Tag Archives: Battle

The Battles of The Somme

The Battles of The Somme started on Saturday, 1 July 1916 and lasted 141 days. On Saturday, 18 November this chapter of brutal attrition closed. The Allied patrols discovered that German troops had withdrawn from their frontline positions.

The Battles of The Somme produced horrendous casualties on both sides. For the Ampthill Camp we know that 228 men were killed in action or died of their wounds, and more were wounded. One third of the 707 Ampthill Camp fallen died because of The Somme.


Please put the casualty figures to one side for a moment – they create a sterile gloss. The boys and men at The Somme were real people with hopes and dreams, and loved ones, family and friends. Back home the ripples of the loss would have been large and deep. Beyond our belief.

Here are the names of the two hundred and twenty-eight Ampthill Camp boys who died because of The Somme.

22674 Private Horace AMBRIDGE (27) of Barton
22170 Private Ernest Edward AMBROSE (19) of Wallington
22887 Private William John ANDERSON of Weston
20006 Private Stanley ANGELL (23) of Breachwood Green
22673 Private Albert ASHBY of Barton
20789 Lance Corporal Edward Walter ATKINS of St Albans
17774 Private John ATKINSON (43) of Barford
22269 Private Daniel AUSTIN of Harrowden
20779 Private Horace BATCHELOR (27) of Flamsted
18577 Private William BAVISTER (23) of Luton
18598 Private Joe BELSHAM (25) of Sapley
17760 Private George BIGNELL (36) of North Church
18294 Corporal Walter James BIRD (37) of Baldock
18012 Private Arthur William BLAND (21) of St Albans
20527 Private Ernest BODSWORTH (25) of Woburn
18484 Private George Henry BONESS (39) of Biggleswade
20619 Private Archibald BONESS of Biggleswade
27607 Private Arthur Charles BOWLER (20) of Mansfield
18182 Private Rufus Ernest BOWYER (18) of New Harrowden
20896 Private Albert Edward BRIDGES of Hitchin
19596 Private Herbert Thomas BROOKER (21) of Wrestlingworth
20097 Lance Corporal Henry George BROWN (29) of Stevenage
19050 Lance Corporal Frederick William BROWN (21) of Langford
23712 Private James William BROWN (27) of Northill
28738 Private Elijah BROWN of St. Neots
23247 Private William Charles BUCKINGHAM of Toddington
22051 Private Charles BUSHBY (29) of Harlington
19447 Private Frederick CAIN (26) of Hitchin
22917 Private William CAMFIELD (22) of Walsworth
22810 Lance Corporal Charles William CANHAM (21) of Kettering
18200 Private Thomas Burgess CARR (38) of Toddington
18957 Private Albert Lewis CATLIN (32) of Stevenage
22594 Private Frederick CHANCE of Toddington
22385 Private Frederick CHASE of Hockliffe
20403 Private William CHATER (22) of Olney
19451 Private Thomas CHESSUM (29) of Girtford
20433 Private Charles Thomas CLACK (29) of Warboys
20704 Private Ernest CLARIDGE (26) of Hemel Hempstead
23066 Private Percy Thomas CLARK (20) of Flamstead
23393 Private Ernest CLARK of Hitchin
18205 Acting Corporal John William CLARKE (22) of Battlesden
18205 Private John William CLARKE (22) of Battlesden
23280 Private Charles CLIFTON (21) of Godmanchester
23309 Private William COLEMAN (36) of Woburn
18325 Private Charles George COLLIS (29) of Baldock
20576 Private Arthur CONSTABLE (24) of Walsworth
19895 Private Frederick COOK (22) of Tilbrook
22068 Private William Arthur COOK (22) of Little Gaddesden
20266 Private William COOPER (21) of Luton
19399 Private George William COOTE of Royston
17831 Lance Corporal Alfred John COVINGTON (24) of Roxton
18206 Private Walter Henry COX (27) of Renhold
20373 Private George William CRANFIELD (29) of Flitwick
18042 Private Albert CURRINGTON (21) of Yelling
19384 Private William CURRINGTON (22) of Megre
34452 Private Sidney Arthur CUTLER (19) of Kensworth
20371 Private Peter DARRINGTON (28) of Roxton
20973 Private Walter DAWSON (19) of Stow
17652 Private Walter DEAMER (31) of Redbourn
18772 Private John DEELEY of Eaton Bray
18183 Private Arthur William DELLAR (27) of Dunton
20910 Private William Arthur Leonard DEVEREAUX (24) of Campton
23246 Private Henry Thomas DIGGINS (19) of Maulden
