Tag Archives: Lieutenant

2nd Lieutenant Alfred K. Setchell

Alfred Knight SETCHELL was born on February 12, 1898 in Bedford. The only son of Mr & Mrs Arthur Setchell, Alfred attended Bedford Modern School where he served in the Officer Training Corps (O.T.C.).

On June 3, 1916, aged 18 years and 4 months, Alfred attested at Ampthill as 29967 Private Setchell and was posted to the Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Great Park. On July 25 he was appointed Lance Corporal and on October 28 posted to the Ampthill Command Depot, shortly after it opened.


On May 5, 1917 Alfred was posted to undertake training at No.3 Officer Cadet Battalion in Bristol and then discharged (August 28) on being appointed to a command with the 9th Norfolks’ as a 2nd Lieutenant (temporary).

On March 21, 1918 2nd Lieutenant Setchell was wounded in action and recorded as ‘missing.’

Mr Arthur Setchell (father) was Secretary of the Discharged Prisoner’s Aid Society in Bedford. Mr Setchell refused to accept, without evidence, that ‘missing’ meant that his son was dead, and so he exchanged letters with the War Office up to and after the armistice. Mr Setchell’s persistence glimpsed the fate of his son – a witness account and sketch by a Captain William Arnott (R.A.M.C.) who recalled 2nd Lieutenant Setchell at the 18th Field Ambulance Advanced Dressing Station in the Cambrai region; Alfred was had a serious chest wound. Later that day German troops over ran the dugout and Captain Arnott handed the wounded officer into the care of a Prussian Guards Division’ Doctor, who took charge. Contact was lost with 2nd Lieutenant Setchell and two other British wounded who were left in the dugout.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The War Office made efforts to locate 2nd Lieutenant Setchell, but his fate and resting place are unknown.

A December 23, 1919 War Office minute records that “No further information has been received [about 2nd Lieutenant A.K. Setchell], and in view of the lapse of time since he was reported as Missing, his death has been accepted for official purposes as having occurred on or since 21st March, 1918.

2nd Lieutenant Alfred K. SETCHELL is remembered at Arras, on the Duke of Bedford War Memorial in Ampthill Great Park and is named on the memorial stones at Bedford Modern School and Bedford St. Peters Church. 


Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
The National Archives


Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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

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.


September 8, 1916


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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.


September 22, 1916


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.


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


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.


WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – 2nd Lieutenant Collisson

Evelyn E. A. Collisson (1893-1916) was born in the village of Haynes in Bedfordshire. In 1896 the family moved to The Rectory in Gravenhurst. His father, Cambridge University scholar the Rev. Thomas Collisson, was Rector of St. Mary’s Church, Lower Gravenhurst and Vicar of St. Giles’ Church, Upper Gravenhurst.


The Collisson Family (1905)

After being educated at the Boxgrove School, Guildford and at Aldenham School Evelyn chose to enter business life over University. He joined the firm of Gibbs & Sons and was sent to Valparais in Chile. Evelyn had been a Sergeant in the Army Officer Training Corps. On the outbreak of war he volunteered for service and made his way by mule back across the Andes to Buenos Aires. From there Evelyn travelled home aboard the Nelson Line’ Highland Rover. The steamer docked on December 28th, 1914 at the Port of London.

On February 13, 1915 Evelyn joined the Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park as a 2nd Lieutenant where he trained with the recruits.


In November 1915 2nd Lieutenant Collisson was posted to join the 2nd Bedfords’ at the Front. He was to receive a Headquarters Staff appointment.

Evelyn served with ‘A’ Company in the Somme region near Maricourt. Wednesday, February 23rd 1916 was a cold, snowy day. At 12:15pm he was killed in action by a single sniper round to the head, and died instantly. Evelyn (22) was buried in the Maricourt in France, the officiating priest being the Rev. G.R. Vallings, Chaplain of the 1/7th Gordon Highlanders. His resting place was marked with an iron cross with a Bedfords’ badge attached to it. Here is the list of personal effects:

E.Collisson telegram



Peronal Effects

On the afternoon of Friday, March 10th the Rev. C. Dickenson, Chaplain to the Duke of Bedford’s Ampthill Camp, led a memorial service at St. Giles’ Church. The mourners included the Rev. T. and Mrs. Collisson, family, friends and parishioners. The Duke of Bedford, twenty of the officers including Majors Nelson, Stevens and Young, Dr Garner, ten non-commissioned officers, and men from the Ampthill Camp attended to pay their respects. The Union Jack flew at half-mast from the Church tower, and a muffled peal on the bells was rung at the close of the service.


