Tag Archives: Somme

Private Walter L.J. Sawyer

Walter Leslie James Sawyer came from the Bedfordshire village of Little Barford. One of four children, Walter was a farm labourer.

Walter enlisted in St.Neots and arrived at Ampthill Training Camp on the May 21, 1915. He was assigned 20643 Private W.L.J. Sawyer and posted to No.1 Company at the training camp. On August, 25 Walter transferred to No.2 Company. In the October Walter and Ada J. Norman married in St.Neots.

Private Sawyer was drafted to join the 6th Bedfordshire Regiment. On July 15, 1916 Walter (23) was killed in action at The Somme, possibly at the Battle of Bazentin Ridge. The Bedfordshire Regiment War Diary for that day states:

15 Jul 1916 – Attack on POZIERES by 112th Bde. from trenches S. of CONTALMAISON, Bde. held up by hostile machine guns, established itself about 100 yds from the lisiere [comment; 200 yards south of the Pozieres village boundary] & dug in. Casualties (3 Offs Killed, 32 O.R. Killed) (25 missing) (9 Offrs. Wounded, 174 O.R. Wounded). 

Records show that the battalion sustained 330 casualties that day, once the final reckoning was concluded. Source: Bedfordshire  Regiment War Diary

Walter had been married for barely nine months and much of this would have been spent abroad.

Walter was awarded three campaign medals: the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

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WWI Campaign Medals (typical)

20643 Private W.L.J. Sawyer is buried at the Pozieres British Cemetery in the Somme Region of France. Walter is also remembered at St. Deny’s Church, Little Barford. The Parish Roll shows that twenty-nine men served in the Great War; seven did not return.

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Walter’s family received a memorial bronze plate. In November 2016 I happened on the memorial plate which came with its original cardboard box and letter from the King.

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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
Ian Church

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

©S.Hartley (2016-)


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 Christmas 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.

 

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, December 1916

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.

December 1916 – it is barely two months since the Command Depot was established. In that short space of time occupancy has rapidly risen to about 1,000 convalescent soldiers. More buildings are being put up.

A number of men at the Depot have been awards medals for their bravery and gallant actions at the Front:

  • Sergeant O.G. Avis of the 1/4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment – the Distinguished Conduct Medal for taking up a platoon as support under heavy fire at Loos in February 1916
  • 7942 Lance-Corporal Harry Steele of the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment – the Military Medal for gallant actions as a stretcher-bearer during a fight for a crater at Rocklincourt in June.
  • 24954 Private Abraham M. Brunning of the 7th Battalion Suffolk Regiment – the Military Medal for working 36 hours under heavy fire at The Somme as a stretcher-bearer bringing in the wounded.
abraham-brunning-abt-1914

Pte Abraham Brunning (c1914) – used with kind permission

These three men were subsequently joined the ‘Class P Reserve‘ because their services were deemed to be ‘temporarily of more value to the country in civil life rather than in the Army.’ The three men survived the Great War.

The Ampthill Volunteer Training Corps has increased to nearly 70. Their headquarters in town are not large enough for drill, and so the largest Camp hut, known as “Olympia,” has been placed at Corps’ disposal for training on certain nights.

As we approach Christmas a Memorial Service has been held at St. Andrew’s Church where prayers were offered for those fighting for King and Country, and on behalf of those mourning the loss of loved relatives.

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December 22, 1916

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December 22, 1916

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December 15, 1916

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front 

Mrs C.Smith (of Preston, Hitchin) has received a Christmas postcard from her son Leonard [18677 Private L.C. Smith] who left the Camp in October 1915 to serve with the Bedfords’ at the Front.

News has been received about Arthur Day (of Lilley) who trained at the Ampthill Camp and has been at the Front since July. On November 2nd Private Day was wounded in the back. He has been cleared back to Newcastle-on-Tyne War Hospital and is recuperating.