26352 Private James DINES (19) of Langford
18759 Private Frederick Arthur DUNKLING (26) of St. Ives
23812 Private John DYSON of Luton
20228 Private Ernest John ENDERSBY (36) of Sandy
22903 Private Philip William EVANS (25) of Cranfield
18801 Private James Charles FEARY (39) of St. Ives
29460 Private Harry FINDING (19) of Raunds
23123 Private William Henry FOOTE (24) of Bedford
17523 Private Alfred FORDER (30) of Stevenage
18485 Private Arthur Henry FOSTER (44) of Godmanchester
19196 Lance Corporal William FREEMAN (20) of Heath & Reach
19247 Private George GASCOIGNE (32) of Bedford
23272 Private Albert GEORGE of Kempston
20667 Private William GILKS of Woburn
19477 Private Arthur GILLETT (32) of Flitwick
23599 Private William GODFREY (21) of Hexton
18825 Private Charles James GOLDSMITH (27) of Stagsden
20098 Private Herbert GRAVES (25) of Beechwood Green
27407 Private John William GREEN of Wymington
23782 Private William GREEN of Bassingbourne
23372 Acting Sergeant Charles GUDGIN (19) of Clophill
17976 Private Sidney Jesse GURNEY (26) of Tingrith
19448 Private George HAGGAR (20) of Stevenage
20969 Private William HAILEY (35) of Walsworth
19735 Private George Thomas HALL of Connington
20554 Lance Corporal Arthur HANCOCK (38) of Melchbourne
22173 Private Frank HANDSCOMBE (22) of Pirton
20483 Private Herbert HARE of Old Warden
20056 Private Harry Edward HARPER (21) of Little Brickhill
26355 Lance Corporal Thomas HARRIS (19) of Tempsford
19846 Private George William HARRIS (28) of Wootton
25127 Private Frederick George HARRIS (19) of Campton
17875 Lance Corporal William HART (24) of Leighton Buzzard
23465 Private Albert HARVEY (28) of Womrley
23614 Private George Arthur HAYNES (20) of Wootton
20907 Private James Henry HEATHFIELD (26) of Campton
19546 Private Walter HENMAN of Breachwood Green
20817 Private Edward HILL of Barton
23268 Lance Corporal Arthur HILL (20) of Barton
19449 Private John W. HILLYARD (40) of Westoning
23301 Private Herbert HOLLIMAN (38) of Chipperfield
18688 Private Albert Sydney HOLLOWAY (31) of Chenies Bottome
18132 Private Albert HORLEY (20) of Heath & Reach
20397 Private Edward HORSLER (33) of Streatley
19073 Private Lawrence William HUCKLE (25) of Sandy
20941 Private Frank IRONS (18) of Wilstead
22967 Lance Corporal Sidney Brydon IZZARD (22) of Maulden
27305 Private Horace Frederick JACKSON of Redbourn
19498 Private George JACKSON (42) of Dunton
22457 Private William JACKSON (26) of Stevenage
20744 Private Arthur JANES (31) of Hemel Hempstead
20345 Private John JELLIS (33) of Upper Sundon
22647 Private John Frederick JOHNSON (17) of Watford
19020 Private Robert JONES (21) of Bedford
19499 Private Frank KEFFORD (27) of Biggleswade
23310 Private Fred KILBY (27) of Luton
18301 Private William Edward KINGSLEY (38) of Hitchin
23617 Private John William KINGSTON of Kempston
23295 Private William George KITSON (29) of Berkhamsted
23752 Private Arthur Ernest KNIGHT of Souldrop
23531 Private Frederick William LAND of Biggleswade
18874 Lance Corporal Joseph LAW (21) of Sharnbrook
20284 Private George LEGATE (19) of Clifton
20316 Private Richard John LISTER (32) of Needingworth
18693 Lance Corporal Thomas Penry LLOYD of Watford
22660 Private Percy LOCKEY (26) of Bedford
20075 Private Albert William LOVATT (33) of Hitchin
22554 Private Robert LOVETT (20) of Biggleswade
20528 Private Charles Henry LUDGATE (20) of Woburn Green
19708 Private Ralph MABBOTT (27) of Shefford
20890 Lance Corporal Reginald MANNING (24) of Toseland
23111 Private William Henry MARSTON (28) of Old Warden
23270 Private George MARTIN of Barton
23730 Private Percy Sidney MARTIN (21) of Luton
22099 Private Albert MEDLOCK (29) of Wrestlingworth
20502 Private John MERRYWEATHER (28) of Langford
26703 Private Thomas John MONEY (23) of Ampthill
23518 Private Reginald MOSS (21) of Stevenage
23581 Private Melburne MUSKETT of Olney
22863 Private William Frederick NEWBURY (30) of Woburn
26683 Private Arthur Benjamin NICHOLLS (20) of Lidlington
25675 Sergeant Arthur Frederick Owen NORRIS (24) of Borehamwood
17834 Private Charles William NORTHWOOD (21) of Maulden
