Tag Archives: Camp Diary

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, February 1919

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.

Prisoners of War Dinner

On Tuesday, 4th February about 50 returned prisoners of war were entertained at the Volunteer Drill Hall in Dunstable Street. The guests came from Ampthill and the surrounding villages. Dinner was served at 1 o’clock and it was really quite a triumph in the days of rationing and food restrictions. Beer, minerals and port were kindly provided by Messrs Morris & Co, and concert party entertainment followed.

War Memorial Meeting

A public meeting to consider the provision of a war memorial for Ampthill was held at the County Court Hall on Thursday, 27th February. Mr J.W. Crisp took the chair, and was accompanied by eight members of the Ampthill Urban Council, with Mr F.W. Walker (Surveyor) and Mr W.L. Jones (Deputy Clark). The room was packed to its utmost capacity with townspeople.

Mr J.W. Crisp said that he hoped that what ever was done it would be something permanent and useful to the town for ever. It would be the wish of the men who had fallen that the memorial should take the form of something of use to the town. Mr John B. Hodge said that there was a suggestion abroad that it should take the form of a hall, which could be called the memorial hall. This might contain the roll of honour. Mr Andrew H. Tanqueray (Solicitor) said that a suitable site could be provided free of cost to the ratepayers, and the £2000 erection cost funded by subscription. Mr C.A. Jeffs suggested a public library to support education, with application to the Carnegie Fund for a grant. Mr Richards voiced support for a public hall which was ‘absolutely wanted in the town.’

The chairman then put the proposition that the memorial took the form of a public hall, and the details be arranged by a committee. The following gentlemen were appointed:-

Ampthill Urban & District Council
Messrs J.W. Crisp, T. Izzard, W.T. Sharpe, H.G. Smith, and H. Swaffield.

Ratepayers
Messrs A.H. Wingfield JP, J.B. Hodge, T. Hardwicke, A. Pye Smith JP, and the Rev. Westlake.

On the proposition of Mr W.T. Sharpe, Mr A.H. Tanqueray was unanimously appointed on the committee. Mr F.W. Walker was appointed as Hon. Secretary, Mr W.L. Jones as Legal Adviser, Mr J.B. Hodge as Treasurer, and Miss Wingfield and Mm. Cosier were added to the committee.

War Trophy

The War Office writes that, on recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant, Mr Samuel H. Whitbread, the town has been granted a German Machine Gun (damaged) with ammunition box and belt. The offer has been accepted but it was decided to ask for a field gun as a more ‘worthy’ addition.

The Ampthill Camp

On February 17th His Grace, The Duke of Bedford announced the proposal to erect a memorial to the men who were trained at Ampthill and have lost their lives during the war. A list of 368 names* has been published in the Bedfordshire Standard, and relatives  invited to communicate any omissions to Major A. Nelson (Adjutant), for example men who were transferred to other regiments and whose casualty notifications were not sent to Ampthill.

*707 names were eventually gathered for inclusion on the Ampthill Camp Memorial.

There is also news of His Grace engaging Messrs Swaffield and Son of Bedford Street to sell by auction the whole of the camp buildings, and a large and varied assortment of camp equipment and furniture necessary for the accommodation of 1,000 men. Catalogues and conditions of sale are in preparation and may be obtained shortly. Public Notices has been placed in Bedfordshire newspapers and in the neighbouring counties. The sale is to start on Tuesday, 18th March and will likely take some period of days. 

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Cambridge Independent Press – February 28. 1919

Colour Sergeant Major Instructor Joe SMITH, of the Gymnastics Staff has now left the Command Depot and is at Aldershot awaiting demobilisation.

V.A.D. Hospital closes

The V.A.D. Hospital at Clevedon House, Dunstable Street has closed down. Patients have been at Clevedon since the formation of the Ampthill Camp. The V.A.D. Hospital has done splendid work for some years in caring for the sick from the Command Depot.

