The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.
This is information gleaned from the 'Ampthill News' for the period of the war. Click to expand an item.
In January 1915, Germany employed three Zeppelins, motor-driven rigid airships, in a two-day bombing mission against Britain. One turned back after encountering mechanical problems, but the other two Zeppelins succeeded in dropping their bombs on the English coastal towns of Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn.
About 150 officers and men of the Western Division Signal Co. R.E., whose headquarters are at Haynes Park, have been billeted in Clophill for the past fortnight. Another detachment is staying at Shefford. On Sunday mornings a special soldier's service is held at 10 a.m., and the ordinary service is at 11.15 instead of 11. The men from Haynes and Shefford march to Clophill, headed by their excellent band, and make a very imposing show. The church is filled to overflowing with soldiers, and the hearty manner in which the men join in the musical portions of the service is very impressive. The Rev. C.L. Matthews, Rector of Clophill, has preached at these services - short, practical sermons which hold the attention of his hearers. The parish room has been placed at their disposal as a canteen and recreation room and is highly appreciated.
Mr. Harry Huckle, a Volunteer for 18 years and Mr. William Jeffrey, eight years a Militiaman, have joined the Nation Reserve.
Another large contingent of the Royal Engineers arrived in the village on Sunday. Football and other facilities for exercise are afforded the recruits. Their advanced physical perfection is highly creditable to the officers and non-coms.
Q.M. Sergt. Wootton, of the Royal Hampshires, has visited his relations at the Post Office. It was exactly 24 hours from the time he left the trenches to his arrival in Clophill. He returned to his regiment early on Monday morning in good physical condition.
No tidings have been received by the relatives of Mr. John Bone. Satisfactory news has been recently received from Mr. S. Webb (King's Royal Rifles) and Mr. J. Titmas (Army Medical Corps).
Opportunities have been given to sportsmen to join, and middle-aged men to exercise themselves in Swedish drill, route marches, rifle and bayonet exercises, and other hardening and necessary processes. Previous to joining, Mr. John Durston, Mr. Sidney Webb, Mr. Lewis Webb, Mr. Jesse Titmas, Mr. John Gray, Mr. Fredk. Izzard. Captain Skipworth, Chief Officer Rich, and the brothers Roberts were all thorough sportsmen. The Sportsmen's Battalion comprises men of all professions, and men who have won distinction in various branches of sport.
Mr. Harry Horace Quenby, youngest son of Mr. James Quenby, for many years proprietor of the "Compasses" Inn, and Clerk to the Parish Council, and assistant Overseer, died on the 23rd ult. at Lincoln Hospital from wounds received in action. In the Boer War he was in the "E" Co. Beds. Volunteers. On the declaration of war with Germany, he immediately enlisted. Sincere sympathy prevails for his invalid mother, his brothers, and sisters. A memorial service conducted by the Rector was held at St Mary's on Tuesday evening and was attended by a large congregation. This is the first fatality, as as far as we know, of the many brave lads from Clophill in the present campaign. [Buried Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery]
Mr. James Bone being anxious about his eldest son, Mr. John Bone, who as a reservist of the Bedfordshire Regiment went to the front early in the campaign, has heard from the Commanding Officer that he was wounded on November 9th, but nothing definite is afterwards known.
Numerous spectators witnessed an interesting friendly game on Saturday afternoon in the field lent by Mr. John Maddams. The Royal Engineers were well represented, and a fairly local team encountered them, captained by Mr. Frank Burgoine, of Ivy House. At half-time the scores were two goals each. However, the R. E.'s soon showed they were the superior team, and some splendid play was witnessed from Sappers Gill, Hagan, Rowlands, Hunt, Bostock, and Mason. Sapper Jackson, in goal, was seen to great advantage. For the home team Frank Burgoine, Bertie Webb, Ted Cole, T. Izzard, and S. Izzard played remarkably well. The final scores were: Royal Engineers 7, Clophill 2. Mr. Alfred Roberts kindly refereed.
What was to become the Battle of Gallipoli, a 10-month battle of attrition, began at 07:30 on 19 February 1915. Two destroyers were sent in to probe the straits. The first shot was fired from Kumkale by the Orhaniye Tepe battery's 240 mm (9.4 in) Krupp guns at 07:58. The battleships HMS Cornwallis and Vengeance moved in to engage the forts and the first British shot of the campaign proper was fired at 09:51 by Cornwallis.
