Tag Archives: YMCA

WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, August 1918

The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16) and No.9 Command Depot (1916-1919) that followed. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

August 1918 – news has been received that Private Edward KEECH (M.G.C) of Church Street who is a prisoner of war in Germany. Private KEECH is thankfully well.

Cadet W. ODELL (Mercantile Navy) has returned home from South America after being torpedoed for a second time. His ship managed to reach port without sinking.

Mrs P. Daniell of Austin’s Lane who’s eldest son Private William DANIELL (20), was killed in action on July 13th, has received a letter from the Corporal in charge of the battalion runners, in which he sends the deepest sympathy of all his comrades, in her loss.

Ampthill Command Depot

On Thursday, August 8th the Warwick Repertory Company, from London, concluded a successful week’s entertainment at the Ampthill Command Depot. Their on-e-act sketches received an enthusiastic reception from a large audience. During the intervals the Depot’s Bijou Orchestra ably entertained.

On August 19th prizes were presented to the successful competitors at the shooting competition. Miss Sheila McCarthy. The special prize given by the Duchess of Bedford was won by Sergeant Instructor CHICKLEBOROUGH.

An open-air canteen in Mr Wingfield’s grounds has been started by some energetic ladies from the Wesleyan Chapel, who are kept very busy every evening. This is well patronised by the troops. An added attraction is Mr Wingfield’s collection of foreign animals which, although depleted, is still interesting to the Tommies.

Canadian Forestry Corps

The Ampthill mill has finished cutting timber. Shipments this month of lumber totalled 187,816fbm which is an increase on July of 67,671fbm. These were principally despatched to Northampton on loco T.C.2596. During August 80,831 linear foot of pitwood was consigned from Ampthill Station.

After spending nearly a year in Ampthill the 126th Forestry Corps is about to leave for Thetford. During their Ampthill stay they have made many friends, and now they are sorry to lose these boys from their midst. The officers and men will always be remembered. Early each morning we have been awakened by the Reveille, and Last Post each night signalled the close of another day. Probably the centre of the social life has been the Y.M.C.A. hut, where we have been privileged to spend many a pleasant evening. Each week we have listened to a good concert or watched their pictures.

Sergeant Herman L. Porter, who has been in charge of the Y.M.C.A. has put in every effort to make the work a success, and to him is largely due the credit for the splendid work done for the men in the social way. Although he came here broken in health after being wounded and gassed in France, he never spared himself when anything was to be done for the men. Ably assisted by his corporal, V.G. Jones, his work has been a success. While there Sergeant Porter has written a book on the work of the company.

On August 8th a special farewell gathering was held at The Pines Y.M.C.A. which taxed the seating capacity of the hut to its utmost. During the interval speeches Commanding Officer Captain P.H.JORY, Lieutenant J.H. GARDNER and Sergeant H.L. Porter spoke of the good work of the Y.M.C.A. and sincerely thanked the Ampthill ladies who had done such good service in the Canteen and the social work of the “Y.” Parlour games and dancing kept the guests amused and interested until a successful evening was closed with “Auld Lang Syne.”

On Friday, August 16th a Farewell Entertainment was given to the Foresters at the British School. The Company Pierrot troupe, “The Woodpeckers,” entertained at the close of which Mrs Chivers (on behalf of the committee) presented Lieutenant Read with a mascot in the form of a large blue and yellow bird. Accepting the gift, Lieutenant Reed thanked the donors and assured them that the mascot would accompany the troupe on their journeys. A very pleasing incident was a presentation by Lieutenant Reed, on behalf of the boys, to the newly promoted Lieutenant H. Porter for his splendid work as sergeant in charge of the Y.M.C.A. That he was a great favourite with the boys was shown by the gift of a wristlet watch, engraved with the words “Presented to Sergt. H. Porter, by the Coy. of Canadian Forestry Corps, as a token of appreciation.

The Woodpeckers have been instrumental in raising sums for charity. The proceeds of their amusing and melodious entertainment has raised the following sums since the 126th Corps arrived in August 1917 –

The Prisoners’ of War Fund (Sandy & Biggleswade)  £84. 14. 8.
Flitwick War Memorial                                                    £28.
Sandy V.A.D. Hospital                                                       £16. 12. 10.

