Tag Archives: Centenary

The Battles of The Somme

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 The Allied patrols discovered that German troops had withdrawn from their frontline positions.

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

2016-09-18-10-31-12

 

©S.Hartley (2015-)

Tommy’s Footprints – Armistice Day 2016

On 11 November the Alameda Middle School gathered at The Cenotaph in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

Mrs Harvey (Head of History) read out the names of service men who lost their lives in the First World War who have a family connection to pupils or staff at the school. A bugle sounded “The Last Post” and more than 700 people observed the 2 minute silence in the woodland glade.

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Watch the YouTube videoclip

It was a glorious Autumn day and so I visited Ampthill Great Park to see the Duke of Bedford Memorial and Tommy’s Footprints, and then onto the memorial in St. Andrew’s Churchyard.

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Please visit Ampthill Great Park (6-20 November) and see Tommy’s Footprints for yourself. In the days that follow Tommy’s Footprints will quietly fade into the ground, and disappear…

© S.Hartley (2015-)

Tommy’s Footprints | Remembering WWI in Ampthill Great Park

A hundred years ago local men volunteered in droves to train at the Duke of Bedford’s camp in Ampthill Great Park. The recruits had top notch huts and facilities, paid for by the Duke.

By August 1916 the Ampthill Camp had trained 2,235 local men to fight for ‘King and Country.’ One third of these men – 707 – did not return to their families.

November 2016 – WWI centenary art provides a focus to remember the men who trained at the Ampthill Camp, and those who were injured or killed in the Great War.

The centrepiece is Tommy’s Footprints – a column of 707 footprints flanked by poppies in the hollow of Ampthill Great Park where the men once marched. The 180 metre long column will glimpse the terrible loss.

After months of planning, on Saturday, 5 November Tommy’s Footprints became a reality. Volunteers took their turn to stencil the column of footprints and plant the field of poppies – a cross for each fallen man.

Here are some photos of the stencilling.

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Please visit Ampthill Great Park (6-20 November) and see Tommy’s Footprints for yourself. In the days that follow Tommy’s Footprints will quietly fade into the ground, and disappear…

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, September 1916

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

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

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

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September 8, 1916

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September 15, 1916

Wrest Park Military Hospital

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

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

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

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

Ampthill Camp – more departures

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

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September 22, 1916

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September 29, 1916

 

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

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

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

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

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

September 15th – The Battle of Flers-Courcelette

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

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

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

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

September 25th – The Battle of Morval 

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

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

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


Other September Casualties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 28
20817 Private Edward HILL of Barton Died of Wounds

Sources:

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Bedfordshire Regiment
A history of Silsoe (Roger Bradshaw, 2011
English Heritage

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

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


BUY: Ampthill Camp WWI Centenary Postcard

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

Proceeds will help to fund a book about the Ampthill Camp ~ profits to benefit the charity Combat Stress which was founded in 1919 to help WWI veterans deal with shell shock.

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

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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.

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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:

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September 22, 1916

Sources: 

Bedfordshire & Luton Archive Service
The Bedfordshire Standard
English Heritage

©S.Hartley (2015-)

 

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, August 1916

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

August 1916 – On 26th July Christopher Cox died in Oxford Hospital where he was being treated for serious head and thigh wounds. The funeral took place at Ampthill, with full military honours in the presence of a large and sympathetic congregation. The firing party and band from the Ampthill Camp preceded the procession from his home to the Parish Church. Volleys were fired over the grave, and the “The Last Post ” sounded. Mother, Father and his brothers, Private Josiah- and Edward Cox, were there to mourn the death.

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August 4, 1916

 

On Tuesday, August 8th a local Reporter visited the Ampthill Camp. The writer eloquently describes the tranquil setting and the programme of entertainment the assembly enjoyed that Summer evening.

