Tag Archives: Canadian Forestry Corps

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

March 1919 – this month has been dominated by sale of the Ampthill Camp.

The influenza epidemic is still very bad and there are several cases of pneumonia in the town.

Over 500 ration books have been issued to demobilized soldiers by the Ampthill & Urban District Council.

The Committee of the Ampthill Detachment, 1st Volunteer Battalion (Bedfords’) has sent £11 5s to the St. Dunstan’s Homes for Blinded Soldiers.

There is a proposal to form a Cadet Corps in Ampthill.

Lieutenant Herman L. PORTER (Canadian Forestry Corps), who was in charge of the Y.M.C.A. on The Pines whilst the Canadians were in Ampthill, was in Town for the weekend at the end of March

It has not yet been ascertained to whom the living of Ampthill will be given when it is vacated by the Rev Walter D. May, but the popular opinion is in favour of the Rev.  C.R. Dickinson who has done such good service as Chaplain at the Ampthill Command Depot.

The Ampthill Camp

By coincidence three beds in a hut at the Ampthill Camp were recently occupied by soldiers bearing the names of Grief, Right and Pain.

During the week of 18th March Messrs Swaffield and Son of Ampthill handled the sale of all the camp buildings, equipment and furniture.

The Luton News & Bedfordshire Advertiser March 18th, 1919

The Luton News & Bedfordshire Advertiser      March 13, 1919

The sale lasted 5 days. High prices ruled and there was some spirited bidding. The 2,300 lots included the 35 huts of the camp, the large Olympia Hall, the Recreation Hut, officers’ and other huts, the massage hut, Remedial Treatment Hut, together with the whole of the furniture of the Officers Mess, etc.

Much interest was taken in the sale of the huts which all fetched high prices, between £200 and £400. The huge Olympia Hall was knocked down to Mr Revett, of Olney, for £975, and the Recreation Hut £450. The furniture also fetched good prices, with the exception of the beds, which only fetched a few shillings a piece. No purchases were made by either the County Council or the Luton Corporation, as had been anticipated.

By the month end good progress has been made with dismantling the huts at the Camp, which now looks quite dilapidated.


The Bedfordshire Standard has followed the Ampthill Camp from its establishment back in the October of 1914. The March 21st edition tells the resplendent story of the Camp’s rise and closure.

1919.3.21 BS camp summary

Bedfordshire Standard – March 21, 1919

 

War Memorial

Opinion is very strong in Ampthill that the greater portion of the amount required for the war memorial should be obtained from the tradespeople, who it is alleged, with the local rise in population have made ample profits during the war.

News of Ampthill Boys

A large number of Ampthill men have been demobilized lately, including:

Sergeant E.H. CHITTLEBURGH (Norfolks’)  recently instructor to the Ampthill Volunteers.
Airman William DELLER (R.A.F.) of Dunstable Street.
Sapper William PHILLIPS (6th Royal Engineers) of Park Hill.
Private James WARD (2nd Bedfords’) of Flitwick Road.
Airman Horace WHITE (R.A.F.) of Dunstable Street.

Sergeant Reginald COLES, son of Ampthill’s esteemed postmaster, Mr William Coles, son Signaller Section Royal Engineers attached to 40th Indian Brigade, has been awarded the D.C.M. for services in Palestine. Sergeant Coles was previously mentioned in despatches in connection with the second battle of Gaza. He has been serving since the outbreak of war, and went to the Dardanelles with the 1st/5th Bedfords’. Reginald was subsequently invalided in Egypt with dysentery, and transferred to the R.E. Signals. He has taken part through out the operations in Egypt and Palestine, and was educated at the Bedford Modern School.

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

This is he final installment of The Camp Diary.

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, 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 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 – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, August 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.

August 1918 – news has been received that Private Edward KEECH (M.G.C) of Church Street who is a prisoner of war in Germany. Private KEECH is thankfully well.

Cadet W. ODELL (Mercantile Navy) has returned home from South America after being torpedoed for a second time. His ship managed to reach port without sinking.

Mrs P. Daniell of Austin’s Lane who’s eldest son Private William DANIELL (20), was killed in action on July 13th, has received a letter from the Corporal in charge of the battalion runners, in which he sends the deepest sympathy of all his comrades, in her loss.

Ampthill Command Depot

On Thursday, August 8th the Warwick Repertory Company, from London, concluded a successful week’s entertainment at the Ampthill Command Depot. Their on-e-act sketches received an enthusiastic reception from a large audience. During the intervals the Depot’s Bijou Orchestra ably entertained.