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Clevedon (later known as St. George’s)

News of Ampthill Boys

A large number have received their discharge from the forces recently, including –

Private Stanley NEGUS (Royal Signals) of Saunders Piece. 
Lieutenant Norman SHARPE (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) of Woburn Street. 
Private Edgar SKINNER (1st Herts) of Baker Street.
Corporal R. SMITH has arrived back from Egypt where he has been stationed since 1914.
Private Henry STANBRIDGE (52nd Rifles Brigade) of Park Street. 
Private Harry WILDMAN (North Staffs) of Baker Street. 

Death of an Airman

On Wednesday, 12th February 1919 2nd Lieutenant Eustace McGEE (RAF) of Rotherfield took off from an airfield to the north of Gas House Lane in Ampthill. For reasons unknown, his plane entered a spiral nose dive and it crashed near King’s Wood. Eustace (20) sustained a broken neck and died at the scene.

An inquest has been held at the Guard Room, Ampthill Park. Mr H.J. Webb (Deputy Coroner) presiding recorded a verdict of Accidental Death. Eustace’ coffin was borne on an R.A.F. motor, draped with a Union Jack, for burial at St. Andrew’s Church. A firing party of 22 RAF men was in attendance.

 

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

British Newspaper Archive

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 March 2019….

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, January 1919

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 1919 – A number of Ampthill girls have received their discharge from the Luton Munitions Works and quite a number have returned to their former employment as machinists. More are out of work and report daily to the local Labour Exchange and receive each week the Government allowance of 25′. The general opinion is that the girls will not return to service.

Corporal J. SMITH has ably organized a social in aid of the 1st Battalion, Beds Volunteer Regiment, Ampthill Detachment at the Drill Hall. Dancing commenced at 8pm and the evening closed at 1.30am. The music was provided by Mr. Norman Walker (violin) and Miss Walker (sister), piano. Further attractions were games and musical items. During the interval Lieutenant F.W. BRADSHAW made reference to Captain Howard SPENSLEY (of Westoning Manor) who was seriously injured on Thursday, January 16th when cycling to Ampthill and struck by a oncoming motor car, and everyone expressed hopes of his early recovery. Most of the Volunteers were present in full uniform.

On Monday, 27th the Volunteers were disbanded and all of their equipment was called in.

Rumours are current in town that it is contemplated shortly to form a German prisoner of war camp on the site of the Pine Woods. At the month end we clarified that the prisoners are to be held at the Bird in Hand Pub on Park Hill as the Canadian Camp has been taken over by the Board of Trade

Ampthill Command Depot

We understand that in all probability men at the Command Depot for treatment will be leaving at the end of the month. The staff will be staying on for a while, but there is no doubt that the end of the Command Depot is in sight, and the camp will soon be broken up. Allied to that, it has been requested that all accounts due by the Ampthill Command Depot be sent at once to the President of the Regimental Institutes, Ampthill Command Depot. It will not be long before a man in khaki will be quite a rare avis in Ampthill.

On the afternoon of Saturday, 4th January the Command Depot Football Team played ‘C’ Depot, Royal Engineers from Bedford. Corporal H. SMITH, Corporal WILKINSON and Private CHAPMAN all scored for the home side. The Royal Engineers also scored twice, and the whistle went leaving the Ampthill team the winners by 3 goals to 2. The Command Depot Football Team is now second down the league list.

On Thursday, 23rd the Command Depot Concert gave its last show. All concerts are now to be held in the Recreation Room instead of the Olympia Hall which is much too large for the small number of men who are still at the Depot. There are only about 60 men left at the Depot now.

News of Ampthill Boys 

Bandmaster T.M. TUNBRIDGE, son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. A. Stanbridge of Melvern Villa in Ampthill, writes from Cambrai that he is well, and states that recently he took a walk amidst the ruins some miles from the town when he encountered an English nurse. By a strange coincidence it happened to be Nurse Mabel GASCOMBE, of Ampthill, who has for some years been engaged as a nurse in France. She was stationed at a military hospital in the neighbourhood.

