Tag Archives: Rev May

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, March 1919

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.

March 1919 – this month has been dominated by sale of the Ampthill Camp.

The influenza epidemic is still very bad and there are several cases of pneumonia in the town.

Over 500 ration books have been issued to demobilized soldiers by the Ampthill & Urban District Council.

The Committee of the Ampthill Detachment, 1st Volunteer Battalion (Bedfords’) has sent £11 5s to the St. Dunstan’s Homes for Blinded Soldiers.

There is a proposal to form a Cadet Corps in Ampthill.

Lieutenant Herman L. PORTER (Canadian Forestry Corps), who was in charge of the Y.M.C.A. on The Pines whilst the Canadians were in Ampthill, was in Town for the weekend at the end of March

It has not yet been ascertained to whom the living of Ampthill will be given when it is vacated by the Rev Walter D. May, but the popular opinion is in favour of the Rev.  C.R. Dickinson who has done such good service as Chaplain at the Ampthill Command Depot.

The Ampthill Camp

By coincidence three beds in a hut at the Ampthill Camp were recently occupied by soldiers bearing the names of Grief, Right and Pain.

During the week of 18th March Messrs Swaffield and Son of Ampthill handled the sale of all the camp buildings, equipment and furniture.

The Luton News & Bedfordshire Advertiser March 18th, 1919

The Luton News & Bedfordshire Advertiser      March 13, 1919

The sale lasted 5 days. High prices ruled and there was some spirited bidding. The 2,300 lots included the 35 huts of the camp, the large Olympia Hall, the Recreation Hut, officers’ and other huts, the massage hut, Remedial Treatment Hut, together with the whole of the furniture of the Officers Mess, etc.

Much interest was taken in the sale of the huts which all fetched high prices, between £200 and £400. The huge Olympia Hall was knocked down to Mr Revett, of Olney, for £975, and the Recreation Hut £450. The furniture also fetched good prices, with the exception of the beds, which only fetched a few shillings a piece. No purchases were made by either the County Council or the Luton Corporation, as had been anticipated.

By the month end good progress has been made with dismantling the huts at the Camp, which now looks quite dilapidated.


The Bedfordshire Standard has followed the Ampthill Camp from its establishment back in the October of 1914. The March 21st edition tells the resplendent story of the Camp’s rise and closure.

1919.3.21 BS camp summary

Bedfordshire Standard – March 21, 1919

 

War Memorial

Opinion is very strong in Ampthill that the greater portion of the amount required for the war memorial should be obtained from the tradespeople, who it is alleged, with the local rise in population have made ample profits during the war.

News of Ampthill Boys

A large number of Ampthill men have been demobilized lately, including:

Sergeant E.H. CHITTLEBURGH (Norfolks’)  recently instructor to the Ampthill Volunteers.
Airman William DELLER (R.A.F.) of Dunstable Street.
Sapper William PHILLIPS (6th Royal Engineers) of Park Hill.
Private James WARD (2nd Bedfords’) of Flitwick Road.
Airman Horace WHITE (R.A.F.) of Dunstable Street.

Sergeant Reginald COLES, son of Ampthill’s esteemed postmaster, Mr William Coles, son Signaller Section Royal Engineers attached to 40th Indian Brigade, has been awarded the D.C.M. for services in Palestine. Sergeant Coles was previously mentioned in despatches in connection with the second battle of Gaza. He has been serving since the outbreak of war, and went to the Dardanelles with the 1st/5th Bedfords’. Reginald was subsequently invalided in Egypt with dysentery, and transferred to the R.E. Signals. He has taken part through out the operations in Egypt and Palestine, and was educated at the Bedford Modern School.

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard; Bedfordshire Times. 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

British Newspaper Archive

Bedsatwar blog

Bedsathome blog

Red Cross

Ampthill’s Fallen – by John Hele (2014)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

This is he final installment of The Camp Diary.

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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

WWI – Ampthill – the Camp Diary, September 1914

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.

September – a list of  His Majesty’s Forces in which members of the St. Andrew’s congregation and other from Ampthill are serving, has been placed in the Church Porch.

As at September 5th the Ampthill & District News believe the following to be the names:

Regulars                                           Yeomanry                                   Terriorials
Arthur ANSELL                                Edward LETTS                            Walter ANSELL
Charles BUNKER                              Bruce TUFFNELL                        Harry ATHEWS
Frank COX                                                                                                 Tom BURRIDGE
Christopher COX                                                                                      Ernest BURGE
Edward DAVIS                                                                                          Reginald COLES
Frederick DILLINGHAM                                                                         Herbert COLE
Ernest HARLOW                                                                                       Arthur GARDNER
LAMBERT                                                                                                   Harry KING
McCARTY                                                                                                    John LOWE
MARTIN                                                                                                      Jack ROBINSON
Charles PALMER                                                                                       James RANDALL
Arthur PRESSLAND                                                                                  George SHARP
Percy STANBRIDGE                                                                                  Reginald SHOTBOLT
Sidney THOROUGOOD                                                                             Jack SUGARS
Robert SHUTLER
Alfred WALDREN
Ernest WALTON
Horace WHITE
Cecil WHITEMAN
Ernest WOODLAND

 

Should anyone wish to add to the list will they please write the name of the Battleship or Regiment, together with the name of the sailor or soldier on a slip of paper and place it the box in the porch, marked “For Intercessions.” (Ampthill Parish News)

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard; Ampthill & District News. The original broadsheets are 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
Home Rule for Ampthill – Andrew Underwood (1974)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

 

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

As part of Ampthill Armistice100 join us on 12th or 13th October for the WWI Living History Encampment in Ampthill Great Park.

