woburn Killed in Action
20619 Private Archibald BONESS of Biggleswade Killed in Action
20896 Private Albert Edward BRIDGES of Hitchin Killed in Action
23247 Private William Charles BUCKINGHAM of Toddington Killed in Action
22917 Private William CAMFIELD (22) of Walsworth Killed in Action
19895 Private Fredrick COOK (22) of Tilbrook Killed in Action
20910 Private William Arthur Leonard DEVEREAUX (24) of Campton Killed in Action
18801 Private James Charles FEARY (39) of St. Ives Killed in Action
18485 Private Arthur Henry FOSTER (44) of Godmanchester Killed in Action
20667 Private William GILKS of Woburn Killed in Action
23599 Private William GODFREY (21) of Hexton Killed in Action
20969 Private William HAILEY (35) of Walsworth Killed in Action
20483 Private Herbert HARE of Old Warden Killed in Action
19546 Private Walter HENMAN of Breachwood Green Killed in Action
20397 Private Edward HORSLER (33) of Streatley Killed in Action
20941 Private Frank IRONS (18) of Wilstead Killed in Action
19498 Private George JACKSON (42) of Dunton Killed in Action
22457 Private William JACKSON (26) of Stevenage Killed in Action
20744 Private Arthur JANES (31) of Hemel Hempstead Missing (presumed dead)
20345 Private John JELLIS (33) of Upper Sundon Killed in Action
20316 Private Richard John LISTER (32) of Needingworth Killed in Action
22504 Private Robert LOVETT (20) of Biggleswade Killed in Action
23270 Private George MARTIN of Barton Killed in Action
20339 Private Alfred C. MILLWARD (40) of Olney Killed in Action
18128 Private Fredrerick PAXTON of Woburn Sands Killed in Action
22395 Private Christopher PERRY (47) of Luton Killed in Action
22746 Private Cyril Albert Bernard PINNOCK (20) of Bedford Killed in Action
20599 Private George Benjamin POULTER (18) of Killed in Action
20298 Private Henry J RANDALL (40) of Marston Church End Killed in Action
22435 Private Ernest William STEVENS (29) of Flamstead Killed in Action
22080 Private Frederick TAYLOR (34) of Hemel Hempstead Killed in Action
22850 Private Herbert WHITTINGTON (21) of Marston Shelton Killed in Action
23234 Private Charles Henry WILSON (23) of Earith Killed in Action
19593 Lance Corporal Thomas YOUNG of Kempston Killed in Action

Read the war diary for September 15, 1916: http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/8thbn/8thbtn1916diary.html

September 25th – The Battle of Morval 

The Bedfords’ took part in an attack on German lines between Morval and Les Boeuff. The attack commenced at 12.35.p.m. and the 8th Battalion moved up to original front line when second objective had been taken about 2.35 p.m. Casualties from the enemy barrage very slight. The British attack succeded and many prisoners were taken. At night the 8th Bedfords’ furnished carrying parties to resupply the front line battalion with ammunition and water. C Platoon were detached to 1st London Company of the Royal Engineers as a working party in captured German trenches. C Company suffered very heavily from enemy shell fire.

Casualties – September 25
22594 Private Frederick CHANCE of Toddington Killed in Action
20403 Private William CHATER (22) of Olney Killed in Action
20554 Lance Corporal Arthur HANCOCK (38) of Melchbourne Killed in Action
18874 Lance Corporal Joseph LAW (21) of Sharnbrook Killed in Action
22807 Private Arthur William ODELL (24) of Marston Shelton Killed in Action

Read the war diary for September 25, 1916: http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/8thbn/8thbtn1916diary.html


Other September Casualties

September 3
17834 Private Charles William NORTHWOOD (21) of Maulden Killed in Action
23256 Private Harry PAGE (23) of Woburn Sands Died of Wounds
18462 Private William WARNER of Biggleswade Died of Wounds

September 4
19846 Private George William HARRIS (28) of Wootton Killed in Action
26270 Private Harold George SAWFORD (23) of Sharnbrook Died of Wounds
20059 Sergeant Walter Frederick SURRIDGE (28) of Bedford Killed in Action