The relatives of Pte. Wm. Richardson, 1st Beds. Regt., who was drafted from Africa to the front, have this week received favourable news of his welfare. His letter was written in one of the muddy trenches.
Under the command of Major Newall, the Royal Engineers paraded to St. Mary's Church on Sunday morning, when an appropriate sermon was preached by the Rev. C. L. Matthews. The sincerity in the singing of the hymn "Eternal Father, strong to save" by the soldiers, was very noticeable. The service was choral, and Mr. H. Cunnington presided at the organ.
Upwards of sixty-three Royal Engineers, the Army Medical Corps, and Army Service Corps left Clophill on Wednesday morning for the front, amidst warm congratulations and heartfelt farewells. Their behaviour has been admirable, and the villagers and soldiers are sorry to part from them.
Clophill has many reasons for taking interest in the Navy,and we are glad to hear that letters have recently been received from Lieut. Mitchell on the "Boadicea," Lieut. Gillett on the "Mermaid", Chief Officer Rice, "Swiftsure"; Petty Officer E. Titmus, "Commonwealth", and Seamen Sidney and Arthur Roberts on the "Hiberian". Mr. Frank Stimson, youngest son of the Sexton, and Mr. Arthur Young, oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. G. Young are in the merchant service.
The Hon. Geoffrey Duke-Coleridge, late of Ivy House, has recently obtained a commission in the Army.
Pte. Sidney Webb, of the King's Royal Rifles, has written to Mr. Frank Sheppard, of the New inn, stating that as a sniper several Germans have realised the accuracy of his rifle. He is still healthy and in the best of spirits.
No fewer than 56 men from this vicinity are serving in the various branches of His Majesty's forces, at home and abroad. This number embraces two Captains, Two Lieutenants, and 14 Non-Commissioned Officers. There are also the brave sailors of our village serving in the Royal Navy.
The composition lesson of the elder scholars was an appropriate letter to the commanding officer resident at the "Gables," who is shortly accompanying a detachment of the Royal Engineers, and that written by Eddie Garner, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Garner, was sent to Major Evans. As a recognition, the gallant officer sent an encouraging consideration.
The majority of the soldiers billeted in the parish have this week been through a course of inoculation. The officers and men of the Western Signal Service have been busy practising throughout the village and and neighbourhood. On Sunday the battalion, under the command of Colonel Leigh, with Colonel Fossett, Major Newall, Major Evans, and other officers, paraded to St. Mary's Church. The band, conducted by Bandmaster Robinson, played appropriate music.
The main topic of comment in the neighbourhood is the increase in the price of bread and the decrease in wheat prices.
Many friends of Sergt. George Whittamore, of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, will regret to hear that he has been wounded in France, and hope that he may have a speedy recovery.
Mr. James Bone has been in correspondence with the War Office in reference to his eldest son, Mr. John Bone, who, as a Reservist of the Bedfords, went to France early in the campaign, but they cannot at present give him definite particulars.
Mr. James Whittamore has been informed that his son, Corpl. George Whittamore, Highland Regiment, has been wounded.
Chief Officer Rich, of the "Swiftsure," now engaged in the Dardanelles, has sent a most cheering letter to his wife and family.
Accompanied by the band under Bandmaster Robinson, the Royal Engineers, commanded by Colonel Leigh, paraded to St Mary's Church on Sunday morning. An appropriate address was delivered by the Rev. C. L. Matthews. Mr. Walter Webb has joined the Corps, and went to Liverpool on Friday.
The number of billets has been greatly augmented during the last few days.
Corpl. Whittamore has been visited by his brother at Leicester Hospital. He was seriously wounded by shrapnel. His battalion, the Scottish Borderers, have suffered heavily during the campaign.
Mr. Hargreave-Smith of Clophill, has recently obtained a commission in the A.S.C., and proceeded to Deptford on Monday.
The War Office announced that Privates J. Bone, F. Ashley, and B. Tuffnell have been wounded and Corpl. Whittamore severely wounded. They are, however, all progressing as favourably as can be expected.
On Saturday afternoon at St. Mary's Church, Private Samuel King, of the Duke of Bedford's Regiment, was married to Miss Susan Webb, of "Oxleys" Cottages. The Rev. C. L. Matthews officiated. Private John Farr acted as best man, and Miss Nellie Farr as bridesmaid. The bridegroom received the hearty congratulations of his comrades on arriving at Ampthill Park.
