Tag Archives: George Peters

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, April 1917

The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16) and No.9 Command Depot (1916-1919) that followed. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

April 1917 – News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Mr and Mrs William have received tragic confirmation that one of their sons has been killed. In the Somme region on August 9, last 26703 Private Thomas J. Money was reported as missing in action.

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Bedfordshire Standard – April 20, 1917

After a quiet Spring the Bedfords’ have seen action in the allied offensive at Arras in France. Eighty-four Ampthill Recruits have been killed – 35 of the boys fell in the April 23rd attack at La Coulotte. One of these chaps – 26708 Private William J. SMITH of Dunstable – was awarded the Military Medal for his galant actions.

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Source: The National Archives at Kew

Lieutenant Geoffrey de Cateret Millais survived the action and has been recommended to receive the Military Cross for “cool courage at LA COULOTTE on the 23rd inst. Though lying out in a shell hole all day a short distance from German wire when he was continually fired at with M.G. and Minnenwerfen which became intense and his retiring a problem, he despatched [?] later despite the fact that he knew this would draw attention to his position. One of the men with him was wounded. He also sent back two messages by power buzzer and was unable to withdraw until night” – war diary.

On April 29 ten Ampthill recruits were killed in action with the 4th Bedfords’ at the Battle of Oppywood. The Battalion attacked at dawn & captured its objective, was counter attacked and driven out and recaptured trench and consolidated it about 11.0 A.M. The trench was shelled heavily by German artillery all day – war diary.

Fifty-nine of these 83 Ampthill recruits have no known grave.

Source:

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

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

Next installment to be published on 31 May 2017….

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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


BUY: Stencilling Tommy’s Footprints

This 48 page book tells the story of how Tommy’s Footprints came about and notes the many people who have contributed and connected. There are just 150 individually numbered books. A unique gift.

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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.

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, December 1915

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

December  1915 – The number of recruits received at the Ampthill Camp practically doubled during the month which placed a burgeoning pressure on the sleeping quarters. Some additional buildings have been completed and others are in the course of erection to provide for all comers. In the Ampthill Parish Magazine the Reverend Walter May writes ~


The rush is probably a response to Lord Derby’s recruiting scheme – December 15th was the final date for registration.

On Thursday, December 2nd some of the recruits have also taken part of a night attack. Weekend leave for recruiting was granted. The men using the railways marched in large companies to Ampthill Midland Station and Millbrook – such a splendid sight. On Friday, 21st there was a route march for Companies 1, 2 and 3 as far as Wootton.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Letters have been received recruits who have been posted to the Front. These are posted in the Camp “Rec” Hut.

19067 Private Arthur W. Bacchus – has written home about the Ampthill Park boys of the 2nd Battalion who saw action at the Battle of Loos. He states that he, with many other Ampthill Camp lads of the 2nd Battalion, was in in the battle, and although terrible losses were sustained they all did their bit, and not a single one flinched from their duty to King and country. Private Bacchus was hit by a bullet in the left arm, and is suffering from a compound fracture.

18641 Lance Corporal George E. Peters – left the camp last July for France and writes “The draft remained at the base a week, attached to the 4th Entrenching Battalion, At first we had four hours a day trench digging, and afterwards eight hours daily tree felling, wiring, etc., with a few fatigues thrown in. We were billeted in a wood, twelve of us in a bell tent. The circumstances were often full of difficulties but the boys all worked with a will, and remembered the Duke’s parting words, ‘Don’t Grumble.'” The writer goes on to state that they have been in the trenches a number of times. Speaking of the future he says “We all recognise that we have a very enemy to contend with, but that doesn’t disconcert us in the least. We are all prepared for a smack at Fritz, and he will have to be up early in the morning to catch the Ampthill boys. Thanks to the splendid training at the camp, we can hold our own with any draft we have seen, and we have been complimented on our smartness.”

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December 10, 1915

 

December 24, 1915


What became of the men who are named in the Bedfordshire Standard?

18641 Sergeant George E. Peters of Baldock – trained in Ampthill Park and in July 1915 was draft to the Front to serve with the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. Peters was promoted to Sergeant. On April 23, 1917 he was recorded missing in action, presumed dead. Sergeant Peters was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial.

19067 Corporal Arthur W. Bacchus of Luton – trained in Ampthill and was drafted in June 1915 to fight with the 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. Promoted to Corporal, Arthur Bacchus survived the war and in March 1991 was discharged to the Class Z Army Reserve. Arthur was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Source:
The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Bedsatwar blog
Banner of Faith

Next installment to be published on 15 May 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)