Private A. BASS (Middlesex Regiment) who was in charge of the Drill Hall for some years during the existence of the Ampthill Training Depot, has had an eventful career. Joining up at the commencement of the war, he served for some time at the Ampthill Camp, and went out to France with an early draft. He came home wounded and was then transferred to the Middlesex Regiment. He was sent to India on board the transport “Tyndareus,” which was torpedoed off the East of Africa, and has been cited as a parallel to the historic “Birkenhead.” After some months service at Singapore, he was sent to Russia, and we now have news of him as part of Colonel John Ward‘s propaganda battalion in Russia

Private Claude FOSSEY (Middlesex Regiment) of Saunders Piece is home from Germany where he has been held as a prisoner of war for some time. Claude is one of five brothers serving with the forces, and has been wounded in action.

Private Arthur OSBORNE (King’s Rifles) of Saunders Piece is home after being kept as a prisoner-of-war. His 22 year old brother, Lance Corporal Leonard OSBORNE (London Regiment) has been missing since March 1918.

Private Sidney STAPLETON (Sherwood Foresters) of Woburn Street is home on leave recovering from a wound.

Private James UNDERWOOD (Machine Gun Corps) of Park Hill, who was formerly a member of the Ampthill Training Depot band and went to France in February 1918, has been appointed to the bagpipe band of the 2nd Battery M.G.C., now on the Rhine.

Lance Corporal Ernest WOODLAND (Bedfordshire Regiment) of Dunstable Street, who has been stationed at the Command Depot for some time, has received his discharged from the Army and is now at home. He went through the Dardanelles Campaign with the 1/5th Bedfords’ and was badly wounded in France. He has been playing in the Command Depot Olympia Hall Cinema Bijon Orchestra.

The following Ampthill boys have been discharged from the army:

  • Private Sydney H. LAKE (R.A.M.C.) of Park Street
  • Private Thomas A. LAMBERT (Bedfordshire Regiment)
  • Private Arthur G. ROBINSON M.M. (Hertfordshire Regiment) of Oliver Street
  • Private William A. STANBRIDGE (Bedfordshire Regiment) of Park Street
  • Private Charles P. STAPLES (Suffolk Regiment) of Arthur Street 

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
British Newspaper Archive
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog

Ampthill’s Fallen – by John Hele (2014)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

Next instalment to be published on 28 February 2019….

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, December 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.

December 1918 – The Ampthill Volunteer Machine Gun Team has resumed their course of instruction under Corporal C.F. WOOD of Bedford.

The Town Band, which has been reformed, gave an excellent concert on the evening of Saturday, December 8th in The Market Place. Mr W. N. Walker and Sergeant Drummer A. PEPPER acted as co-directors, and collections were taken in aid of the band funds.

Dr. K. Roberts (Ministry of Health), for the Ampthill Rural District, reports that the influenza epidemic has abated.

On Sunday, 22nd a memorial service was held at St. Andrew’s Church to those who had fallen in the war, and the names of some 40 men of the parish were recited. A very impressive sermon was preached by the Rector, the Rev. Walter D. May from John xv.13 “Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” In the course of the sermon the Rector referred to the provision of a permanent memorial of those who had fallen in the war, and said that he considered no more fitting one could be chosen than that of a large stone Churchyard cross – the sign of Christ’s own sacrifice – at the foot of which should be inscribed the names of all in the parish who had offered their lives for their country and their friends.

There have been khaki weddings:

On Christmas Day at the Wesleyan Chapel the wedding of Miss Ethel Barker of  Dunstable Street and Sergeant George H. GOODWIN (126th C.F.C.) who is now stationed at Brandon. Upon return to Canada Sergeant GOODWIN anticipates taking up his engineering work at Revelstoke in British Columbia.

On 28th December at the Wesleyan Chapel Miss Florence Sugars wed Sergeant Frederick T. SUDBURY (126th C.F.C.) of Ontario.

