Tag Archives: Flitwick

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.

Continue reading

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

May 1918

The Ampthill Platoon of Volunteers went into camp at Luton Hoo on Saturday, 18 May. The men attending paraded in full kit and entrained at Ampthill Midland Station.

The Military Medal has been awarded to Signaller Charles Transley (Middlesex Regiment) of Woburn Street. Signaller Transley, with two comrades, held a forward post for several days against the Germans. This is the fifth Ampthill lad to be awarded the Military Medal, the others being: Corporal Guy S. Martin, Sergeant Richard H. Wheeler, Corporal James Hall and Sergeant Fred Gibbs.

Ampthill Command Depot

About 60 men of the R.A.M.C. are now under canvas in Ampthill Great Park. Dr. Scott and Dr. Glasgow have arrived at the Command Depot to cope with the increasing number of convalescents, and the R.A.M.C. staff have also been augmented.

An exciting cricket match was held on the afternoon of Saturday, 18th May between the Ampthill Command Depot and strong team from the Army Service Corps. The visitors were all out for 57 runs, and the Depot went on to score 64 runs thanks to the all-round excellence of the team’s batting.

That evening Private T. Simpson of the Hertfordshire Regiment was gravely injured when cycling home from the Depot. Private Simpson came down Brewery Lane and lost control of the machine and, gathering speed, it dashed with terrible force into the wall at the other side of Bedford Street. Dr Garner attended the scene. The Park ambulance conveyed the injured man to Kempston Military Hospital where he succumbed on Friday, 24th May to the injuries.

On Saturday, 25th May a draft left the Command Depot for the Front. They were given a hearty send-off by the Command Depot band.

Canadian Forestry Corps

There is news that the Ampthill Mill has claimed a record for cutting more timber than any other Mill of its size in England.

On May 9th a grand concert was given by the “Whizz Bangs” at the Y.M.C.A. Hut on the Pines, which was well-received. The audience joined in by singing “O Canada” and the evening closed with the National Anthem.

The first baseball match to be held in Ampthill took place on Monday, 20th May. The 125th Canadian Forestry Corps arrived from Woburn to take on the 126th Corps in an exciting game. The Ampthill Canadians claimed the victory by 22 tries to 18.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month the war has claimed the lives of six 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 May 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

£6 (inc p&p). Please email hartleyhare135@gmail.com to order by PayPal or BACS transfer. The book is also available from Ampthill Town Council, The Hub and The Stationery Boutique in Ampthill while stocks last.

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.

Continue reading

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

April 1918 – two wounded, non-commissioned officers who have won gallantry medals are undergoing rehabilitation at the Ampthill Command Depot.

9409 Acting Company Sergeant Major Alfred STRINGER D.C.M. was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal twice in 1915 for his brave actions, and has also won the Russian Cross of St. George.

Alfred (20) joined the Army in January 1909 and was drafted in October 1914. He distinguished himself on May 16, 1915 at Festubert when, in the face of heavy German fire, Alfred Stringer led a small party who rushed a barricade that blocked the road and was hindering the British attack. Two days later when the Bedfords’ again went over the top Stringer, with ten men, reached a German trench in advance of the Battalion and held it against heavy odds until ordered to retire.

On September 30, 1915 Sergeant Stringer won a bar to the D.C.M.  at the Battle of Loos where he led a night bombing raid. The party struggled forwards in the face of fierce resistance and achieved their objective of taking the German trench, and repelled further vigorous counter attacks.

13784 Corporal Ernest W. JONES M.M. was awarded the Military Medal for his brave actions on August 10, 1917 during a British attack on the West Hoek Ridge in the Ypres Sector. Faced with a counter attack the Battalion withdrew and sustained casualties in Glencorse Wood which was being heavily shelled. Corporal Jones advanced into the wood and succeeded in bringing out some of the casualties.

[both of these men survived the war and were discharged from service in 1919].