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Source: The Bedfordshire Standard (August 16, 1916); retyped to aid reading

 

 

On Friday, 11th a small draft of convalescent soldiers left the Camp to continue with Overseas Service. Next day a further three drafts, numbering almost 200 men, left the Camp for the completion of training elsewhere, possibly at Sittingbourne. Included among the drafts were most of the members of the Old Regimental Band. Many of the recruits were disappointed at the early departure, as were their relatives. At the station there were some affecting scenes.

The Bedfordshire Training Depot has lost some of it’s usual humdrum. A number of huts stand empty.

 

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August 18, 1916

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

The Somme region claimed the lives of seventeen Ampthill Park recruits this month. Eleven of these boys were killed on August 8/9th while serving with the 6th Battalion at Contalmaison – read war diary.

18312 Private Albert ROLFE of Watbridge Died of Wounds on August 1
18577 Private William BAVISTER (23) of Luton Died of Wounds on August 1
17760 Private George BIGNELL (36) of North Church Died of Wounds on August 4
20618 Private Herbert PARSONS (34) of Tilbrook Killed in Action on August 8
18773 Private John Theodore PRATT (22) of Eaton Bray Died of Wounds on August 8
20576 Private Arthur CONSTABLE 24) of Walsworth Killed in Action on August 9
26355 Lance Corporal Thomas HARRIS (19) of Tempsford Killed in Action on August 9
27305 Private Horace Frederick JACKSON of Redbourn Killed in Action on August 9
26703 Private Thomas John MONEY (23) of Ampthill Killed in Action on August 9
25138 Private Arthur READ (34) of Barham Killed in Action on August 9
22153 Private Albert Edward SKEGGS of Hatfield Killed in Action on August 9
26711 Private Jonah SOLE (27) of Ashwell Killed in Action on August 9
25891 Private Edward STEVENS (19) of Shefford Killed in Action on August 9
27043 Private Ralph Henry TOMPKINS (21) of Bozeat Killed in Action on August 9
26785 Private Albert WILTON (35) of Henlow Killed in Action on August 9
18315 Private Percy Alfred SWAIN (22) of Weston Died of Wounds on August 13
34452 Private Sidney Arthur CUTLER (19) of Kensworth Killed in Action on August 16

Sources:

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

Next installment to be published on 30 September 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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


BUY: Ampthill Camp WWI Centenary Postcard

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

Proceeds will help to fund a book about the Ampthill Camp ~ profits to benefit the charity Combat Stress which was founded in 1919 to help WWI veterans deal with shell shock.

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

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WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, July 1916

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

July 1916 – Several drafts have left the Ampthill Training Depot this week for the East Coast. The band marched each draft to the Station, and His Grace was there to see the men entrained. A good many civilian friends gave them a cheery farewell. Recruits have arrived to take the place of those who have left.

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July 14, 1916

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

A subdued letter has been received from Joseph Bilcock who trained at the Ampthill Camp. Joseph is now attached to the Royal Engineers, serving at the Front. He dreams of a decent meal, duck and green peas….. The uncertainty and conditions are taking their toll.
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*18308 Private Bilcock would serve with the British Expeditionary Force for a further 15 months. Joseph was wounded and sadly on October 28, 1917 succumbed to his wounds…..

The Battles of the Somme

The ‘Big Push’ in the Somme Region has seen 520 Bedfords’ killed this month. Sixty-nine of these soldiers trained at the Ampthill Camp. Most of the deaths arose from four British attacks:

July 1916 – Ampthill recruits killed or who died of wounds


July 1st – First Day of The Somme

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

Many more soldiers were wounded. The Bedfordshire Regiment 7th Battalion War Diary provides an account  of what happened on 1 July 1916 –more.

 July 11th – Trônes Wood

The Bedfords’ 2nd Battalion saw action on 11 July at Trones Wood – map. The war diary reports ‘unexpectedly encountering a trench complex and machine guns’ that were concealed by the heavy undergrowth.