On August 19th prizes were presented to the successful competitors at the shooting competition. Miss Sheila McCarthy. The special prize given by the Duchess of Bedford was won by Sergeant Instructor CHICKLEBOROUGH.

An open-air canteen in Mr Wingfield’s grounds has been started by some energetic ladies from the Wesleyan Chapel, who are kept very busy every evening. This is well patronised by the troops. An added attraction is Mr Wingfield’s collection of foreign animals which, although depleted, is still interesting to the Tommies.

Canadian Forestry Corps

The Ampthill mill has finished cutting timber. Shipments this month of lumber totalled 187,816fbm which is an increase on July of 67,671fbm. These were principally despatched to Northampton on loco T.C.2596. During August 80,831 linear foot of pitwood was consigned from Ampthill Station.

After spending nearly a year in Ampthill the 126th Forestry Corps is about to leave for Thetford. During their Ampthill stay they have made many friends, and now they are sorry to lose these boys from their midst. The officers and men will always be remembered. Early each morning we have been awakened by the Reveille, and Last Post each night signalled the close of another day. Probably the centre of the social life has been the Y.M.C.A. hut, where we have been privileged to spend many a pleasant evening. Each week we have listened to a good concert or watched their pictures.

Sergeant Herman L. Porter, who has been in charge of the Y.M.C.A. has put in every effort to make the work a success, and to him is largely due the credit for the splendid work done for the men in the social way. Although he came here broken in health after being wounded and gassed in France, he never spared himself when anything was to be done for the men. Ably assisted by his corporal, V.G. Jones, his work has been a success. While there Sergeant Porter has written a book on the work of the company.

On August 8th a special farewell gathering was held at The Pines Y.M.C.A. which taxed the seating capacity of the hut to its utmost. During the interval speeches Commanding Officer Captain P.H.JORY, Lieutenant J.H. GARDNER and Sergeant H.L. Porter spoke of the good work of the Y.M.C.A. and sincerely thanked the Ampthill ladies who had done such good service in the Canteen and the social work of the “Y.” Parlour games and dancing kept the guests amused and interested until a successful evening was closed with “Auld Lang Syne.”

On Friday, August 16th a Farewell Entertainment was given to the Foresters at the British School. The Company Pierrot troupe, “The Woodpeckers,” entertained at the close of which Mrs Chivers (on behalf of the committee) presented Lieutenant Read with a mascot in the form of a large blue and yellow bird. Accepting the gift, Lieutenant Reed thanked the donors and assured them that the mascot would accompany the troupe on their journeys. A very pleasing incident was a presentation by Lieutenant Reed, on behalf of the boys, to the newly promoted Lieutenant H. Porter for his splendid work as sergeant in charge of the Y.M.C.A. That he was a great favourite with the boys was shown by the gift of a wristlet watch, engraved with the words “Presented to Sergt. H. Porter, by the Coy. of Canadian Forestry Corps, as a token of appreciation.

The Woodpeckers have been instrumental in raising sums for charity. The proceeds of their amusing and melodious entertainment has raised the following sums since the 126th Corps arrived in August 1917 –

The Prisoners’ of War Fund (Sandy & Biggleswade)  £84. 14. 8.
Flitwick War Memorial                                                    £28.
Sandy V.A.D. Hospital                                                       £16. 12. 10.

The sentiments of the townsfolk were ably expressed by Mr C. Richards who said “in the first place the Ampthill people did not want the Canadians and they were still consistent in that they did not want them – to go.” A very pleasant evening then ended by Mrs Chivers being called upon to sing “O, Canada,” followed by “Auld Lang Syne” and “God Save the King.”

It seems likely that when the Canadians depart the Command Depot will utilise the huts encampment which is on The Pines.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month the war has claimed the lives of 24 men who trained at the Ampthill Camp. Of these, 20 died in the actions from 20th August in offensive operations that were part of the Second Battles of the Somme.

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 30 September 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. Click here to download a copy of the programme.

As part of Ampthill Armistice100, the Zonita Ampthill Community Cinema is pleased to show a double-bill of films on the evening of Saturday, 10th November:

Film 1 ~ The Burying Party (12A; 60 mins)
For release on 4th November 2018 and being shown with special permission of the director. Wilfred Owen returns to the Somme against the advice of his mentor Siegfried Sassoon, determined to follow his subject ‘The Pity of War’ to the very end.
Watch the trailer

Film 2 ~ Journey’s End (12; 108 mins)
Set in a dugout in Aisne in 1918, a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope, variously await their fate.
Watch the trailer

You can buy tickets on the door, or reserve tickets and tables (at no extra charge) by emailing info@zonita.org.uk. Fully licensed bar.