There is also news about 23246 Private Henry Diggins (of Maulden). Sadly, Private Diggins was killed by a shell. The family await official confirmation.

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December 1, 1916

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December 15, 1916

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December 22, 1916

  • Casualties 

20585 Sergeant Charles CHANDLER (30) of Hertford Killed in Action on December, 1
18529 Private Edmund ALLEN of Alconbury Weston Died of Wounds on December, 12
G60150 Private John WILMOT of Welwyn Died of Wounds on December, 19
18860 Private Henry E. CLARKE (33) of Kensworth Died at Home on December, 20

 

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 January 2017….
Text 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 Christmas 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 – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, November 1916

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.

November 1916 – the number of convalescent soldiers at the Camp has grown steadily. On Tuesday, 14th about 200 men arrived from the Shoreham-by-Sea Rest Camp. The Command Depot Band escorted the contingent through Ampthill. These men are at No.9 Command Depot to facilitate their recovery from injury and wounds. They will follow a programme of rehabilitation and retraining. Those men who regain physical fitness will be drafted back to resume service at the Front.

1917-11-24-bs

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front 

Sadly, Mr and Mrs F. Smith of Milton Bryan have received confirmation that their son Frederick has been killed. 17777 Lance Corporal F.W. Smith has been missing in action since October 12th.

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Bedfordshire Times – November 10, 1916

Actions in the The Somme region have been taking place since 1 July 1916 when the Allied Offensive opened – more. On November 18th the Allied scout parties discovered that German troops had withdrawn from their frontline positions. An expected quiet occupies the sector after weeks of attrition.

The Battles of The Somme have gravely affected the Ampthill Camp – we know that in the 141 day offensive 228 recruits have been killed in action or died of their wounds – more. This is one tenth of the 2,235 local volunteers who passed out of the Ampthill Camp upon completion of infantry soldier training.

This month 54 Ampthill recruits have been killed in action or died of wounds. Of these 37 men died on November 13th in an Allied operation with the Bedfords’ 4th Battalion by the North Bank of the River Ancre.

War diary – Bedfordshire Regiment, 4th Battalion

The Battalion advanced with the remainder of the Brigade at 6.45 am and sustained heavy casualties among Officers and NCOs in and near the enemy front line from a strongpoint established between enemy front line and second line which had been passed over by the leading Brigades. Battalion advanced to enemy second line and from there parties pushed forward to Station Road and beyond. In the evening all available men were withdrawn and refitted.” 

Source: http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/4thbn/4thbtn1916diary.html

  • Casualties on November 13 – all Bedfords’ 4th Battalion Killed in Action

19596 Private Herbert T. BROOKER (21) of Wrestlingworth
23712 Private James W. BROWN (27) of Northill
28738 Private Elijah BROWN of St. Neots
20433 Private Charles T. CLACK (29) of Warboys
23066 Private Percy T. CLARK (20) of Flamstead
23393 Private Ernest CLARK of Hitchin
19399 Private George W.COOTE of Royston
23246 Private Henry T. DIGGINS (19) of Maulden
23812 Private John DYSON of Luton
23123 Private William H. FOOTE (24) of Bedford
23272 Private Albert GEORGE of Kempston
23782 Private William GREEN of Bassingbourne
23372 Acting Sergeant Charles GUDGIN (19) of Clophill
25127 Private Frederick G. HARRIS (19) of Campton
23465 Private Albert HARVEY (28) of Wormley
23614 Private George A. HAYNES (20) of Wootton
23268 Lance Corporal Arthur HILL (20) of Barton
23301 Private Herbert HOLLIMAN (38) of Chipperfield
22967 Lance Corporal Sidney B. IZZARD (22) of Maulden
23310 Private Fred KILBY (27) of Luton
23617 Private John W. KINGSTON of Kempston
23295 Private William G. KITSON (29) of Berkhamsted
23752 Private Arthur E. KNIGHT of Souldrop
23111 Private William H. MARSTON (28) of Old Warden
23730 Private Percy S. MARTIN (21) of Luton
23518 Private Reginald MOSS (21) of Stevenage
23581 Private Melburne MUSKETT of Olney
22863 Private William F. NEWBURY (30) of Woburn
22856 Private John S. OAKLEY of St Albans
23625 Private Harry ROWLETT (25) of Biggleswade
23595 Private George SAVAGE (19) of Cranfield
22976 Private Arthur J. SEARS of Irchester
23621 Private Walter J. WATSON of Watford
23189 Private Herbert C. WEBB (23) of Beadlow
23458 Private Walter J. WELCH (31) of Kimpton
22168 Private William WILKIN of Leagrave
23543 Private Ernest WRIGHT (20) of Hitchin