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Bedfordshire Standard – April 12, 1918

News of the Canadians

The total cut for April amounted to 583,015 F.B.M. This was produced at the Canadian Mill at Ampthill Station and at the Scotch Mill at Clophill. The Canadian Mill lumbered timber from softwood hauled by motor transport from the Flitwick Plantation. The Clophill operation achieved 23 sawing days despite being handicapped by having to log fallen timber and haul it half a mile by horse-drawn wagon across the fields, and being impacted by the Portuguese labour trouble.

A total of 770,219 F.B.M. of sawn timber was consigned from Ampthill Station which is a little lower than in March.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month the war has claimed the lives of five 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 30 April 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

£6 (inc p&p). Please email hartleyhare135@gmail.com to order by PayPal or BACS transfer. The book is also available from Ampthill Town Council, The Hub and The Stationery Boutique in Ampthill while stocks last.

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.

Continue reading

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – The Steppingley boys

Steppingley is a small, quiet village surrounded by farmland which is part of the Duke of Bedford’ Woburn Estate. In 1914 the Duke established the Bedfordshire Training Depot in nearby Ampthill Park. Steppingley boys heeded the call and were among the first enlist.

Six men are named on the brass WWI Memorial Plaque in St.Lawrence’s Church, Steppingley. Four of these trained at the Ampthill Camp. Most of the boys lived in the Duke’s Cottages along Rectory Road.

steppingley-map-a


On November 9, 1914 Thomas Rogers (Rabbit Warrener) and John Battams (Stockman) enlisted together with John’s younger brother, Walter Battams (Farm Labourer). They were given consecutive service numbers.

17710 Private John William Battams
17711 Private Walter Battams
17712 Private Thomas Rogers

Harry Gibbons (Farm Labourer) enlisted the very next day and was assigned 17743.

The four Steppingley boys would have known each other well. They joined the Ampthill Camp when it first opened and would have used the Warren Woods entrenching ground. In June 1915 the soldiers were drafted to the Front.

Arthur Norris (Railway Porter) joined in January 1916 and was assigned the service number 27675. The 1911 Census shows Arthur residing in Lower Stondon where he had gone for work.

The boys served with the Bedfords’. However, little is known of the specifics because 30 years later many of the British Army service records were destroyed in the Blitz.


17710 Private John William Battams
John Battams trained with No.1 Company at the Ampthill Camp. We know that Private John Battams saw action on September 25, 1915 with the 2nd Bedfords’ at the Battle of Loos. This was the first time that the British Artillery used gas. Sadly, on the first day of battle John (22) was killed by a shell during the British attack on Hulluch. In November 1915 the Battams family attended a memorial at St.Lawrence’s Church. The flag flew at half-mast. John is remembered in Steppingley Church and on the Loos Memorial.

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17711 Private Walter Battams
Walter Battams trained with No.1 Company at the Ampthill Camp. Following training was posted to 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment.

Walter was injured at least twice and gassed. On June 14, 1916 Walter sustained an injury  to the tissue of left hand and was admitted to 1st Service Hospital Rouen – discharged to base depot at Harfleur on June 28, 1916. In May 1918 he was gassed and then on August 7th Walter was shot in the neck.

Walter’s conduct record shows that he was a gallant fellow who was brought to notice on a number occasions. On June 7, 1917 Walter was awarded the Military Medal his brave actions during the taking of Messines Ridge, and in August 1918 was awarded a Bar to the Military Medal. To place Walter’s actions in context only seven of 707 men named on the Duke of Bedford War Memorial were decorated with the Military Medal.

Thankfully, Walter survived the Great War and was demobilized in April 1919, returning to Steppingley. In September 1921 he married Kate Oliver. Kate (52) died in 1950 and is buried in St.Lawrence’s graveyard. In 1983 Walter (88) was buried alongside.

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17712 Lance Corporal Thomas Rogers

Thomas Rogers was raised to Lance Corporal on February 9, 1915. Posted on June, 22 1915 with the Bedfords’ 2nd Battalion. In Autumn 1915 Thomas was wounded – an ugly gunshot wound to the neck. On July 11, 1916 Thomas saw action with the Bedfords’ at Trone Wood in the Somme region. The wood become the scene of a violent and costly struggle. The war diary reports ‘unexpectedly encountering a trench complex and machine guns.’