 

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Please email Stephen Hartley if you would like to know more about Ampthill Armistice100 or volunteer.
Continue reading

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

July 1918 – the Ampthill Volunteers had an interesting lecture on ‘Outpost Duties’ by C.S.M. Simpson of the Ampthill Command Depot.

On Tuesday, 30th July a concert was given by children of the National School in aid of the Blind Soldiers Children Fund. There was a good attendance which included Lady Ampthill, the Hon. Constance and Romola Russell. A good programme of songs, recitations, and drills had been arranged, and was admirably carried out by the children, for which Mr W. Searle (Headmaster) and the teachers are to be congratulated.

Ampthill Command Depot

On the afternoon of Tuesday, 2 July the Command Depot Sports were held before a large attendance. The sports were held in a large roped-in enclosure just off the Woburn-road (by kind permission of Colonel His Grace the Duke of Bedford, K.G., A.D.C.).

Whilst the sports were in progress an excellent programme of music was rendered by the Northants Regimental Band, from the Depot at Northampton, and by the Command Depot Drum and Fife Band. Lieutenant Deacon, C.S.M.I Smith, C.S.M.I. Bruce, and Sergeant Easter made excellent clowns.

Sergeant W. Allen was the Hon. Secretary of the Sports Committee, and the various officials were as follows: –

President of Sports Committee – Rev.  C.R. Dickinson (C.F.C.);
Course stewards –  Lieutenant Forbes, Sergeants Green and Traylen;
Starter – Colour Sergeant Parker;
Timekeeper – Lieutenant Mallet;
Clerk of the course – Regimental Sergeant Major Clarke;
Recording clerk – Private Richards;
Referee-  Captain Durrant;
Stewards – the Gymnasium Staff;
Judges – the officers of the Command Depot, with Lance Corporal Asker and Privates Butcher, Holdsworth and Thompson.

The visitors included Lady Ampthill, the Hon. Constance Russell, the Misses Wingfield, the Rev. C.R. Dickinson (Chaplain), Major & Mrs A. Nelson, Major Holmes (Senior Medical Officer), Captain the Hon. Moubray St. John, the officers of the Command Depot,  Miss M. Osborne, Mrs E. Cosler, Miss Newman, and Dr R. Ambler.

1918.7.5 BS (4) .jpg

Her Grace the Duchess of Bedford attended to present the prizes to the successful competitors, and she was accompanied on the platform by Colonel His Grace the Duke of Bedford K.G., A.D.C., Lady Ampthill, Major G.B. Young (President of the Regimental Institute), Major A. Nelson (Adjutant), Major Holmes, Captain the Hon. M. St. John, and the officers of the Command Depot, with the Rev C.R. Dickinson (President of the  Sports Committee), and Sergeant W.J.C. Allen (Hon. Secretary).

Drowned in Ampthill Reservoir – 41278 Private Francis T. BULL, formerly of the Sherwood Foresters, was serving with the Suffolks’ 2nd Battalion and recuperating at the Command Depot. On Wednesday, 31st July 1918 Francis (26) was in the Rezzy training for the swimming sports which was to be held the next today. An eye witness recalls Private Bull ‘entered the water all right, but got into difficulty and sank before they could reach him.’ The Command Depot Sports Day was postponed as a mark of respect. An inquest is to be held.

 

Canadian Forestry Corps

The total production for July was 513,704 f.b.m. made from 641 logs which was principally hardwood, oak and chestnut from the Flitwick Plantation. 120,145 f.b.m. of sawn timber has been shipped which more than twice the previous month. The shipments were principally to Northampton and consisted of 2″ and 3″ plank.

The number of men parading sick this month averaged between eleven and twelve per day but reached as high as 33 which is 15% of the detachment. This large number was largely due to the epidemic of Spanish influenza at the start of the month.

No.2 Flitwick detachment is nearly at the end of its task and will shortly be withdrawn.

Work is underway to transfer the main operation to No.3 Brandon in Thetford Forest where work is underway where work is underway to clear the right of way for the narrow gauge railway and prepare the proposed mill site.