  • Other casualties in November

19523 Private Sidney WOODS of Bulbourne Died of Wounds on November, 3
22903 Private Philip W. EVANS (25) of Cranfield Died of Wounds on November, 7
22887 Private William J. ANDERSON of Weston Killed in Action on November, 12
23496 Private John RADFORD (19) of Luton Died of Wounds on November, 14
20006 Private Stanley ANGELL (23) of Breachwood Green Killed in Action on November, 16
18688 Private Albert S. HOLLOWAY (31) of Chenies Bottome Died of Wounds on November, 16
19708 Private Ralph MABBOTT (27) of Shefford Killed in Action on November, 16
27607 Private Arthur C. BOWLER (20) of Mansfield Died of Wounds on November, 17
23309 Private William COLEMAN (36) of Woburn Died of Wounds on November, 17
31529 Private William W. SHAMBROOK (20) of King’s Walden Killed in Action on November, 19
23500 Private Joseph WARD (24) of Luton Died of Wounds on November, 21
18556 Private Amos J. JEEVES (23) of Dunton Died of Wounds on November, 23
23305 Private William R. LEWIS (31) of Weston Died of Wounds on November, 23
23489 Private Sidney G. VASS (19) of Luton Died of Wounds on November, 24
31494 Private Harold W. CHESSUM (20) of Wrestlingworth Killed in Action on November, 25
20351 Private Charles W. WARD (20) of Stevenage Died of Wounds on November, 25
23055 Private William GATES (29) of Stevenage Died of Wounds at Home on November, 26

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 December 2016….
Text 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 Christmas 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.

The Battles of The Somme

The Battles of The Somme started on Saturday, 1 July 1916 and lasted 141 days. On Saturday, 18 November this chapter of brutal attrition closed. The Allied patrols discovered that German troops had withdrawn from their frontline positions.

The Battles of The Somme produced horrendous casualties on both sides. For the Ampthill Camp we know that 228 men were killed in action or died of their wounds, and more were wounded. One third of the 707 Ampthill Camp fallen died because of The Somme.

ampthill-camp-somme-deaths-a

Please put the casualty figures to one side for a moment – they create a sterile gloss. The boys and men at The Somme were real people with hopes and dreams, and loved ones, family and friends. Back home the ripples of the loss would have been large and deep. Beyond our belief.

Here are the names of the two hundred and twenty-eight Ampthill Camp boys who died because of The Somme.