The sentiments of the townsfolk were ably expressed by Mr C. Richards who said “in the first place the Ampthill people did not want the Canadians and they were still consistent in that they did not want them – to go.” A very pleasant evening then ended by Mrs Chivers being called upon to sing “O, Canada,” followed by “Auld Lang Syne” and “God Save the King.”

It seems likely that when the Canadians depart the Command Depot will utilise the huts encampment which is on The Pines.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month the war has claimed the lives of 24 men who trained at the Ampthill Camp. Of these, 20 died in the actions from 20th August in offensive operations that were part of the Second Battles of the Somme.

Source: 

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

Ampthill Parish Magazine
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Red Cross
Ampthill’s Fallen – by John Hele (2014)

Report on the Activities of the 126 Company Canadian Forestry Corps. Ampthill 1917-18 (K.Fadden)
A Review of Activities with the 126th Company Canadian Forestry Corps while stationed at Ampthill, Bedfordshire, Eng. (Sgt H. Porter, 1918)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

Next instalment to be published on 30 September 2018….

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

November 2018 – it will be one hundred years since news of The Armistice rippled through Bedfordshire, and was welcomed with thankful relief. Hostilities ceased but the war continued to shaped Ampthill in ways which have passed out of living memory.

Ampthill Town Council is leading preparations to build on Tommy’s Footprints and mark the Armistice centenary. Click here to download a copy of the programme.

As part of Ampthill Armistice100, the Zonita Ampthill Community Cinema is pleased to show a double-bill of films on the evening of Saturday, 10th November:

Film 1 ~ The Burying Party (12A; 60 mins)
For release on 4th November 2018 and being shown with special permission of the director. Wilfred Owen returns to the Somme against the advice of his mentor Siegfried Sassoon, determined to follow his subject ‘The Pity of War’ to the very end.
Watch the trailer

Film 2 ~ Journey’s End (12; 108 mins)
Set in a dugout in Aisne in 1918, a group of British officers, led by the mentally disintegrating young officer Stanhope, variously await their fate.
Watch the trailer

You can buy tickets on the door, or reserve tickets and tables (at no extra charge) by emailing info@zonita.org.uk. Fully licensed bar.

 

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Please email Stephen Hartley if you would like to know more about Ampthill Armistice100 or volunteer.
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WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, June 1918

The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16) and No.9 Command Depot (1916-1919) that followed. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

June 1918

Ampthill Command Depot

About 65 large marquees and a number of small tents have been erected, and a large camp has formed at eastern end of the park to receive more convalescent troops who are expected to arrive any day.

The Command Depot cricket team scored an impressive victory on Saturday, June 1st by beating the Hydraulic Works team by 137 runs to 56. The low score of the Luton team was chiefly due to the excellent bowling of Private T. EDWARDS (late of Surrey 2nd XI).  Lieutenant BOOTH (late captain of Bedford Alma) scored 52 for the Command Depot.

On Thursday, June 13th an excellent show was given by D.H. Evan’s No.1 Party at Olympia. The large hall was crowded with Tommies and their friends.

A draft of 50 men was escorted to the Station by the Depot’s Drum and Fife Band.

PC J. PEGG, formerly Sergeant Instructor of bayonet training who was very popular at the Training- and the Command Depot, has been discharged to join the Ampthill Police. Force.

Ampthill Volunteers

The Ampthill Platoon marched over to Clophill and attended church parade at the Parish Church. The sermon was preached by the Rector, Rev Cecil L. MATTHEWS, who is home on short leave from the Front. Lieutenant F.W. BRADSHAW (O.C.), Sergeant E.J. MOORE (Platoon Sergeant), Corporals W.E. PARMITER and J. SMITH, and other N.C.Os were on parade. Major L.H. CHASE (Officer Commanding the 1st Battalion) inspected the Ampthill Platoon.