On Saturday, 27th July Miss Annie Dennis, of Brewery Lane, was married to Private Arthur Cotton (126th C.F.C.) at the Wesleyan Chapel. The bride was attired in a pretty cream dress with matching hat, and was given away by her farther, Mr T. Dennis, with Private J. O’Dell (Bedfords’) as the best man. The happy couple are spending their honeymoon in Rushden.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month the war has claimed the lives of 6 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 August 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 Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, June 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.

June 1918

Ampthill Command Depot

About 65 large marquees and a number of small tents have been erected, and a large camp has formed at eastern end of the park to receive more convalescent troops who are expected to arrive any day.

The Command Depot cricket team scored an impressive victory on Saturday, June 1st by beating the Hydraulic Works team by 137 runs to 56. The low score of the Luton team was chiefly due to the excellent bowling of Private T. EDWARDS (late of Surrey 2nd XI).  Lieutenant BOOTH (late captain of Bedford Alma) scored 52 for the Command Depot.

On Thursday, June 13th an excellent show was given by D.H. Evan’s No.1 Party at Olympia. The large hall was crowded with Tommies and their friends.

A draft of 50 men was escorted to the Station by the Depot’s Drum and Fife Band.

PC J. PEGG, formerly Sergeant Instructor of bayonet training who was very popular at the Training- and the Command Depot, has been discharged to join the Ampthill Police. Force.

Ampthill Volunteers

The Ampthill Platoon marched over to Clophill and attended church parade at the Parish Church. The sermon was preached by the Rector, Rev Cecil L. MATTHEWS, who is home on short leave from the Front. Lieutenant F.W. BRADSHAW (O.C.), Sergeant E.J. MOORE (Platoon Sergeant), Corporals W.E. PARMITER and J. SMITH, and other N.C.Os were on parade. Major L.H. CHASE (Officer Commanding the 1st Battalion) inspected the Ampthill Platoon.

Canadian Forestry Corps

In early June the Portuguese Labour Corps remembered the first anniversary of the death of their comrade who was killed in an air raid in France. There was a series of village dances to the music of an improvised orchestra consisting of a concertina, mandolin, and a guitar. The dancing kept on to a late hour, when hats were removed, and the proceedings concluded with the singing of the Portuguese National Anthem.

The “Jesters” concert party from the Royal Engineers, Bedford provided an evening of entertainment at the Y.M.C.A. Hut in the Pines, and their programme was thoroughly enjoyed. The “Zig-Zag Concert Party and Bob Barry’s party from Luton have also been entertaining at the Y.M.C.A. On Thursday, the “Woodpeckers” Pierrot Troupe of the Canadian Forestry Corps made their debut, with an excellent programme of the latest songs.

A pretty wedding has taken place on June 3rd at St. Andrew’s between Canadian Forester Private E.J. PERRY and Miss Gertrude Gowers of Park Hill. The Canadian’s Chaplain, Rev. H.P. Pollard officiated.

A book by Sgt. Herman L. PORTER has been published. In a pleasant, breezy manner Sergt. Porter reviews the work of the Canadian Forestry Corps since the formation of the camp in August 1917. The book is published by the Beds. Times Publishing Co. Ltd and is on sale at Mr F. Harwood’s in the Market Place, and is priced at 2s 3d. The entire profits are being devoted to a fund for the providing of concerts at the Y.M.C.A Hut during the summer.

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News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

There is news that Sapper James T. WILDMAN has been badly gassed in the recent fighting in France, and is lying seriously ill in Queen Mary’s Military Hospital at Whalley.

We also hear that 2nd Lieutenant Walter E. GADSBY M.M. has been wounded again and is now at the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth. Formerly a private footman to HRH Queen Mary, 17906 Private W.E. GADSBY enlisted in the early days of the war and left the Bedfordshire Training Depot in May 1915 with the first draft. Walter has the unique honour of being the first man from the Depot to win the Military Medal which he did in July 1916 at the infamous Somme ‘Trones Wood’ action, and was subsequently recommended for a commission which he took in August 1917 with 4th York & Lancaster Regiment.

26765 Private Arthur ROBINSON of Woburn Street, who trained at the Bedfordshire Depot, has been awarded the Military Medal. While serving as a runner with the Bedfords’ Private Robinson discovered part of the line unoccupied. At great personal risk and danger to himself Private Robinson brought up reinforcements and he saved the situation. His younger brother, 27359 Private Percy ROBINSON, died in France in April 1917 due to a serious head injury.

This month the war has claimed the lives of two 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 July 2018….

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.

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