Tag Archives: Tommy’s Footprints

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

December 1917 – at the Command Depot a cinema has opened for use by the troops. A good show now takes place nearly every night in ‘Olympia.’ Lieutenant HANKINSON operates and Sergeant ALLEN is the engineer.

Three men at the Ampthill Command Depot have been awarded the Military Medal for their gallant actions:

8717 Corporal Frank AVELING (2nd Bedfords’) of Bromley has seen action since 1914. On August 1, 1917 in the Ypres Sector he was in the trenches and received news that several British bombers had been wounded raiding the German line – read war diary. Corporal  Aveling went out alone and rescued nine wounded under heavy fire – the London Gazette.

16359 Private George W. CATLING (7th Bedfords’)  – on May 3, 1917 the British advance was held up by heavy machine gun fire. Private Catling remained with his Lewis gun to cover his comrades during the retreat – the London Gazette.

15115 Sergeant Samuel IMPEY (7th Bedfords’) of Luton – on July 1, 1916 was involved in storming Pomiers Redoubt on the first day of The Somme. With all officers wounded, Sergeant Impey took command of the company, led and succeeded in taking the redoubt, and was wounded – read war diary. The London Gazette announced the award 12 months ago.

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Bedfordshire Standard – December 7, 1917

The Ampthill Platoon of the 1st Bedfordshire Volunteers had a field day on Sunday, December 5th near Bedford. They were joined by the Bedford Volunteers and the Bedford & Modern Schools O.T.C.’s. The Ampthill men formed the third line of attack in a general scheme of operations. Captain SCOTT (Adjutant, 1st Bedfords’) addressed the Volunteers and Cadets, who then re-formed and marched back into Bedford, via Bromham. The Ampthill Platoon returned on the 6.48 train and marched up to Headquarters, where they were finally dismissed by Lieutenant BRADSHAW.

 

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Bedfordshire Standard – December 7, 1917

News of the Canadians

The Forestry Corps detachment is now accommodated in a rustic, hutted camp which has been constructed in a clearing on the Cooper’s Hill Plantation.

Captain SHELLEY, Chaplain to six Canadian lumbering-camps, including Ampthill and the 125th Corps at Woburn, preached at the Union Chapel in Ampthill. Sergeant J.G. GARDEN read the lessons.

Sergeant Garden, with support of the Wesleyan Chapel, has also been making arrangements for placing the Canadian men in Ampthill homes to give them a home-like Christmas.

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December 21, 1917

 

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

A number of Ampthill boys are home on leave –
60675 Private Walter BARTRAM (Northamptonshire Regiment)
122644 Sergeant Sidney JEFFS (Devonshire Regiment)
37076 Private Arthur PRESSLAND (Bedfords’)
718277 Private George SHOTBOLT (Post Office Rifles)
21756 Private Fred WILCOX (Royal Sussex)
40941 Private James WOOLF (Essex Regiment)
522285 Sapper Fred WOODCRAFT (Royal Engineers)

25873 Private John COPPERWHEAT (Bedfords’) is in the King George Hospital, London recovering from a wound to the lower back. 37175 Lance Corporal Ernest WOODLAND (Bedfords’) is hospitalised in Stockport where he is recovering from five wounds.

Ten Ampthill Camp recruits have been killed in action or have died of wounds this month.

There is tragic news that on 30 December the troop ship S.S. Aragon was torpedoed while entering the Port of Alexandra in Egypt, and sank with the loss of 380 officers and men. Twenty-five Bedfords were among them of which two – Private BEESLEY and Private MINNIS – trained at the Ampthill Camp.