Canadian Forestry Corps

In early June the Portuguese Labour Corps remembered the first anniversary of the death of their comrade who was killed in an air raid in France. There was a series of village dances to the music of an improvised orchestra consisting of a concertina, mandolin, and a guitar. The dancing kept on to a late hour, when hats were removed, and the proceedings concluded with the singing of the Portuguese National Anthem.

The “Jesters” concert party from the Royal Engineers, Bedford provided an evening of entertainment at the Y.M.C.A. Hut in the Pines, and their programme was thoroughly enjoyed. The “Zig-Zag Concert Party and Bob Barry’s party from Luton have also been entertaining at the Y.M.C.A. On Thursday, the “Woodpeckers” Pierrot Troupe of the Canadian Forestry Corps made their debut, with an excellent programme of the latest songs.

A pretty wedding has taken place on June 3rd at St. Andrew’s between Canadian Forester Private E.J. PERRY and Miss Gertrude Gowers of Park Hill. The Canadian’s Chaplain, Rev. H.P. Pollard officiated.

A book by Sgt. Herman L. PORTER has been published. In a pleasant, breezy manner Sergt. Porter reviews the work of the Canadian Forestry Corps since the formation of the camp in August 1917. The book is published by the Beds. Times Publishing Co. Ltd and is on sale at Mr F. Harwood’s in the Market Place, and is priced at 2s 3d. The entire profits are being devoted to a fund for the providing of concerts at the Y.M.C.A Hut during the summer.

2018-04-21 09.35.58.jpg

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

There is news that Sapper James T. WILDMAN has been badly gassed in the recent fighting in France, and is lying seriously ill in Queen Mary’s Military Hospital at Whalley.

We also hear that 2nd Lieutenant Walter E. GADSBY M.M. has been wounded again and is now at the 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth. Formerly a private footman to HRH Queen Mary, 17906 Private W.E. GADSBY enlisted in the early days of the war and left the Bedfordshire Training Depot in May 1915 with the first draft. Walter has the unique honour of being the first man from the Depot to win the Military Medal which he did in July 1916 at the infamous Somme ‘Trones Wood’ action, and was subsequently recommended for a commission which he took in August 1917 with 4th York & Lancaster Regiment.

26765 Private Arthur ROBINSON of Woburn Street, who trained at the Bedfordshire Depot, has been awarded the Military Medal. While serving as a runner with the Bedfords’ Private Robinson discovered part of the line unoccupied. At great personal risk and danger to himself Private Robinson brought up reinforcements and he saved the situation. His younger brother, 27359 Private Percy ROBINSON, died in France in April 1917 due to a serious head injury.

This month the war has claimed the lives of two men who trained at the Ampthill Camp.

Source: 

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

Ampthill Parish Magazine
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Ancestry.com
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Red Cross
Ampthill’s Fallen – by John Hele (2014)

Report on the Activities of the 126 Company Canadian Forestry Corps. Ampthill 1917-18 (K.Fadden)
A Review of Activities with the 126th Company Canadian Forestry Corps while stationed at Ampthill, Bedfordshire, Eng. (Sgt H. Porter, 1918)

Www.bedfordshireregiment.co.uk

#IWMSTORIES

Next instalment to be published on 31 July 2018….

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

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


BUY: Stencilling Tommy’s Footprints

This 48 page book tells the story of how Tommy’s Footprints came about and notes the many people who have contributed and connected. There are just 150 individually numbered books. A unique gift.

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Proceeds will help to fund a book about the Ampthill Camp ~ profits to benefit the charity Combat Stress which was founded in 1919 to help WWI veterans deal with shell shock.

£6 (inc p&p). Please email hartleyhare135@gmail.com to order by PayPal or BACS transfer. The book is also available from Ampthill Town Council, The Hub and The Stationery Boutique in Ampthill while stocks last.

To remember that amazing day and the memories it went onto craft, here is a free copy of the book “Stencilling Tommy’s Footprints” – click to download.

Continue reading

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

1917.12.7 BSa

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.

 

1917-12-7-bsb.jpg

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.

1917-12-21.png

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.