 

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Click here to download a copy of the Ampthill Armistice100 programme.

Please email Stephen Hartley if you would like to know more about Ampthill Armistice100 or volunteer.
Continue reading

WWI – Ampthill – the Camp Diary, August 1914

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.

Saturday, 25th July 1914  – the 5th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment arrived in Ashridge Park for 15 days training. On the morning of Thursday, 30th July a hundred men from the Brigade received orders to leave the camp at short notice, their destination being unknown. Twenty-five men from the Battalion under Lieutenant Forrest, of Ampthill, were included in the number.

War arrives
At 6.16 p.m. on the evening of Tuesday, 4th August the Chief Constable of Bedford, Major Stevens,  received a telegram from the Under Secretary at the Home Office ordering instant mobilization of the Special Reserve and Territorials.

“His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to direct by proclamation that the Army Reserve be called up on permanent service. All Regular Reservists are required to report themselves at one at their place of joining in accordance with the instructions on their identity certificates for the purpose of joining the Army.”

“All Special Reservists are required to report themselves on such date and at such place as them may be directed to attend  for the purpose of joining the Army. If they have not received any such directions or if they have changed their address since last attendance at drill or training, they will report themselves at once by letter to the Adjutant of their Unit or depot. The necessary instructions as to their joining will then be given.”

“His Majesty the King, having been graciously pleased to order by proclamation that directions be given by the Army Council for embodying the Territorial Force all men belonging to the said Force are required to report themselves immediately at their Headquarters.”

The military authorities at the Kempston Barracks and the Territorial Headquarters, who had been expecting the order all day, were immediately hard at work sending out notices to the men, and within a few hours a large proportion of Bedford’s able-bodied population were ready to take their place in the line of defence.

A large gang of men was busily engaged with constructing a huge platform in the Ballast Pits Siding near the Kempston-road junction of the Midland Railway, for the entrainment of soldiers and guns in readiness for five special trains to leave on the Saturday morning.

In Ampthill
On the morning of Wednesday, 5th August Bugler Harry King (5th Bedfords’) was ordered to sound the fall-in (click to listen) at the Drill Hall on Dunstable Street. About fifty Territorials of the Ampthill Company reported and then left for Headquarters at Bedford, in charge of Colour Sergeant Bunker. The Ampthill Town Band accompanied them to the station, and a large crowd gave them a hearty send-off, and all of the men went off in good spirits. Whilst the men were entraining the Band played “Auld Lang Syne.”

On arrival at Bedford the Ampthill Company, with those from Luton, Dunstable and Biggleswade, were accommodated at the Roise-street Schoolroom and the Goldington Council School where most of the furniture was turned out into the school yard to make space. By the evening the whole of the men, to the number of about 950, were in town.

200 hundred horses were entrained at Ampthill next morning.

In Ampthill four Boy Scouts were requested to report themselves to the Police Superintendent at 10 a.m. on Friday for messenger service. Four more at 2 p.m., and four more at 6 p.m. Those with bicycles to take them.

Writing in the Ampthill Parish News, the Rev Walter D. May said:

1914.09 APN (2)a

Ampthill Parish News (September 1914)


Horses
In the days to follow the roads and lanes of Bedfordshire echoed with the clop-clop of big country horses as they proceeded in strings to the seat of war. By mid-August the county was literally ransacked for equine. It was particularly hard on the baker or grocer, whose horse and trap is the sole means of conveyance to a wide circle of villages. In the extreme north of Bedfordshire, farmers, travelling drapers, and others to whom horses are very necessary were in considerable trepidation. One farmer took matters philosophically, and offered to sacrifice his old cockerel ‘if it was any use to the Government.’

1914.08.15 ADN (2)

Ampthill & District News (August 15, 1914)


British Red Cross Society
The Lady Margaret Ampthill has published a list of generous offers of support which the Bedfordshire Branch of the British Red Cross Society had . The offers include buildings promised as temporary hospitals, accommodation and convalescent homes

1914.08.21 BS

Bedfordshire Standard – August 21, 1914

 

Read September 1914

Source: 

The Bedfordshire Standard; Ampthill & District News. The original broadsheets are 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
Home Rule for Ampthill – Andrew Underwood (1974)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

 

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

As part of Ampthill Armistice100 join us on 12th or 13th October for the WWI Living History Encampment in Ampthill Great Park.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click here to download a copy of the Ampthill Armistice100 programme.

Please email Stephen Hartley if you would like to know more about Ampthill Armistice100 or volunteer.
Continue reading

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.

Source:
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-)