1916.7.21 BS Trones Wood

Bedfordshire Standard – July 21, 1916

Sixteen Ampthill recruits who were killed that day. A further two men died on 12 July of their wounds – more about the Bedfords’ in Trônes Wood:

July 27th – Longueval

The 1st Bedfordshire supported the 1st Norfolks in attacking the village of Longueval – map. A 2 hour bombardment preceded ZERO HOUR (7.10 A.M).

The Report on Operations indicates that the Bedfords’ encountered significant resistance as they entered the village. This took the form of heavy machine gun fire and a German counter attack that halted the advance. Casualties were heavy. Ten Ampthill recruits were killed in the action.

Read the Bedfordshire Regiment 1st Battalion War Diary

July 30th – Maltz Horn Farm

The 2nd Battalion was engaged in an attack at Maltz Horn Farm – map. At ZERO HOUR 3:30am “A” Company attacked in two extended lines, capturing the farm and trench. 70-80 Germans were killed in the Maltz Horn German Trench and one prisoner taken. The Farm itself was found not to be held. “A” Company rejoined the Battalion in its original front line and suffered about 30 Casualties in the whole operation.

The Battalion was to move up into their positions in the Trenches just South of Trones Wood. The attack was severely hampered by a dense fog that caused the attacking Battalions to lose touch. Orders were given for “B” and “C” Companies to move up in support and reinforce the 19th and 20th Kings Liverpool Regiment. Thwarted by communication difficulties the companies dug in and excavated a new trench 300 yards long. The whole position was heavily shelled throughout the day.

Nine Ampthill recruits were killed in the operation.

Read the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion War Diary


July 1916 – other Ampthill recruits who were killed or died

19447 Private Frederick CAIN (26) of Hitchin – Killed accidentally on July 2
22501 Private William WALDOCK of St Albans – Died of Wounds on July 3
20973 Private Walter DAWSON (19) of Stow – Died of Wounds on July 4
22385 Private Frederick CHASE of Hockliffe – Killed in Action on July 10
20859 Private William REYNOLDS of Stotfold Killed in Action on July 10
19108 Lance Corporal Frank THORNTON (27) of Ascott-under-Wychwood – Died of Wounds on July 10
22170 Private Ernest Edward AMBROSE (19) of Wallington – Died of Wounds on July 13 – more
22940 Private Cecil Sydney ROE (19) of Huntingdon – Field accident on July 14
20528 Private Charles Henry LUDGATE (20) of Woburn – Killed in Action on July 15 – more
22178 Private Robert POINTER (39) of St Albans – Killed in Action on July 15 – more
20643 Private Walter Leslie James SAWYER (23) of Little Barford – Killed in Action  on July 15 – more
18510 Private Joseph PAYNE – Died of Wounds on July 16
18294 Corporal Walter James BIRD (37) of Baldock – Died of Wounds on July 17
22523 Private William Joseph SHAMBROOK of Sharnbook – Killed in Action on July 19
18526 Lance Corporal John RAINSDEN (33) of St Albans – Died of Wounds on July 22
27407 Private John William GREEN of Wymington – Killed in Action on July 23
20056 Private Harry Edward HARPER (21) of Leighton Buzzard – Died of Wounds on July 23
19449 Private John W. HILLYARD (40) of Westoning – Killed in Action on July 24
22051 Private Charles BUSHBY (29) of Harlington – Killed in Action on July 28
18182 Private Rufus Ernest BOWYER (18) of New Harrowden – Died of Wounds on July 30
20228 Private Ernest John ENDERSBY (36) of Sandy – Killed in Action on July 31

Sources:

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Bedfordshire Regiment
Daily Mail Online

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

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


BUY: Ampthill Camp WWI Centenary Postcard

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

Proceeds will help to fund a book about the Ampthill Camp ~ profits to benefit the charity Combat Stress which was founded in 1919 to help WWI veterans deal with shell shock.

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

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