September 5
18957 Private Albert Lewis CATLIN (32) of Stevenage Killed in Action
20704 Private Ernest CLARIDGE (26) of Hemel Hempstead Killed in Action
20890 Lance Corporal Reginald MANNING (24) of Toseland Killed in Action

September 6
18206 Private Walter Henry COX (27) of Renhold Died of Wounds

September 18
12101 Private Walter ASHWELL (29) of Moggerhanger Died – formerly 27646 Bedfords’

September 22
20266 Private William COOPER  (21) of Luton Died of Wounds
20373 Private George CRANFIELD
(29) of Flitwick Killed in Action on September 22

September 25
29460 Private Harry FINDING (19) of Raunds Killed in Action
29452 Private Christopher Francis SMITH (35) of Ridgmont Killed in Action
19220 Private Walter THOMAS (25) of Wellington Killed in Action

September 26
19477 Private Arthur GILLETT
(32) of Flitwick Killed in Action

September 27
22810 Lance Corporal Charles William CANHAM
(21) of Kettering Killed in Action

September 28
20817 Private Edward HILL of Barton Died of Wounds

Sources:

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
Bedfordshire Regiment
A history of Silsoe (Roger Bradshaw, 2011
English Heritage

Next instalment to be published on 31 October 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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


BUY: Ampthill Camp WWI Centenary Postcard

This special postcard commemorates the centenary of the WWI Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16). Limited edition: 500

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.

£2 (inc p&p). Please email hartleyhare135@gmail.com to order by PayPal or BACS transfer.

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WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the memorial plate in Ampthill Methodist Church

There are four WWI memorials in Ampthill:

  • In Ampthill Park the Duke of Bedford Memorial Cross remembers the 2,235 local volunteers who trained in Ampthill Park (1914-16) and the 707 who were killed;
  • At the end of the Alameda the Cenotaph remembers the 65 Ampthill men who were killed;
  • In St.Andrew’s Church Yard a Memorial Cross remembers the parishioners who were killed;
  • Inside Ampthill Methodist Church a large, brass wall plate remembers the men connected with the Church and Sunday School who were killed.

On Monday 4, August 2014 to commemorate the outbreak of WWI I photographed three of the memorials.

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Duke of Bedford Memorial Cross, Ampthill Park

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Cenotaph, The Alameda

 

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Memorial Cross, St.Andrew’s Church

On 24, February 2016 Ampthill Methodist Church kindly allowed me to photograph the fourth memorial – a large brass plate Inside the Nave on the East wall.The Memorial Plate is inlaid with enamel and measures about a yard square. It was unveiled on 5, December 1920.

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Memorial Wall Plate, Ampthill Methodist Church

Six of the men are brothers of the Ansell, Cox and Money families. Christopher and Frank Cox were killed a few days apart in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. John Hele’s book ‘Ampthill’s Fallen‘ tells the fate of all twenty-two men. Five of the men are also remembered on the Duke of Bedford War Memorial in Ampthill Park where they trained (1914-16). The five men are:

  • Arthur Gillett
  • Thomas Money
  • George Money
  • Richard William Putman
  • George Thompson

 

Sources
Ampthill’s Fallen (John Hele, 2014)

Content & photographs copyright Stephen Hartley (2015-)

WWI – Book: Ampthill’s Fallen by John Hele (2014)

In 2014 Ampthill historian John Hele published a book called Ampthill’s Fallen. 

The War Memorial - Cooper's Hill, Ampthill

The Town War Memorial – the Alameda, Ampthill

Ampthill’s Fallen is a tribute to the 67 men on the Ampthill Memorials, and to all those who were killed or died as a result of the Great War. John Hele diligently records what is known about each man’s life, service and death. Eight of the men also appear on the Memorial Cross in Ampthill Park because they trained at the Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16). The eight soldiers are:

  • 23071 Private Harry Burt
  • 22809 Private Arthur Gillett
  • 30064 Private Stewart William Hill
  • 23251 Acting Sergeant George Money
  • 26703 Private Thomas Money
  • 23503 Private Richard Putman
  • 23511 Lance Corporal George Thompson
  • 18972 Private Albert Willis

To find out more read Ampthill’s Fallen [ISBN 978-0-9542619-5-5 – 149 pages ~ £13 inc p&p]. To obtain a copy of this excellent book please email John Hele.

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