  • Casualties

20603 Private Samuel KING (27) of Coppingford Killed in Action on December 7
18602 Private Harry TITMUS (40) of Sundon Killed in Action on December 9
26665 Private George H. WARREN of Great Berkhamsted Died of Wounds on December 12 and buried in Northolt
23722 Private Charles F. WRIGHT of Stagsden Killed in Action on December 13
203151 Private Alfred STANBRIDGE (38) of Maulden Died of Dysentry on December 14
20150 Private Bert SHERWOOD (33) of Baldock Died of Wounds on December 16
23397 Private Edward G. BEESLEY  (21) of Ramsey Drowned at Sea on December 30
30901 Private Arthur W. MINNIS (27) of Hitchin Drowned at Sea on December 30
23675 Lance Corporal Frederick G. COVINGTON (22) of Guilden Morden Killed in Action on December 31
30064 Private Stewart W. HILL (28) of Ampthill Died of Wounds on December 31

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
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 January 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.

 

 

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, November 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.

November 1917 – on Wednesday, November 14th  Sister Dora NEWMAN (Superintendent) of the Ampthill V.A.D. Hospital was awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal (2nd Class) for devoted service rendered to wounded soldiers. Ampthill Park House is one of four residences in town that are providing medical care to support war effort.

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Ampthill Park House (1908)

On November 18th a large number of wounded arrived at Ampthill Station from France and Flanders. There were about fifty cases who were conveyed by motor ambulance for treatment at the two hospitals in Woburn. Most of the men were suffering from being gassed, and a number of them were Canadians and Anzacs.

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Bedfordshire Standard – November 16, 1917

 

1917.11.23 BS

Bedfordshire Standard – November 23, 1917

 

News of the Canadians

Work is underway on Cooper’s Hill to create a camp of rustic, timber huts from from the waste slabs. This will replace the bell tents as winter draws in.

There is news that Private John HAYWARD, one of the railway foreman, has been injured after the brakes failed on a railway car and he was dashed into a closed gate at the bottom of the grade.  Private Hayward sustained serious compound fracture to the right arm. He has been taken to the Duchess of Bedford’s Hospital, at Woburn

Sergeant GARDEN of the Canadian Forestry Corps has been at the Wesleyan School to tell the children of ‘Canada.’ Sergeant Garden took his hearers on an imaginary trip where he described the wonders of Niagra Falls, the Rocky Mountains, and many other sights and scenes of that beautiful country. The headmaster, Mr W.H. CUTLAND, thanked the narrator on behalf of the children.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Thirteen Ampthill Camp recruits have been killed this month of which eight died of battle wounds. Here is what we know of Sergeant George S. BABBINGTON.

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Source: de Ruvignys Roll of Honour vol.3

Private Walter C. PEARCE died at home and has been laid to rest in Hitchin Cemetery.

Source:

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

Ampthill Parish Magazine
de Ruvignys Roll of Honour vol.3
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog

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 December 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.

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.

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, September 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.

September 1917 – on Thursday, 6th an audience of soldiers and civilians packed into the large and conduits Recreation Room at the Depot to be entertained by M Fred Hall’s party from Bedford. The concert opened with a pianoforte selection by Miss Lillie Lee. The boys of rank and file were not slow in taking up the choruses.

Two men – Private Jack Dougherty and Private Joe Galewski amused those assembled with a comic song and mystifying tricks. The singing of the National Anthem brought a very enjoyable evening to a close.

1917.09.07 BS

September 7, 1917

The Pines

The 126th Canadian Forestry Corps has erected a camp of tents on the Cooper’s Hill Plantation. A Captain Kenny is in charge. On September 5th reinforcements arrived in Ampthill which brings the Corps strength up to more than 180 men.

So great was the interest manifest in the operation on Cooper’s Hill that 4 policemen have be continually on the job to chase the people away from the falling trees.

The Corps has taken of the Bird in Hand pub on Park Hill which has bee untenanted for some 3 years. Work is underway to scrub and sweep this picturesque old inn.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

Eight Ampthill Camp recruits are among the casualties this month. Two of the boys – Private RALPH and Private ASHWELL – died in Turkey where they were serving with the 4th Battalion,  South Wales Borderers.

A further four were killed in action on September 20. We know that the 2nd Bedfords’ were in the trenches at Ypres. A party of fifty Bedfords took part in an early hours raid on the German line. The Commanding Officer’s report gives an account of what happened:

On the morning of 20th September 1917, Zero hour 5.40 a.m. the Battalion carried out 2 minor operations in conjunction with a general advance of the 2nd and 5th Armies. 

