Tag Archives: Woburn

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.

22555080_10211855426555365_7466462105734478334_n

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.

1917.11.16 BS

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.

de_ruvignys_vol_3-de_ruv_vol3_pg_0012

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 – 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.

IMG_9694

September 8, 1916

IMG_9703

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

IMG_9691

September 22, 1916

IMG_9695

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.

IMG_9693

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 – the Camp Diary, January 1916

The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot from 1914-16. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

January 1916 – The small town of Woburn is being enlivened by the arrival every evening of 150 soldiers from Ampthill Camp for supper, bed and breakfast. For the first time in many years the barracks in the yard of the Bedford Arms are in use, and have been converted into sleeping apartments on both the ground and first floors. Each man is supplied with a comfortable bed, pillows and blankets, and the rooms enjoy gas light and hot water heating. Breakfast and supper is being served at the Town Hall.

Bedford Arms yard c.1900 [Z50/135/610]

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 25th January 1916 (as re-published by Bedsathome in 2016)

News of Ampthill Park recruits 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
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog

Next installment to be published on 1 June 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, July 1915

The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot from 1914-16. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

This issue contrasts genteel Camp cricket with conditions at the Front where the first draft are sleeping rough within sight of the big guns; there have been casualties.

July 1915 – An open-air gymnasium has been added to the Camp near the bayonet practice area (between the West Car Park and Westminster Pond). Cricket in the evening after drills is very popular. In mid July a week of heavy wind and rain played havoc so tents have been abandoned – the recreation hut has become a large hostel at night time.

The third draft have been warned to be in readiness to depart for the Front. On Saturday, July 24th there was a 12 mile route march in full kit and ready for active service.

On Monday, July 26th the Chaplain Rev. Dickinson conducted a special service. Next day a large company of civilians gave the draft of 60 men a hearty send-off. The Regimental Band played inspiring music as the men marched briskly to be entrained at Ampthill Midland Station.

News from the Front – letters are being received from men who left the Camp last month. Corporal Hart is the first of the draft to get wounded [June 16]. He writes of being shot in the first engagement, charging the German line. Platoon commander Lieutenant Turnbull was killed in a crater alongside. His body has not been found.

George Willsher says that he is billeted with Thomas ‘Tot’ White and Harry Gibbons in the orchard of an empty farm which is within sight of the Front. The big guns flash when they are fired. Some of his pals have been in the trenches for three days, and have also taken part in a bayonet charge. One Ampthill boy is missing.

July 23, 1915

 

July 30, 1915

In the Ampthill Parish Magazine the Reverend Walter D. May writes ~


And in the Illustrated War News ~

BTD NCO July 1915 001.jpg

Image

Image

 

What became of the men who are named in the Bedfordshire Standard?

 

Private 17875 William Hart of Leighton Buzzard – was shot on 16 June 1915 attacking a German trench. He recovered but was injured again in 1916 fighting with the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion and died from his wounds on 15 October. His grave is in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe. Private Hart is remembered on the War Memorial in Ampthill Park.

Second Lieutenant Laurence Turnbull – was killed on 16 June 1915 as his platoon [inc Private Hart] attacked the German line. The death was recorded on 18 June in the Bedfordshire Regiment 2nd Battalion Diary. Lieutenant Turnbull has no known grave but is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial to the missing and on the War Memorial in Ampthill Park.

Private 17743 Harry Gibbons of Steppingley – was killed in action on 27 September 1918 fighting with Bedfordshire Regiment 4th Battalion. The 4th Battalion Diary entry for 28 September indicates that Corporal Gibbons was engaged with the objective of capturing the Hiddenburg Support Line. His grave is in Moeuvres Communal Cemetery in France. Corporal Gibbons is remembered on the War Memorial in Ampthill Park and on a plaque in the church of St. Lawrence, Steppingley. Woburn Abbey has published more about the story of Harry Gibbons.

 

Source:
The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Banner of Faith (which contains the Parish Magazines for 1915).
The Illustrated War News.
The Commonwealth war Graves Commission.
The Bedfordshire Regiment.

 

Next installment to be published on 1 March 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, April 1915

The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot from 1914-16. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

April 1915 – During Lent the Rev C.R. Dickinson, Chaplain of the Park Camp, addressed the congregation of St. Andrew’s Church each Wednesday evening.

His Grace has kindly granted leave for soldiers to spend Easter with the families. Lieutenant Tanqueray of Woburn has been added to the command.*

Sad news – Sergeant J. Wheeler writes that on 9 March his good friend 8484 Sergeant William Martin died at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. The Martin family are from Water End, Flitwick.**

TF April 2015

April 9, 1915


Notes

*Lieutenant Tanqueray – on 1 July 1916 was killed at the Somme.
– Times obituary, 14th April 1917: “Second Lieutenant F. Baron Tanqueray, Middlesex Regiment reported missing last July now officially reported wounded and missing and believed to have died on that day, was the younger son of Mt Frederick T Tanqueray, solicitor of Woburn, Beds and was 24 years of age. He was educated at The knoll Woburn Sands, and at Tonbridge School.  Having passed the final Law examination on January 1914 when only 21, he joined his father in his business as solicitor at Woburn, but on the outbreak of War he enlisted in the Public School Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment and worked through the ranks to be Sergeant. He was offered and accepted a commission in the same Regiment in March 1915 and went to the Front the following November.”
– Commemorated on the War Memorial in Woburn and on a bronze plate in St. Nicholas Church, Tingrith

Image

Lieutenant Tanqueray (seated front right)

**Sergeant William Martin – on 11 March 1915 was killed at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
– Commemorated on the War Memorial in Flitwick.
– In 2008 William’s bronze death plaque was discovered in the attic of a house in Chandos Road, Ampthill.

 

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

Next installment to be published on 15 January 2016….
Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – Tommy’s Footprints will happen in 2016

Ampthill Town Council has established a working group to develop the project for 2016, building to Remembrance Sunday.

The project plan is almost there. Read more about Tommy’s Footprints in the June issue of the Town Council newsletter ‘Around the Pump.’ 

We are looking to commission an artist’s impression of what Tommy’s Footprints will look like in the hollow of Ampthill Park. Please reply or email if you are interested to sketch this work.

WWI – Book: Ampthill’s Fallen by John Hele (2014)

In 2014 Ampthill historian John Hele published a book called Ampthill’s Fallen. 

The War Memorial - Cooper's Hill, Ampthill

The Town War Memorial – the Alameda, Ampthill

Ampthill’s Fallen is a tribute to the 67 men on the Ampthill Memorials, and to all those who were killed or died as a result of the Great War. John Hele diligently records what is known about each man’s life, service and death. Eight of the men also appear on the Memorial Cross in Ampthill Park because they trained at the Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16). The eight soldiers are:

  • 23071 Private Harry Burt
  • 22809 Private Arthur Gillett
  • 30064 Private Stewart William Hill
  • 23251 Acting Sergeant George Money
  • 26703 Private Thomas Money
  • 23503 Private Richard Putman
  • 23511 Lance Corporal George Thompson
  • 18972 Private Albert Willis

To find out more read Ampthill’s Fallen [ISBN 978-0-9542619-5-5 – 149 pages ~ £13 inc p&p]. To obtain a copy of this excellent book please email John Hele.

P1080361