Tag Archives: Major Nelson

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.

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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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31524 Private Ernest Rogers of Langford 

The Ampthill Camp Memorial names 707 men who trained at the Ampthill Camp and were killed in WWI. Examining the Roll of Honour for Langford I found an Ampthill recruit who isn’t named on the bronze plaques of the Ampthill Camp Memorial – Private Ernest Rogers of 12, Station Rd in Langford. Ernest’s Service Record is one of those that survived WWII German bombing in 1940 and confirms the link.

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(all images © Crown Copyright)

Ernest Rogers was a 19 year old farm labourer from Langford. On November 17, 1915 Ernest Rogers went to the Bedfordshire Training Depot and attested before Major Nelson (Adjutant). Dr Garner did the medical examination. Private 23344 Rogers trained at the Ampthill Camp until he was transferred on April 12, 1916 to the Machine Gun Corps, 8th Battalion and his Military Service Number changed to 31524.

On September 25 Ernest was posted to France where he joined the Machine Gun Corps, 89 Company.

On March 20, 1917 Private Rogers was wounded in action – a gunshot wound to the neck/shoulder. Ernest was brought back to the UK and spent some time being rehabilitated at the Alnwick Command Depot. In October 1917 he returned to the Front as a Machine Gunner where he served with the 5th Battalion. On April 23, 1918 Ernest was injured again – a shrapnel wound to the knee and a and leg fracture. Private Ernest Rogers died one week later at the 39th Stationary Hospital. He is buried in the Aire Communal Cemetery and remembered on the Memorial Clock Tower in Langford

Research has found five more Ampthill Park recruits who fell during the Great War and are not named on the Ampthill Camp Memorial. There may well be more. This no great surprise because men were transferred from the Bedfords’ to reinforce other regiments. News of those casualties may not have filtered back to the Ampthill Camp.

Source:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.co.uk
The National Archives

#IWMSTORIES

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, 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 – Illustrated War News photos from 1915

On 21, July 1915 The Illustrated War News included 3 pages of photographs of the Bedfordshire Training Depot. The photographs provide a glimpse of what the Depot was like.

 

Officers on Duty at the Bedfordshire Training Depot

Officers on Duty at the Bedfordshire Training Depot

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Non-Commissioned Officers at the Bedfordshire Training Depot

A squad at drill in baynot-fighting

A squad at drill in baynot-fighting

A camp recreation hut for the rank and file

A camp recreation hut for the rank and file

The Master Cook engaged in ornamental gardening

The Master Cook engaged in ornamental gardening

Battalion cooks prepare a meal at field-kitchens of the type that were used at the front

Battalion cooks prepare a meal at field-kitchens of the type that were used at the front

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From an original newspaper.