22674 Private Horace AMBRIDGE (27) of Barton
22170 Private Ernest Edward AMBROSE (19) of Wallington
22887 Private William John ANDERSON of Weston
20006 Private Stanley ANGELL (23) of Breachwood Green
22673 Private Albert ASHBY of Barton
20789 Lance Corporal Edward Walter ATKINS of St Albans
17774 Private John ATKINSON (43) of Barford
22269 Private Daniel AUSTIN of Harrowden
20779 Private Horace BATCHELOR (27) of Flamsted
18577 Private William BAVISTER (23) of Luton
18598 Private Joe BELSHAM (25) of Sapley
17760 Private George BIGNELL (36) of North Church
18294 Corporal Walter James BIRD (37) of Baldock
18012 Private Arthur William BLAND (21) of St Albans
20527 Private Ernest BODSWORTH (25) of Woburn
18484 Private George Henry BONESS (39) of Biggleswade
20619 Private Archibald BONESS of Biggleswade
27607 Private Arthur Charles BOWLER (20) of Mansfield
18182 Private Rufus Ernest BOWYER (18) of New Harrowden
20896 Private Albert Edward BRIDGES of Hitchin
19596 Private Herbert Thomas BROOKER (21) of Wrestlingworth
20097 Lance Corporal Henry George BROWN (29) of Stevenage
19050 Lance Corporal Frederick William BROWN (21) of Langford
23712 Private James William BROWN (27) of Northill
28738 Private Elijah BROWN of St. Neots
23247 Private William Charles BUCKINGHAM of Toddington
22051 Private Charles BUSHBY (29) of Harlington
19447 Private Frederick CAIN (26) of Hitchin
22917 Private William CAMFIELD (22) of Walsworth
22810 Lance Corporal Charles William CANHAM (21) of Kettering
18200 Private Thomas Burgess CARR (38) of Toddington
18957 Private Albert Lewis CATLIN (32) of Stevenage
22594 Private Frederick CHANCE of Toddington
22385 Private Frederick CHASE of Hockliffe
20403 Private William CHATER (22) of Olney
19451 Private Thomas CHESSUM (29) of Girtford
20433 Private Charles Thomas CLACK (29) of Warboys
20704 Private Ernest CLARIDGE (26) of Hemel Hempstead
23066 Private Percy Thomas CLARK (20) of Flamstead
23393 Private Ernest CLARK of Hitchin
18205 Acting Corporal John William CLARKE (22) of Battlesden
18205 Private John William CLARKE (22) of Battlesden
23280 Private Charles CLIFTON (21) of Godmanchester
23309 Private William COLEMAN (36) of Woburn
18325 Private Charles George COLLIS (29) of Baldock
20576 Private Arthur CONSTABLE (24) of Walsworth
19895 Private Frederick COOK (22) of Tilbrook
22068 Private William Arthur COOK (22) of Little Gaddesden
20266 Private William COOPER (21) of Luton
19399 Private George William COOTE of Royston
17831 Lance Corporal Alfred John COVINGTON (24) of Roxton
18206 Private Walter Henry COX (27) of Renhold
20373 Private George William CRANFIELD (29) of Flitwick
18042 Private Albert CURRINGTON (21) of Yelling
19384 Private William CURRINGTON (22) of Megre
34452 Private Sidney Arthur CUTLER (19) of Kensworth
20371 Private Peter DARRINGTON (28) of Roxton
20973 Private Walter DAWSON (19) of Stow
17652 Private Walter DEAMER (31) of Redbourn
18772 Private John DEELEY of Eaton Bray
18183 Private Arthur William DELLAR (27) of Dunton
20910 Private William Arthur Leonard DEVEREAUX (24) of Campton
23246 Private Henry Thomas DIGGINS (19) of Maulden
26352 Private James DINES (19) of Langford
18759 Private Frederick Arthur DUNKLING (26) of St. Ives
23812 Private John DYSON of Luton
20228 Private Ernest John ENDERSBY (36) of Sandy
22903 Private Philip William EVANS (25) of Cranfield
18801 Private James Charles FEARY (39) of St. Ives
29460 Private Harry FINDING (19) of Raunds
23123 Private William Henry FOOTE (24) of Bedford
17523 Private Alfred FORDER (30) of Stevenage
18485 Private Arthur Henry FOSTER (44) of Godmanchester
19196 Lance Corporal William FREEMAN (20) of Heath & Reach
19247 Private George GASCOIGNE (32) of Bedford
23272 Private Albert GEORGE of Kempston