Private Sidney Webb, of the King's Royal Rifles, informed his parents this week that he and five others of the same company were cut of from their comrades by the enemy, but he and his mates after two days hot pursuit and severe privation, succeeded in joining their regiment. The other four were shot down by the enemy, who were in superior numbers. He cheerfully says he shall have something to tell the lads of Clophill when he returns home.
Mr. and Mrs. Titmus, of "Wood View," have recently heard from their eldest son, Mr. Jesse Titmas, of the Army Medical Corps. He is at present all right, but daily witnessing many experiences.
Qtr. M. Sergt. Wootton, of the Royal Hampshires has written to his relatives at the Post office from the trenches, where he has been for several weeks. He sincerely hopes that this "dreadful business" will soon be finished.
Chief Officer Rich, of the "Swiftsure" is engaged in the bombardment of the Dardanelles forts. His recent home correspondence is full of enthusiasm.
The five sons of Pte. Gibson are at present all doing duty for their King and Country. Mr. A.J. Gibson is aboard the Australian battleship "Encounter", and the youngest son, Albert Edward, has recently joined the Beds. Territorials.
Private J. Bone, mentioned in the casualty list of wounded last week, is not the son of Mr. James Bone, of the Homestead, who is still without news of his eldest son. His brother, Private George Bone, who was wounded early in the campaign, is now almost convalescent.
On Saturday a first rate concert was given by the Royal Engineers of the Western Signal Service. An excellent program had been arranged by Mrs. Godfrey Fanssett, wife of Lieut.-Colonel Godfrey Fanssett, D.S.O. The various items were highly appreciated by the audience. The program concluded with a most amusing dialogue entitled "A Brown Paper Parcel".
The parishioners were aroused early on Tuesday morning by the military manoeuvres throughout the village and neighbourhood. Several soldiers from the Hitchin Department were accommodated with sleeping quarters in the Parish Room.
Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Titmus, of Wood View, have recently received letters from their two sons, namely, Mr. James Titmus, of the R.A.M.C., and Mr. Ernest Titmus, of the Royal marines.
Poison gas was used for the first time during this battle. The gas, fired by the Germans claimed many British casualties.
The dominance of artillery led to trench warfare on the Western Front.
Mr. Charles Smith has recently joined the Beds. Yeomanry, and is going through his preliminary training at Bedford.
Mr. Harold Gibson, 12th Lancers, stationed at Dublin, and Mr. J. Durston, Sportsmen's Battalion, have both been home a few days previous to their departure for France.
The Gallipoli Campaign (Battle of Gallipoli) was one of the Allies great disasters in World War One. It was carried out between 25th April 1915 and 9th January 1916 on the Gallipoli peninsula in the Ottoman Empire. The doomed campaign was thought up by Winston Churchill to end the war early by creating a new war front that the Ottomans could not cope with.
The relatives of Private William Richardson, of the Bedfords, have recently received welcome good news of him.
Privates Jones and Duval, of the Army Service Corps, have recently been promoted Lance-corpl. and Corporal respectively.
Petty Officer Rich, writing home to his family at Glebe Cottage, says his ship, the Swiftsure, is still engaged in the Dardanelles.
Quartermaster Sergt. Wootton, of the Royal Hampshires, has written to his sister at the Post Office, stating that he is still in the uncomfortable trenches.
Private Harry Gobby, of the Bedfords, who was present in two bayonet charges, and was severely wounded in his right leg and contracted enteric fever, after lying in hospital several weeks, returned home last week, and went back to his regiment on Tuesday morning.
Corporal George Whittamore, of the Scottish Borderers, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Whittamore, of High-street, who was severely wounded with shrapnel in the back, has written home that he is making satisfactory progress at Leicester Hospital.
Private Sidney Webb, of the King's Royal Rifles, has this week written to his invalid mother, stating that in one of the recent engagements he had a bullet pass through the collar of his overcoat, but it fortunately only grazed his neck. He has been at the front from the commencement of the campaign, and is still hearty and well.
Last week the greater number of Royal Engineers, many of whom have been billeted in the village since the New Year, were removed to Haynes Park, where they are now under canvas. Only about 50 men are left here, and in all probability their stay will be brief. During the past four months the men stationed at Haynes have been marched down to Clophill to attend service in the Parish Church, but on Sunday the order was reversed. The men from Clophill attended the open air service in Haynes Park, conducted by the Rev. W.C. Browne, Vicar of Haynes.