Captain Frank Sloan MC, one of the training staff at the Ampthill Training Depot, was also posted to the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. He was present at the battle for Trones Wood and later wrote to the Duke of Bedford describing aspects of the battle.

‘We had a terrific struggle in the Bois de Trones. I saw no mention of it in the papers. One reads glowing accounts of the 7th Royal West Kents in the wood. Our battalion reached the north end of the wood three days before at a time when there wasn’t a British position or a British soldier in the wood. 1100yds long our battalion attacked the wood alone on the morning of the 10th in four waves and we held it until we were relieved 48 hours after. We suffered heavily, 376 men and 5 officers. We were the first to get to a 9.2 howitzer gun in the north of the wood and the name of the regiment is carved on it, we may get it for the town.”

As published by Woburn Abbey (February 2014)

Sixteen Ampthill recruits who were killed that day – more. Thomas (34) was one of the casualties. He left a wife, Fanny, and three young children, Mabel, Horace and Ruby. After Thomas was killed the family wore black for 6 weeks to mourn his death. Thomas is buried in the Dive Copse Cemetery and remembered in Steppingley Church.

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Photographs used with kind permission of A.T. Rogers (Grandson)


25675 Serjeant Arthur Frederick Owen Norris

In 1914 Arthur Norris was living away in Lower Stondon. On January  26, 1916 Arthur joined the Ampthill Camp and was posted to No.3 Company. On completion of training he was drafted to join the 4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. We know that in April 1917 Arthur sustained gun shot wounds to the left leg and was admitted to hospital in St Omer. Arthur recovered and was returned to active service.

Serjeant Arthur Norris (23) served with in the 4th Bedfords’ at the Second Battle of Ypres and on October 30, 1917 was killed in action. Arthur made Battlefield Will leaving his money in the Post Office Savings Bank and all of his possessions to his mother, Kate Norris, of Flitwick Lodge. Arthur is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, in St.Lawrence’s Church and on the Flitwick War Memorial.

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Flitwick War Memorial


17743 Corporal Harry Gibbons

We know that Private 76192 Harry Gibbons was with the Middlesex Regiment before he joined the Bedfords’. Harry was given a new service number, 17743, and was at the Training Depot for nearly seven months, assigned to No.1 Company. On June 9, 1915 he was posted to the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment in France. Whilst with this Battalion he was admitted to hospital twice. The first time Harry was suffering with bronchitis. On September 3, 1916 he then received a gunshot wound to the back.

On his return from hospital in Bologne Harry  transferred to the 4th Battalion. Harry went into battle at Moeuvres, France, during the Hundred Day Offensive in 1918. On September 27th the Allied Forces advanced towards the Hindenburg support Line – the last major defensive position taken up by the German Army in the war. In capturing their objective Corporal Harry Gibbons (23) was killed. He is buried at Moeuvres Cemeterymore.


Two other Steppingley boys are named on the memorial plate in St.Lawrence’s Church.

G/60786 Private Herbert Brightman

Herbert Brightman lived at No. 57 Duke’s Cottages, Steppingley. His trade was a Hatblocker. Herbert attested on May 11, 1916 and joined the Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment). We know that a H.Brightman trained at the Ampthill Camp but this is a different soldier – 23316 Private Herbert Brightman – who came from Dunstable.

Private Herbert Brightman (29) was killed in action on March 28, 1918. Herbert is buried in  the Mesnil Communal Cemetry, France.

____________________________

242223 Private Hector Stanley Warner

Stanley Warner lived at No.31 Duke’s Cottages, Steppingley.  He was a farm labourer. Hector attested on September 27, 1916 and joined the Sherwood Foresters (Nottingham & Derby) Regiment. We know that Hector served with the 24th Battalion.

Private Hector Warner (20) was killed in action on October, 17 1918 just three weeks before the Armistice. Hector is buried in the Busigny Communal Cemetry, France.

 

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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
Flitwick: A story of Two World Wars (Phillip Thompson, 2014)
Thank you to Angela & Terry Hughes, Tony & Joan Rogers, Ian Church, Steve Fuller and Nicola Evans.

©S.Hartley (2016-)