22856 Private John Stewart OAKLEY of St Albans
29355 Private Harold Vernon OCLEE of Bedford
22807 Private Arthur William ODELL (24) of Marston Shelton
22266 Private Albert William OSGOOD (20) of Bishop’s Stortford
23256 Private Harry PAGE (23) of Woburn Sands
20618 Private Herbert PARSONS (34) of Tilbrook
20404 Private Bert PARTRIDGE (24) of Bozeat
18128 Private Frederick PAXTON of Woburn Sands
18510 Private Joseph PAYNE of Luton
19571 Private Charles Frederick PEACH (23) of Farcet
20328 Private George PEARSON of Northampton
22395 Private Christopher PERRY (47) of Luton
19744 Sergeant Peter PIERACCINI (31) of Dunstable
22746 Private Cyril Albert Bernard PINNOCK (20) of Bedford
22178 Private Robert POINTER (39) of St Albans
22135 Private Percy POPE (20) of St Albans
20599 Private George Benjamin POULTER (18) of
18773 Private John Theodore PRATT (22) of Eaton Bray
20083 Private Alfred Joseph PRICE (23) of Eversholt
23496 Private John RADFORD (19) of Luton
18526 Lance Corporal John RAINSDEN (33) of St Albans
20298 Private Henry J RANDALL (40) of Marston Church End
25138 Private Arthur READ (34) of Barham
22791 Corporal Charles REDMAN (23) of Upper Gravenhurst
20859 Private William REYNOLDS of Stotfold
22079 Private Thomas George RICHARDSON of Weston Underwood
22940 Private Cecil Sydney ROE (19) of Huntingdon
17712 Lance Corporal Thomas ROGERS (34) of Steppingley
18312 Private Albert ROLFE of Watbridge
23625 Private Harry ROWLETT (25) of Biggleswade
19309 Private Stanley George RUTT (21) of Langford
18908 Private Percy William SANDERS (23) of Bedford
18774 Lance Corporal Sidney SARGENT (23) of Turvey
23595 Private George SAVAGE (19) of Cranfield
26270 Private Harold George SAWFORD (23) of Sharnbrook
20643 Private Walter Leslie James SAWYER (23) of Little Barford
18627 Private Alfred Stephen SEAMAN (22) of Huntingdon
22976 Private Arthur Joseph SEARS of Irchester
22523 Private William Joseph SHAMBROOK (28) of Sharnbrook
20818 Private Sidney SHARP (31) of Preston
18616 Private Sidney James SINFIELD (39) of Stagsden
22153 Private Albert Edward SKEGGS of Hatfield
19531 Private Frank SMITH (20) of Hitchin
31530 Private William SMITH of Dunstable
19043 Sergeant Edward Lewis SMITH of Lower Stondon
29452 Private Christopher Francis SMITH (35) of Ridgmont
17777 Lance Corporal Frederick William SMITH of Milton Bryan
26711 Private Jonah SOLE (27) of Ashwell
25891 Private Edward STEVENS (19) of Shefford
22435 Private Ernest William STEVENS (29) of Flamstead
21022 Private Walter STREET (29) of Stevenage
20059 Sergeant Walter Frederick SURRIDGE (28) of Bedford
18315 Private Percy Alfred SWAIN (22) of Weston
22080 Private Frederick TAYLOR (34) of Hemel Hempstead
20479 Private Tom Cecil TEBBS (25) of Fenstanton
17746 Private William Alfred THODY (27) of Cotton End
19220 Private Walter THOMAS (25) of Wellington
19108 Lance Corporal Frank THORNTON (27) of Hitchin
27043 Private Ralph Henry TOMPKINS (21) of Bozeat
17597 Private Edward UNWIN of Thaxted
22501 Private William WALDOCK of St Albans
18717 Private Walter WALDOCK (25) of Great Wymondley
20968 Private William WALDOCK (32) of Great Wymondley
18462 Private William WARNER of Biggleswade
23621 Private Walter John WATSON of Watford
23189 Private Herbert Charles WEBB (23) of Beadlow
23458 Private Walter James WELCH (31) of Kimpton
20400 Private Frederick WEST (28) of Emberton
20777 Private Edgar Joseph WEST (23) of Great Graveley
23335 Private Sidney Charles WHITE (25) of Woburn Sands
22850 Private Herbert WHITTINGTON (21) of Marston Shelton
22168 Private William WILKIN of Leagrave
18972 Private Albert Henry WILLIS (29) of Bedford
23234 Private Charles Henry WILSON (23) of Earith
26785 Private Albert WILTON (35) of Henlow
19540 Private William WOODHAM (39) of Bolhurst
20147 Private Richard WOODING (28) of Houghton Conquest
19523 Private Sidney WOODS of Bulbourne
18720 Private Thomas WORBOY of Gt Wymondley
23543 Private Ernest WRIGHT (20) of Hitchin
19593 Lance Corporal Thomas YOUNG of Kempston
27355 Private Owen YOUNG (21) of North Crawley