20667 Private William GILKS of Woburn
19477 Private Arthur GILLETT (32) of Flitwick
23599 Private William GODFREY (21) of Hexton
18825 Private Charles James GOLDSMITH (27) of Stagsden
20098 Private Herbert GRAVES (25) of Beechwood Green
27407 Private John William GREEN of Wymington
23782 Private William GREEN of Bassingbourne
23372 Acting Sergeant Charles GUDGIN (19) of Clophill
17976 Private Sidney Jesse GURNEY (26) of Tingrith
19448 Private George HAGGAR (20) of Stevenage
20969 Private William HAILEY (35) of Walsworth
19735 Private George Thomas HALL of Connington
20554 Lance Corporal Arthur HANCOCK (38) of Melchbourne
22173 Private Frank HANDSCOMBE (22) of Pirton
20483 Private Herbert HARE of Old Warden
20056 Private Harry Edward HARPER (21) of Little Brickhill
26355 Lance Corporal Thomas HARRIS (19) of Tempsford
19846 Private George William HARRIS (28) of Wootton
25127 Private Frederick George HARRIS (19) of Campton
17875 Lance Corporal William HART (24) of Leighton Buzzard
23465 Private Albert HARVEY (28) of Womrley
23614 Private George Arthur HAYNES (20) of Wootton
20907 Private James Henry HEATHFIELD (26) of Campton
19546 Private Walter HENMAN of Breachwood Green
20817 Private Edward HILL of Barton
23268 Lance Corporal Arthur HILL (20) of Barton
19449 Private John W. HILLYARD (40) of Westoning
23301 Private Herbert HOLLIMAN (38) of Chipperfield
18688 Private Albert Sydney HOLLOWAY (31) of Chenies Bottome
18132 Private Albert HORLEY (20) of Heath & Reach
20397 Private Edward HORSLER (33) of Streatley
19073 Private Lawrence William HUCKLE (25) of Sandy
20941 Private Frank IRONS (18) of Wilstead
22967 Lance Corporal Sidney Brydon IZZARD (22) of Maulden
27305 Private Horace Frederick JACKSON of Redbourn
19498 Private George JACKSON (42) of Dunton
22457 Private William JACKSON (26) of Stevenage
20744 Private Arthur JANES (31) of Hemel Hempstead
20345 Private John JELLIS (33) of Upper Sundon
22647 Private John Frederick JOHNSON (17) of Watford
19020 Private Robert JONES (21) of Bedford
19499 Private Frank KEFFORD (27) of Biggleswade
23310 Private Fred KILBY (27) of Luton
18301 Private William Edward KINGSLEY (38) of Hitchin
23617 Private John William KINGSTON of Kempston
23295 Private William George KITSON (29) of Berkhamsted
23752 Private Arthur Ernest KNIGHT of Souldrop
23531 Private Frederick William LAND of Biggleswade
18874 Lance Corporal Joseph LAW (21) of Sharnbrook
20284 Private George LEGATE (19) of Clifton
20316 Private Richard John LISTER (32) of Needingworth
18693 Lance Corporal Thomas Penry LLOYD of Watford
22660 Private Percy LOCKEY (26) of Bedford
20075 Private Albert William LOVATT (33) of Hitchin
22554 Private Robert LOVETT (20) of Biggleswade
20528 Private Charles Henry LUDGATE (20) of Woburn Green
19708 Private Ralph MABBOTT (27) of Shefford
20890 Lance Corporal Reginald MANNING (24) of Toseland
23111 Private William Henry MARSTON (28) of Old Warden
23270 Private George MARTIN of Barton
23730 Private Percy Sidney MARTIN (21) of Luton
22099 Private Albert MEDLOCK (29) of Wrestlingworth
20502 Private John MERRYWEATHER (28) of Langford
26703 Private Thomas John MONEY (23) of Ampthill
23518 Private Reginald MOSS (21) of Stevenage
23581 Private Melburne MUSKETT of Olney
22863 Private William Frederick NEWBURY (30) of Woburn
26683 Private Arthur Benjamin NICHOLLS (20) of Lidlington
25675 Sergeant Arthur Frederick Owen NORRIS (24) of Borehamwood
17834 Private Charles William NORTHWOOD (21) of Maulden
22856 Private John Stewart OAKLEY of St Albans
29355 Private Harold Vernon OCLEE of Bedford
22807 Private Arthur William ODELL (24) of Marston Shelton
22266 Private Albert William OSGOOD (20) of Bishop’s Stortford
23256 Private Harry PAGE (23) of Woburn Sands
20618 Private Herbert PARSONS (34) of Tilbrook