Also on 28th December at the Wesleyan Chapel in Streatham Miss Emmie Prior (V.A.D. Nurse, British Red Cross Hospital, Streatham) to Private Clement HARDWICK (Suffolks). They are taking up residence at ‘Homeleigh’ on Chandos Road, Ampthill.

General Election

On Saturday, 14th the two Polling Stations at Ampthill were kept throughout the day. Voters No.1 to 599 voted at the National School (Presiding Officer: Mr H. Robinson) and voters 600 to 1,215 for Ampthill and all Millbrook voters at the Wesleyan Schools (Presiding Officer: Mr H. Webber). It is believed that about 700 voted, and of these about 400 are women. This is not a bad total when the 240 absent uniformed voters are allowed for. The Deputy Returning Officer is Mr W.F.A. Fletcher (Under Sheriff) of Biggleswade.

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The votes of men on service were handled separately at Shire Hall and in unexpected numbers. The total absent voters polling strength is 18,966, but of course many have died since the lists were prepared and many are too off to vote and have not taken advantage of their right to appoint a proxy.

The General Election result was declared on 28th December. The counting of the Mid Bedfordshire ballot papers took place at the County Court Hall in Ampthill, under the supervision of Mr Howard Spensley (High Sheriff). Among those present  were Sir Arthur W. Black and Lady Black, and Mr and Mrs Max G. Townley, with their agents. At one o’clock the High Sheriff proceeded to the steps of the County Court Hall where the poll result was officially announced as:

Mr Max G. Townley (Coalition Union)   9,073
Sir Arthur W. Black (Liberal)                  7,352
Majority                                                       1,712

Nationally, it was a landslide victory for the coalition government of David Lloyd George – read more.

Ampthill Command Depot

The Ampthill Command Depot Football Team served an overwhelming victory on Saturday, 7th afternoon, when playing the Army Service Corps in Ampthill Park. The whistle went leaving Ampthill the winners by 11 goals to none.

Private A.V. COOTE (Machine Gun Corps), late of the Command Depot, who has been a prisoner of war for sometime, has now been released and is back in England.

A grand victory ball was held in the Olympia Hall, in the Park, on Boxing Night.

News of Ampthill Boys

The Military Medal has been awarded to 202116 Private Arthur LOWE M.M. (1/7th Middlesex) of Bedford Street. he is the eighth Ampthill boy to win the M.M. and it is in all probability the last award made in the war. The news was received in a letter from his officer, B.E.F. France, which stays:

“As the officer commanding No.6 Platoon, it became necessary for me to change my servant at a minute’s notice on the night of the 6th November, as we were leaving a village in France to proceed to our “jumping off” place for what proved to be the last burst of the war. My choice of servant fell upon your son, who has served with me for some time, and from that moment until the declaration of the armistice he carried on in the double capacity of my batman and platoon runner, with a remarkable devotion to duty, and to myself personally. For three nights and until we were relieved on the fourth day we had a very trying and at times dangerous time, with practically no sleep. Your son was invariably very willing and unquenchably cheerful, and exceed his duty in many respects. He was particularly good in carrying messages, both under fire and otherwise.”

Source: Bedfordshire Time & Independent (December 13th, 1918)

Lieutenant Ernest CHIVERS, who has been the Garrison Engineer at Hyderabad for some months, has been promoted to Captain, and is in charge of the military works at Karachi.

7029 Lance Corporal John ODELL D.C.M. (Seaforth Highlanders) who has been a prisoner of war for sometime in Germany, has returned home to Oliver Street.

60688 Sergeant Harry STAPLETON (R.A.M.C.) of Arthur Street has been returned from Germany, where has been a prisoner for some time.

Mrs M. A. Two of Oliver Street has heard that her son 30431 Private Albert E. TWO (75th Field Ambulance, R.A.M.C.) who has been missing since March, is presumed killed in action.

9400 Private William STANBRIDGE (1st Bedfords’) of The Alameda has received his discharge from the Army. William was in the Regular Army, and previous to the outbreak of war was stationed in South Africa, cam over in 1914, and went to France in October 1914.

