Tag Archives: Percy Robinson

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 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.

May 1917 – News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Mr and Mrs Putman of Park Street, Ampthill have received news that on April 15 their son Richard was seriously injured by a shell burst. Surgeons amputated the shattered leg but on April 26 Richard succumbed at the No.7 General Hospital in St. Omer, France, and is buried close by. 23505 Private Richard Putman had served at the Front for nigh on a year.

There is also news of 27359 Private Percy Robinson (19) of Woburn Street, Ampthill who did his early training at the Ampthill Camp. Percy sustained serious head injuries whilst in the trenches with the Northamptonshire Regiment – he did not regain consciousness. Percy is remembered at St. Andrew’s Parish Church in Ampthill.

Percy Robinson – remembered at St. Andrew’s Church, Ampthill

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Bedfordshire Standard – May 4, 1917

During May the Ampthill Park recruits have seen more action near Arras. Twenty-five of the boys have fallen or died of wounds.

One lad –19845 Private Edward H. Wiles of Ravensden – was awarded the Military Medal for his brave actions at Gavrelle on April 22/23, and has since died of his wounds.

19845 Wiles 1917

Source: The National Archives

Eight of the twenty-five chaps died on May 3 when the 7th Bedfords’ were part of an attack at Chérisy. Poor light delayed ZERO hour to 4:15am. The barrage commenced badly, being irregular. When the advance started the Battalion soon slightly lost direction the men being extended at about 12 paces could scarcely see each other. Regiments forces to the left also lost direction & crowded to the right, thus confusing the British attack & causing a further loss of direction. Four Tanks were used but these achieved little – two machines broke down and a third turned and came back through the British lines, which added to the confusion. Some Bedfords found themselves stranded in shell holes. In the evening a second attempt was made to attack but this was thwarted by an intense enemy barrage & the wire in front could not be forced. The whole lot fell back to original front line and held that during the night being relieved early in the morning by the Northants taking over. (Source: war diary)

Two boys – 18858 Private Thomas Andrews and 23749 Private Birty Johnson – died at home of their war wounds and are buried in Blighty.

Source:

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

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

Next installment to be published on 30 June 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.

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.

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the memorial plate in Ampthill Methodist Church

There are four WWI memorials in Ampthill:

  • In Ampthill Park the Duke of Bedford Memorial Cross remembers the 2,235 local volunteers who trained in Ampthill Park (1914-16) and the 707 who were killed;
  • At the end of the Alameda the Cenotaph remembers the 65 Ampthill men who were killed;
  • In St.Andrew’s Church Yard a Memorial Cross remembers the parishioners who were killed;
  • Inside Ampthill Methodist Church a large, brass wall plate remembers the men connected with the Church and Sunday School who were killed.

On Monday 4, August 2014 to commemorate the outbreak of WWI I photographed three of the memorials.

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Duke of Bedford Memorial Cross, Ampthill Park

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Cenotaph, The Alameda

 

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Memorial Cross, St.Andrew’s Church

On 24, February 2016 Ampthill Methodist Church kindly allowed me to photograph the fourth memorial – a large brass plate Inside the Nave on the East wall.The Memorial Plate is inlaid with enamel and measures about a yard square. It was unveiled on 5, December 1920.

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Memorial Wall Plate, Ampthill Methodist Church

Six of the men are brothers of the Ansell, Cox and Money families. Christopher and Frank Cox were killed a few days apart in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. John Hele’s book ‘Ampthill’s Fallen‘ tells the fate of all twenty-two men. Five of the men are also remembered on the Duke of Bedford War Memorial in Ampthill Park where they trained (1914-16). The five men are:

  • Arthur Gillett
  • Thomas Money
  • George Money
  • Richard William Putman
  • George Thompson

 

Sources
Ampthill’s Fallen (John Hele, 2014)

Content & photographs copyright Stephen Hartley (2015-)