20404 Private Bert PARTRIDGE (24) of Bozeat
18128 Private Frederick PAXTON of Woburn Sands
18510 Private Joseph PAYNE of Luton
19571 Private Charles Frederick PEACH (23) of Farcet
20328 Private George PEARSON of Northampton
22395 Private Christopher PERRY (47) of Luton
19744 Sergeant Peter PIERACCINI (31) of Dunstable
22746 Private Cyril Albert Bernard PINNOCK (20) of Bedford
22178 Private Robert POINTER (39) of St Albans
22135 Private Percy POPE (20) of St Albans
20599 Private George Benjamin POULTER (18) of
18773 Private John Theodore PRATT (22) of Eaton Bray
20083 Private Alfred Joseph PRICE (23) of Eversholt
23496 Private John RADFORD (19) of Luton
18526 Lance Corporal John RAINSDEN (33) of St Albans
20298 Private Henry J RANDALL (40) of Marston Church End
25138 Private Arthur READ (34) of Barham
22791 Corporal Charles REDMAN (23) of Upper Gravenhurst
20859 Private William REYNOLDS of Stotfold
22079 Private Thomas George RICHARDSON of Weston Underwood
22940 Private Cecil Sydney ROE (19) of Huntingdon
17712 Lance Corporal Thomas ROGERS (34) of Steppingley
18312 Private Albert ROLFE of Watbridge
23625 Private Harry ROWLETT (25) of Biggleswade
19309 Private Stanley George RUTT (21) of Langford
18908 Private Percy William SANDERS (23) of Bedford
18774 Lance Corporal Sidney SARGENT (23) of Turvey
23595 Private George SAVAGE (19) of Cranfield
26270 Private Harold George SAWFORD (23) of Sharnbrook
20643 Private Walter Leslie James SAWYER (23) of Little Barford
18627 Private Alfred Stephen SEAMAN (22) of Huntingdon
22976 Private Arthur Joseph SEARS of Irchester
22523 Private William Joseph SHAMBROOK (28) of Sharnbrook
20818 Private Sidney SHARP (31) of Preston
18616 Private Sidney James SINFIELD (39) of Stagsden
22153 Private Albert Edward SKEGGS of Hatfield
19531 Private Frank SMITH (20) of Hitchin
31530 Private William SMITH of Dunstable
19043 Sergeant Edward Lewis SMITH of Lower Stondon
29452 Private Christopher Francis SMITH (35) of Ridgmont
17777 Lance Corporal Frederick William SMITH of Milton Bryan
26711 Private Jonah SOLE (27) of Ashwell
25891 Private Edward STEVENS (19) of Shefford
22435 Private Ernest William STEVENS (29) of Flamstead
21022 Private Walter STREET (29) of Stevenage
20059 Sergeant Walter Frederick SURRIDGE (28) of Bedford
18315 Private Percy Alfred SWAIN (22) of Weston
22080 Private Frederick TAYLOR (34) of Hemel Hempstead
20479 Private Tom Cecil TEBBS (25) of Fenstanton
17746 Private William Alfred THODY (27) of Cotton End
19220 Private Walter THOMAS (25) of Wellington
19108 Lance Corporal Frank THORNTON (27) of Hitchin
27043 Private Ralph Henry TOMPKINS (21) of Bozeat
17597 Private Edward UNWIN of Thaxted
22501 Private William WALDOCK of St Albans
18717 Private Walter WALDOCK (25) of Great Wymondley
20968 Private William WALDOCK (32) of Great Wymondley
18462 Private William WARNER of Biggleswade
23621 Private Walter John WATSON of Watford
23189 Private Herbert Charles WEBB (23) of Beadlow
23458 Private Walter James WELCH (31) of Kimpton
20400 Private Frederick WEST (28) of Emberton
20777 Private Edgar Joseph WEST (23) of Great Graveley
23335 Private Sidney Charles WHITE (25) of Woburn Sands
22850 Private Herbert WHITTINGTON (21) of Marston Shelton
22168 Private William WILKIN of Leagrave
18972 Private Albert Henry WILLIS (29) of Bedford
23234 Private Charles Henry WILSON (23) of Earith
26785 Private Albert WILTON (35) of Henlow
19540 Private William WOODHAM (39) of Bolhurst
20147 Private Richard WOODING (28) of Houghton Conquest
19523 Private Sidney WOODS of Bulbourne
18720 Private Thomas WORBOY of Gt Wymondley
23543 Private Ernest WRIGHT (20) of Hitchin
19593 Lance Corporal Thomas YOUNG of Kempston
27355 Private Owen YOUNG (21) of North Crawley