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

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



©S.Hartley (2015-)

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – 1 July 1916 | Centenary: The Battles of the Somme

One hundred years ago, on 1 July 1916 the British Expeditionary Force commenced a major offensive at the Somme. Ampthill recruits in the Bedfords’ 7th Battalion (C & D Company) were in frontline trenches, and went over the top. 19,240 British soldiers were killed on that infamous day. Ninety-five Bedfords were among them – ten of these men trained at the Ampthill Camp:

Many more soldiers were wounded. The Bedfordshire Regiment 7th Battalion War Diary provides an account  of what happened on 1 July 1916. Ampthill recruits would see action in the weeks and months that followed.

The family of Peter Darrington would receive the following letter:

Bedfords, B.E.F., 19/7/16

Dear Sir, – I am in receipt of your post-card of the 15th inst.

It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you that Pte. Darrington, 20317, of this Company, met his death in action on July 1st. The part which the Bedfords, and D Company in particular, played in the Battle of the Somme was a crowning success, and in that success Pte. Darrington gave of his best and met his death like a true Englishman. He was buried by the Padre where he fell and his grave has been marked by a wooden cross. At that date I was an A Company officer, and so I have no personal knowledge of Darrington, but I hear though he had only recently joined us, he had won favour with all, and made himself popular.

Will you convey to his mother, not only the deepest sympathy of myself, but of his platoon and his company. I feel very deeply for her in her great trouble. Will you break the news to her, if she has not already heard from the W.O., and show her this letter.

May it be of comfort to her to know he died, as she would have wished, doing his duty, and in the height of a glorious success for the new armies.

Yours very sincerely,

HJ. Cartwright

Source: Bedfordshire Times – July 21, 1916 (as republished by the RBL Roll of Honour)


From 1 July 2016 at Exeter Cathedral each of the 19,240 British soldiers who died during the first day of battle will be represented by a 12 inch figure, wrapped and bound in a hand-stitched shroud and arranged in rows on the ground. The work 19240 Shrouds of the Somme illustrates the enormity of the horror that unfolded, and the loss of life.

The Battles of the Somme ended on 18 November 1916 by which time more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed.

Imperial War Museum film – The Battle of the Somme | 100 years on

BBC In pictures: Battle of the Somme

The Bedfordshire Standard and Bedfordshire Times. The original broadsheets is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog

Next installment of the ‘Camp Diary’ to be published on 15 July 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.