Captain William J. HOLBROOK MC and 2nd Lieutenant Thomas G. SEARLE MC were in command of a party consisting of 50 Other ranks, with orders to raid the Centre of Movement at O.12.c.25/70 for the purpose of collecting information, capturing Prisoners, Machine Guns and damaging Dug-outs. They were accompanied by a party of 8 Royal Engineers with blasting charges. The party on nearing their objective were fired on heavily both with Machine Guns and Rifles. This fire, so intense, and the wire discovered to be uncut, made further advance and return impossible. The party, among whom were several wounded, remained in shell-holes during the whole day and returned about 9 p.m. to our own line. Much valuable information was collected from this enterprise.” 

The Nominal Roll of Captain Holbrook names two Ampthill recruits – Private Charles ARNOTT and Private Alfred GREEN both of ‘A’ Company – who were killed during the raid.

Source: Bedfordshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion War Diary for September 20, 1917

  • Casualties

19714 Private Walter HUDSON (30) of Earith Killed in Action on September 14
12138 Private Victor J. RALPH of Christchurch Died in Turkey on September 16
12101 Private Walter ASHWELL (29) of Moggerhanger Died in Turkey on September 18
18932 Private Charles ARNOTT (24) of Hemel Hempstead Killed in Action on September 20
18721 Private Alfred GREEN (21) of Huntingdon Killed in Action on September 20
18024 Private Cecil R. HOLMES (24) of Bletsoe Killed in Action on September 20
23605 Private John R. NEWBURY (29) of Woburn Killed in Action on September 20
26786 Private Albert LANE (23) of Toddington Killed in Action on September 22

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

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 October 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 – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, June 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.

June 1917 – on Tuesday, June 12 the Ampthill Command Depot played an enjoyable game of cricket against Ampthill. A collection was also held in aid of the British Red Cross.

1917.06.15 BS ACD

Bedfordshire Standard – June 15, 1917

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month eight Ampthill Camp boys have died at the Front.

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 31 July 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.

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.

 

Tommy’s Footprints – Armistice Day 2016

On 11 November the Alameda Middle School gathered at The Cenotaph in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

Mrs Harvey (Head of History) read out the names of service men who lost their lives in the First World War who have a family connection to pupils or staff at the school. A bugle sounded “The Last Post” and more than 700 people observed the 2 minute silence in the woodland glade.

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Watch the YouTube videoclip

It was a glorious Autumn day and so I visited Ampthill Great Park to see the Duke of Bedford Memorial and Tommy’s Footprints, and then onto the memorial in St. Andrew’s Churchyard.

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Please visit Ampthill Great Park (6-20 November) and see Tommy’s Footprints for yourself. In the days that follow Tommy’s Footprints will quietly fade into the ground, and disappear…

© S.Hartley (2015-)

Tommy’s Footprints | Remembering WWI in Ampthill Great Park

A hundred years ago local men volunteered in droves to train at the Duke of Bedford’s camp in Ampthill Great Park. The recruits had top notch huts and facilities, paid for by the Duke.

By August 1916 the Ampthill Camp had trained 2,235 local men to fight for ‘King and Country.’ One third of these men – 707 – did not return to their families.

November 2016 – WWI centenary art provides a focus to remember the men who trained at the Ampthill Camp, and those who were injured or killed in the Great War.

The centrepiece is Tommy’s Footprints – a column of 707 footprints flanked by poppies in the hollow of Ampthill Great Park where the men once marched. The 180 metre long column will glimpse the terrible loss.

After months of planning, on Saturday, 5 November Tommy’s Footprints became a reality. Volunteers took their turn to stencil the column of footprints and plant the field of poppies – a cross for each fallen man.

Here are some photos of the stencilling.

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Please visit Ampthill Great Park (6-20 November) and see Tommy’s Footprints for yourself. In the days that follow Tommy’s Footprints will quietly fade into the ground, and disappear…