149453 Private James DAVIS (Labour Corps) of Park Hill has been discharged.

26765 Private Arthur ROBINSON M.M. has also been discharged and is now at home in Woburn Street.

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
British Newspaper Archive
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 January 2019….

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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


24 February 2019 – Guided Walk to revisit the WWI Trenching Ground

A guided walk to discover what remains of the Trenching Ground in Steppingley Woods.

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Starts: 2pm
Venue: Please gather in Ampthill Great Park, West Car Park (map) by A507 to depart at 2pm.
Detail: 2-3 miles. Please wear stout shoes and warm clothing. Child and dog friendly. We should be back in Ampthill Great Park for 4pm.
Cost: £3 on the day (no need to pre-book).

 

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 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.

October 1918 – the Scouts have sent off 20 sacks of waste paper to the Prince of Wales’ Fund.

Ampthill Command Depot

Influenza has claimed a victim in Drummer COLEMAN of the Ampthill Command Depot Band, who died soon after admittance to the V.A.D. Hospital on the night of 22-23 October.

During a football match on the afternoon of Saturday, 26th October between the Command Depot and Marston Juniors, Private JEEVES sustained a broken leg.

Canadian Forestry Corps

Influenza has claimed the life of 2005068 Private Avard L. DIMOCK (Forestry Corps) who wed Ampthill girl (Rose Ellen Wootton) back in June. Private Dimock (20) died at the Military Hospital in Thetford which is where the 126th Corps are now stationed. His body is to be brought back to Ampthill for burial.

Avard Dimock a (3)

Private Avard L. DIMOCK (126th Canadian Forestry Corps)

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month the war has claimed the lives of 8 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)

 

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

Next instalment to be published on 30 November 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

November 2018 – it will be one hundred years since news of The Armistice rippled through Bedfordshire, and was welcomed with thankful relief. Hostilities ceased but the war continued to shaped Ampthill in ways which have passed out of living memory.

Ampthill Town Council is leading preparations to build on Tommy’s Footprints and mark the Armistice centenary.

The focal point is Ampthill Armistice100 – a programme of events that build to and align with the nation’s tribute of Battle’s Over which is on Remembrance Sunday, 11th November.

 

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Click here to download a copy of the programme.

Please email Stephen Hartley if you would like to know more about Ampthill Armistice100 or volunteer.
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WWI – Ampthill – the Camp Diary, September 1914

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 – a list of  His Majesty’s Forces in which members of the St. Andrew’s congregation and other from Ampthill are serving, has been placed in the Church Porch.

As at September 5th the Ampthill & District News believe the following to be the names:

Regulars                                           Yeomanry                                   Terriorials
Arthur ANSELL                                Edward LETTS                            Walter ANSELL
Charles BUNKER                              Bruce TUFFNELL                        Harry ATHEWS
Frank COX                                                                                                 Tom BURRIDGE
Christopher COX                                                                                      Ernest BURGE
Edward DAVIS                                                                                          Reginald COLES
Frederick DILLINGHAM                                                                         Herbert COLE
Ernest HARLOW                                                                                       Arthur GARDNER
LAMBERT                                                                                                   Harry KING
McCARTY                                                                                                    John LOWE
MARTIN                                                                                                      Jack ROBINSON
Charles PALMER                                                                                       James RANDALL
Arthur PRESSLAND                                                                                  George SHARP
Percy STANBRIDGE                                                                                  Reginald SHOTBOLT
Sidney THOROUGOOD                                                                             Jack SUGARS
Robert SHUTLER
Alfred WALDREN
Ernest WALTON
Horace WHITE
Cecil WHITEMAN
Ernest WOODLAND

 

Should anyone wish to add to the list will they please write the name of the Battleship or Regiment, together with the name of the sailor or soldier on a slip of paper and place it the box in the porch, marked “For Intercessions.” (Ampthill Parish News)

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard; Ampthill & District News. The original broadsheets are 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
Home Rule for Ampthill – Andrew Underwood (1974)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

 

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 – Ampthill – the Camp Diary, August 1914

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.