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

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

2016-09-18-10-31-12

 

©S.Hartley (2015-)

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, October 1916

-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.

October 1916 –The Bedfordshire Training Depot has now, after 2 years, been converted into a Command Depot. The original object of the camp was to allow men, under the voluntary system of enlistment, to do their training in their own county until they were fit to join friends and relatives fighting in the Regular and Service Battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment in France.

The camp commenced with 140 men. The men and Camp rapidly rapidly increased until at one moment over 1,600 men were accommodated. Over 2,000 men, all of whom joined under the voluntary system, have been trained at Ampthill, and have proceeded overseas.

Two of the men have received the Military Medal for distinguished and gallant service in the field. The casualties have been heavy, four officers and 155 men having been killed in action.

Bedfordshire Command Depot

The Ampthill Camp has been converted to fulfil a new role, with the Duke of Bedford and his senior staff continuing in command.

stevens-nelson

Major Stevens                             Major Nelson

Combatant Staff Officers

  • Duke of Bedford K.G. A.D.C. – Commanding Officer
  • Major Frank A.D. Stevens – Second in Command
  • Major Arthur Nelson – Adjutant

Medical Officers

  • Lieut Holmes – Royal Army Medical Corps
  • Dr. William Garner (of The Limes, Ampthill)

The Command Depot at Ampthill will be for the non-commissioned officers and men of No.9 Group Regimental District, which comprises eight counties, and for officers who have trained at Ampthill and returned home wounded or invalided from the Front.

Men on discharge from hospital proceed on ten days’ furlough, and the rejoin a Command Depot, the objective of which is to restore wounded and invalided men to a state of military and physical efficiency by a careful system of physical and military training. At a Command Depot the men lead the ordinary life of a soldier in barracks or in huts – route marching, drill, bombing, musketry, physical drill, and trench warfare all being part of the course. In addition there is a special establishment for those requiring massage and electrical treatment, which will be under the supervision of the medical staff attached to the Command Depot.

October 27, 1916

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Twenty-eight Ampthill recruits have been killed in the Somme region this month. Eleven of these men fell on October 12 when the Bedfords’ 2nd Battalion attacked the German frontline at the Battle of Le Transloy. The weather and ground conditions were atrocious. Few yards were gained for the British lives lost.

Read the war diary for October 12, 1916: http://www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/2ndbn/2ndbtn1916diary.html

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 November 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 – 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.

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September 8, 1916

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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.

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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.

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September 22, 1916

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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.

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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

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
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.

img_7190

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.

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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:

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Telegram

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

Sources:

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

© S.Hartley (2015-)