Tag Archives: Bedfordshire Command Depot

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

January 1917 – this month there is nothing particular to report about the Depot.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

The Bedfords’ have received reinforcements and much time is spent training. January provides light relief – for the first month in many no Ampthill Park recruits have been reported as killed. Sadly, I suspect that the interlude will pass.

We regret to learn that in Maulden the friends of 22967 Lance Corporal Sidney Izzard have received information that, though, he has been missing since November 13th, no further news of Sidney can be obtained (Source: Bedfordshire Times).

Source:

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

Next installment to be published on 28 February 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, December 1916

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 1916 – it is barely two months since the Command Depot was established. In that short space of time occupancy has rapidly risen to about 1,000 convalescent soldiers. More buildings are being put up.

A number of men at the Depot have been awards medals for their bravery and gallant actions at the Front:

  • Sergeant O.G. Avis of the 1/4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment – the Distinguished Conduct Medal for taking up a platoon as support under heavy fire at Loos in February 1916
  • 7942 Lance-Corporal Harry Steele of the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment – the Military Medal for gallant actions as a stretcher-bearer during a fight for a crater at Rocklincourt in June.
  • 24954 Private Abraham M. Brunning of the 7th Battalion Suffolk Regiment – the Military Medal for working 36 hours under heavy fire at The Somme as a stretcher-bearer bringing in the wounded.
abraham-brunning-abt-1914

Pte Abraham Brunning (c1914) – used with kind permission

These three men were subsequently joined the ‘Class P Reserve‘ because their services were deemed to be ‘temporarily of more value to the country in civil life rather than in the Army.’ The three men survived the Great War.

The Ampthill Volunteer Training Corps has increased to nearly 70. Their headquarters in town are not large enough for drill, and so the largest Camp hut, known as “Olympia,” has been placed at Corps’ disposal for training on certain nights.

As we approach Christmas a Memorial Service has been held at St. Andrew’s Church where prayers were offered for those fighting for King and Country, and on behalf of those mourning the loss of loved relatives.

1916-12-01-bs-acd

1916-12-22-bs-acd-awards

December 22, 1916

1916-12-22-bs

December 22, 1916

1916-12-15-ncos

December 15, 1916

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front 

Mrs C.Smith (of Preston, Hitchin) has received a Christmas postcard from her son Leonard [18677 Private L.C. Smith] who left the Camp in October 1915 to serve with the Bedfords’ at the Front.

News has been received about Arthur Day (of Lilley) who trained at the Ampthill Camp and has been at the Front since July. On November 2nd Private Day was wounded in the back. He has been cleared back to Newcastle-on-Tyne War Hospital and is recuperating.

There is also news about 23246 Private Henry Diggins (of Maulden). Sadly, Private Diggins was killed by a shell. The family await official confirmation.

1916-12-01-bs-arthur-day

December 1, 1916

1916-12-01-bs-harry-diggins

December 15, 1916

16-12-22-bs-band

December 22, 1916

  • Casualties 

20585 Sergeant Charles CHANDLER (30) of Hertford Killed in Action on December, 1
18529 Private Edmund ALLEN of Alconbury Weston Died of Wounds on December, 12
G60150 Private John WILMOT of Welwyn Died of Wounds on December, 19
18860 Private Henry E. CLARKE (33) of Kensworth Died at Home on December, 20

 

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 January 2017….
Text 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 Christmas 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, November 1916

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 1916 – the number of convalescent soldiers at the Camp has grown steadily. On Tuesday, 14th about 200 men arrived from the Shoreham-by-Sea Rest Camp. The Command Depot Band escorted the contingent through Ampthill. These men are at No.9 Command Depot to facilitate their recovery from injury and wounds. They will follow a programme of rehabilitation and retraining. Those men who regain physical fitness will be drafted back to resume service at the Front.

1917-11-24-bs

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front 

Sadly, Mr and Mrs F. Smith of Milton Bryan have received confirmation that their son Frederick has been killed. 17777 Lance Corporal F.W. Smith has been missing in action since October 12th.

1916-11-10-bt-17777-smith-fw

Bedfordshire Times – November 10, 1916

Actions in the The Somme region have been taking place since 1 July 1916 when the Allied Offensive opened – more. On November 18th the Allied scout parties discovered that German troops had withdrawn from their frontline positions. An expected quiet occupies the sector after weeks of attrition.

The Battles of The Somme have gravely affected the Ampthill Camp – we know that in the 141 day offensive 228 recruits have been killed in action or died of their wounds – more. This is one tenth of the 2,235 local volunteers who passed out of the Ampthill Camp upon completion of infantry soldier training.

This month 54 Ampthill recruits have been killed in action or died of wounds. Of these 37 men died on November 13th in an Allied operation with the Bedfords’ 4th Battalion by the North Bank of the River Ancre.

War diary – Bedfordshire Regiment, 4th Battalion

The Battalion advanced with the remainder of the Brigade at 6.45 am and sustained heavy casualties among Officers and NCOs in and near the enemy front line from a strongpoint established between enemy front line and second line which had been passed over by the leading Brigades. Battalion advanced to enemy second line and from there parties pushed forward to Station Road and beyond. In the evening all available men were withdrawn and refitted.” 