Saturday, 25th July 1914  – the 5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment arrived in Ashridge Park for 15 days training. On the morning of Thursday, 30th July a hundred men from the Brigade received orders to leave the camp at short notice, their destination being unknown. Twenty-five men from the Battalion under Lieutenant Forrest, of Ampthill, were included in the number.

War arrives
At 6.16 p.m. on the evening of Tuesday, 4th August the Chief Constable of Bedford, Major Stevens,  received a telegram from the Under Secretary at the Home Office ordering instant mobilization of the Special Reserve and Territorials.

“His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to direct by proclamation that the Army Reserve be called up on permanent service. All Regular Reservists are required to report themselves at one at their place of joining in accordance with the instructions on their identity certificates for the purpose of joining the Army.”

“All Special Reservists are required to report themselves on such date and at such place as them may be directed to attend  for the purpose of joining the Army. If they have not received any such directions or if they have changed their address since last attendance at drill or training, they will report themselves at once by letter to the Adjutant of their Unit or depot. The necessary instructions as to their joining will then be given.”

“His Majesty the King, having been graciously pleased to order by proclamation that directions be given by the Army Council for embodying the Territorial Force all men belonging to the said Force are required to report themselves immediately at their Headquarters.”

The military authorities at the Kempston Barracks and the Territorial Headquarters, who had been expecting the order all day, were immediately hard at work sending out notices to the men, and within a few hours a large proportion of Bedford’s able-bodied population were ready to take their place in the line of defence.

A large gang of men was busily engaged with constructing a huge platform in the Ballast Pits Siding near the Kempston-road junction of the Midland Railway, for the entrainment of soldiers and guns in readiness for five special trains to leave on the Saturday morning.

In Ampthill
On the morning of Wednesday, 5th August Bugler Harry King (5th Bedfords’) was ordered to sound the fall-in (click to listen) at the Drill Hall on Dunstable Street. About fifty Territorials of the Ampthill Company reported and then left for Headquarters at Bedford, in charge of Colour Sergeant Bunker. The Ampthill Town Band accompanied them to the station, and a large crowd gave them a hearty send-off, and all of the men went off in good spirits. Whilst the men were entraining the Band played “Auld Lang Syne.”

On arrival at Bedford the Ampthill Company, with those from Luton, Dunstable and Biggleswade, were accommodated at the Roise-street Schoolroom and the Goldington Council School where most of the furniture was turned out into the school yard to make space. By the evening the whole of the men, to the number of about 950, were in town.

200 hundred horses were entrained at Ampthill next morning.

In Ampthill four Boy Scouts were requested to report themselves to the Police Superintendent at 10 a.m. on Friday for messenger service. Four more at 2 p.m., and four more at 6 p.m. Those with bicycles to take them.

Writing in the Ampthill Parish News, the Rev Walter D. May said:

1914.09 APN (2)a

Ampthill Parish News (September 1914)


Horses
In the days to follow the roads and lanes of Bedfordshire echoed with the clop-clop of big country horses as they proceeded in strings to the seat of war. By mid-August the county was literally ransacked for equine. It was particularly hard on the baker or grocer, whose horse and trap is the sole means of conveyance to a wide circle of villages. In the extreme north of Bedfordshire, farmers, travelling drapers, and others to whom horses are very necessary were in considerable trepidation. One farmer took matters philosophically, and offered to sacrifice his old cockerel ‘if it was any use to the Government.’

1914.08.15 ADN (2)

Ampthill & District News (August 15, 1914)


British Red Cross Society
The Lady Margaret Ampthill has published a list of generous offers of support which the Bedfordshire Branch of the British Red Cross Society had . The offers include buildings promised as temporary hospitals, accommodation and convalescent homes

1914.08.21 BS

Bedfordshire Standard – August 21, 1914

 

Read September 1914

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard; Ampthill & District News. The original broadsheets are 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
Home Rule for Ampthill – Andrew Underwood (1974)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

 

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.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.
Continue reading