March 17, 1916

The impact and strain on the Rev. and Mrs. Collisson are unimaginable. How to support parishioners in difficult times when their son had been killed by the very same? In July 1916 the Collisson family moved to the village of Swyre, much of which was owned by the Duke of Bedford – more.

Lieutenant Collisson was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

On August 10, 1917 Evelyn’s fellow officers and friends gathered to unveil and dedicate a memorial window and a brass plate at St. Mary’s Church, Lower Gravenhurst. The window which is a fine piece of art representing “War and Peace” is the work of Messrs. Hall and Sons of St.Pancras in London. Evelyn is also remembered in Upper Gravenhurst on the War Memorial in St. Giles’ Churchyard. Evelyn’s grave was consolidated to the Cerisy-Gailly Military cemetery.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Rev. Thomas Collisson (1852-1921) died in the Dorset village of Swyre, where he is buried. Evelyn’s mother Florence (1856-1942) and his sister each returned to Bedfordshire. Winifred (1900-1993) is buried in St. Mary’s graveyard.


St. Mary’s Church, Lower Gravenhurst
The Bedfordshire Standard
Bedfordshire & Luton Archive Service
National Archive
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
bedfordshire regiment

© S.Hartley (2015-)






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

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

August 1915 – The struggle has now been going on for very nearly a year. Buildings continue to be put up in the Park and recruits flood in, which says volumes for the Camp.

Leave has been granted for a number of soldiers to help gather the harvest in their district. On Saturday, August 14th the men did a route march through Greenfield out to Wrest Park and then back through Maulden. The weather was very warm; villagers threw apples and plums which were eagerly caught. Bayonet exercises are throughly taught and some non-commissioned officers are getting good instruction in bomb throwing.

In late August the fourth draft left for the Front. At 6 o’clock one morning the whole company lined up from the Hill to the entrance of the Park and heartily cheered the draft as they marched past, led by the Regimental Band. Later that day Lieutenant F.A. Sloan and Second-Lieutenants A. Lang, J.B. Healing, K.L. Mallett, R.E. Oakley and H.A. Deacon left for Southampton to join the Expeditionary Force in France. The fifth, sixth and seventh drafts have been picked out.

The Camp has enjoyed a splendid record of freedom from crime but sadly this has been broken. One of the privates has been found guilty of stealing some money. On Saturday, August 21st he was sentenced to 56 days’ hard labour.


August 20, 1915


August 27, 1915

In the Ampthill Parish Magazine the Reverend Walter D. May writes ~

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

As far as I can determine:

Lieutenant Frank Alan Sloan – trained recruits in Ampthill Park and then served with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion in France. Lieutenant Sloan received regular mention in the Battalion war diary. Military Cross. He was wounded in July 1916 and again in March 1918, recovering on both occasions. Promoted to Captain and survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1914-15 Star and the Victory Medal. Retired from the British Army as Major Sloan and died in 1951.

Second-Lieutenant Arthur Lang – early discharge due to varicose veins, and survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1915 Star and the Victory Medal.

Second-Lieutenant John Burton Healing of Dunstable – formerly with the Canadian Cavalry Corps. Promoted to Lieutenant. Survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1915 Star and the Victory Medal.

Second-Lieutenant Kenneth L. Mallett – trained recruits in Ampthill Park and then served with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion. Survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1914-15 Star and the Victory Medal.

Second-Lieutenant Robert Edwin Oakley of Luton – trained recruits in Ampthill Park and then served with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion in France. Lieutenant Oakley received regular mention in the Battalion war diary. Awarded the Military Cross. In July 1917 he was wounded at Ypres. Promoted to Captain and survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1914-15 Star and the Victory Medal.

Lieutenant Harold Augustus Deacon of Kempston Croft- served with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion. In February 1916 he transferred to the 21st Brigade of the Machine Gin Corps. Survived the war; he received the British War Medal, 1915 Star and the Victory Medal.

The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Banner of Faith

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