Source: http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/4thbn/4thbtn1916diary.html

  • Casualties on November 13 – all Bedfords’ 4th Battalion Killed in Action

19596 Private Herbert T. BROOKER (21) of Wrestlingworth
23712 Private James W. BROWN (27) of Northill
28738 Private Elijah BROWN of St. Neots
20433 Private Charles T. CLACK (29) of Warboys
23066 Private Percy T. CLARK (20) of Flamstead
23393 Private Ernest CLARK of Hitchin
19399 Private George W.COOTE of Royston
23246 Private Henry T. DIGGINS (19) of Maulden
23812 Private John DYSON of Luton
23123 Private William H. FOOTE (24) of Bedford
23272 Private Albert GEORGE of Kempston
23782 Private William GREEN of Bassingbourne
23372 Acting Sergeant Charles GUDGIN (19) of Clophill
25127 Private Frederick G. HARRIS (19) of Campton
23465 Private Albert HARVEY (28) of Wormley
23614 Private George A. HAYNES (20) of Wootton
23268 Lance Corporal Arthur HILL (20) of Barton
23301 Private Herbert HOLLIMAN (38) of Chipperfield
22967 Lance Corporal Sidney B. IZZARD (22) of Maulden
23310 Private Fred KILBY (27) of Luton
23617 Private John W. KINGSTON of Kempston
23295 Private William G. KITSON (29) of Berkhamsted
23752 Private Arthur E. KNIGHT of Souldrop
23111 Private William H. MARSTON (28) of Old Warden
23730 Private Percy S. MARTIN (21) of Luton
23518 Private Reginald MOSS (21) of Stevenage
23581 Private Melburne MUSKETT of Olney
22863 Private William F. NEWBURY (30) of Woburn
22856 Private John S. OAKLEY of St Albans
23625 Private Harry ROWLETT (25) of Biggleswade
23595 Private George SAVAGE (19) of Cranfield
22976 Private Arthur J. SEARS of Irchester
23621 Private Walter J. WATSON of Watford
23189 Private Herbert C. WEBB (23) of Beadlow
23458 Private Walter J. WELCH (31) of Kimpton
22168 Private William WILKIN of Leagrave
23543 Private Ernest WRIGHT (20) of Hitchin

  • Other casualties in November

19523 Private Sidney WOODS of Bulbourne Died of Wounds on November, 3
22903 Private Philip W. EVANS (25) of Cranfield Died of Wounds on November, 7
22887 Private William J. ANDERSON of Weston Killed in Action on November, 12
23496 Private John RADFORD (19) of Luton Died of Wounds on November, 14
20006 Private Stanley ANGELL (23) of Breachwood Green Killed in Action on November, 16
18688 Private Albert S. HOLLOWAY (31) of Chenies Bottome Died of Wounds on November, 16
19708 Private Ralph MABBOTT (27) of Shefford Killed in Action on November, 16
27607 Private Arthur C. BOWLER (20) of Mansfield Died of Wounds on November, 17
23309 Private William COLEMAN (36) of Woburn Died of Wounds on November, 17
31529 Private William W. SHAMBROOK (20) of King’s Walden Killed in Action on November, 19
23500 Private Joseph WARD (24) of Luton Died of Wounds on November, 21
18556 Private Amos J. JEEVES (23) of Dunton Died of Wounds on November, 23
23305 Private William R. LEWIS (31) of Weston Died of Wounds on November, 23
23489 Private Sidney G. VASS (19) of Luton Died of Wounds on November, 24
31494 Private Harold W. CHESSUM (20) of Wrestlingworth Killed in Action on November, 25
20351 Private Charles W. WARD (20) of Stevenage Died of Wounds on November, 25
23055 Private William GATES (29) of Stevenage Died of Wounds at Home on November, 26

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 December 2016….
Text 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 Christmas 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.

Wrest Park Military Hospital

In WWI the mansion at Wrest Park, Silsoe was used as a military hospital. On Thursday, September 14, 1916 a major fire developed in the East Wing of Wrest Park. The seriousness of the fire is evident from the fact that no fewer than ten fire brigades were engaged in quelling it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About 160 wounded soldiers were in residence at the time. The majority were convalescent, but many of the latest arrivals had been operated upon and recent amputations were fairly numerous. Within a short space of time the wards were cleared without injury or loss of life.

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. Royal Engineers from Haynes Park also atttended. 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 at the Ampthill Camp. The Ampthill recruits also helped with salvaging valuable furniture and paintings.

The House survived the fire but sustained significant heat, smoke and water damage, then estimated at £20,000.

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 rendered a 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.

After the fire the authorities decided that Wrest Park would no longer be used as a military hospital. In October 1916 this decision paved the way for the Ampthill Camp to be converted into the Ampthill Command Depot and refitted for the treatment of convalescent soldiers (1916-1919). Non-commissioned officers and men of the following units were under treatment:- the Bedfordshire- , Essex-, Northampton-, Suffolk-, and the Hertfordshire Regiments.

This is how the Bedfordshire Standard reported the fire:

wrest-park-4

wrest-park-3a

wrest-park-3b

September 22, 1916

Sources: 

Bedfordshire & Luton Archive Service
The Bedfordshire Standard
English Heritage

©S.Hartley (2015-)