On May 7, 1915, the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania, which primarily ferried people and goods across the Atlantic Ocean between the United States and Great Britain, was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sunk. Of the 1,959 people on board, 1,198 died, including 128 Americans. The sinking of the Lusitania enraged Americans and hastened the United States' entrance into World War I.
The relatives of Q.M.S. Wootton have this week received good news of him.
Pte. Harry Gobby, of the Bedfords, who was wounded at Mons, has rejoined his regiment, and Pte. J. Bone, who was wounded, has returned to France.
The eldest sons of Messrs. Thomas Peat and John Grummitt have both written home from the trenches.
Private Sidney Webb, of the King's Royal Rifles, writes that he has been slightly wounded in the face and back by shrapnel.
J.W. Titmas, R.A.M.C., writing to our correspondent, says: "I think the Germans are beaten and disgraced. I suppose you saw how the Bedfords chased them from Hill 60. Good piece of work that. I have not run across any from Clophill out here as yet. I am with the Suffolks now, a jolly fine lot of fellows. I don't think think this war will last much longer myself. They hardly know what to make of our Navy, do they? I'm looking forward to inspecting Town Shot, which I hope is looking well. I hope they are not short of beer. I have nearly forgotten the taste. Well,never mind. I think I shall get through now after what we've been through."
On Sunday morning about 200 of the Royal Engineers who have been billeted here left for active service after being inspected by Lieut.-Col. Leigh, accompanied by other officers. The main street was lined with parishioners and visitors, the good behaviour of the soldiers having won for them universal respect. The band, under Bandmaster Robinson, rendered appropriate selections. Major Newwell was in command. Upwards of sixty have been connected with the Headquarters Department, and have been in Clophill some considerable time. As Lieuts. Saunderson, Newbold, and Harris, rode past the deep feeling shown was very striking.
Mr. Bertie Webb, gardener at the Rectory, who for a considerable time has been a most energetic Scoutmaster, has enlisted in the Army Services Corps, Mechanical Transport Branch, and Mr. Hubert Young, has joined the same Corps.
Early on Sunday morning a sapper of the Royal Engineers went off with a bicycle, and up to the present has not been traced.
The Rector has been selected for an important post as Chaplain the Forces, and goes this week to Grantham for duty with a Brigade. Since he came to the parish the congregations at almost every service have filled the church, and the number of communicants is very large.
A military wedding was celebrated at Ampthill by special license on Saturday, the parties being Driver W.J. Goad, R.E., and Miss Maud Greenfield. Both bride and bridegroom hail from the metropolis. The bride had to witness her husband's departure on active service the following morning.
The Rev. C.L. Matthews, Rector of Clophill, left on Friday to take up his duties as Army Chaplain, at a camp in Belton Park, Grantham, Lincolnshire. The services at the parish church were conducted on Sunday by the Rev. W. Rooke, who will officiate until the end of July.
A Royal Engineer, attached to a Cable Section, writes, "Since I wrote last we have again been on the move, and are over 30 miles from our last resting place. I think since we have been out here we have moved along the rear of the whole of the firing line held by the British troops, and we have now settled in Belgium. We are attached to the ----- Army Corps. The country here is much nicer than at our last billet. The section is encamped in a sweetly pretty park, our tents and shelters being under the trees out of sight of hostile aircraft. It is not so bad now, but I don't know what we shall do if we are here when the winter comes. There has been very little work for us, but we are being instructed in "airline" work. Several times I have seen German aeroplanes shelled by our people, and English aeroplanes after them, but have seen no Zepps yet."
Several Letters have recently been received by residents from relatives in France or at the Dardanelles. Miss Roberts, of the Warren, has had several postcards thanking her for her kindness to the Bedfords. One postcard came from Private George Bone, son of Mr. James Bone, of the Homestead. Private Bone was wounded at Mons, but after gaining convalescence rejoined his regiment and is quite well.
We are sorry to hear that several of the Engineers, who were billeted in Clophill, have fallen victim to German gas.
The relatives of Mr. Bertie Webb, the former Scoutmaster, who is in the A.S.C., received a postcard from him on Monday, stating that he was en route for France.
Private Herbert Harris, of the Duke's Battalion, went to the front on Monday.
Sergt. Wootton, of the Warwickshires, is convalescent, and has rejoined his regiment.
Good news has been received from Pte. Sidney Webb, of the King's Royal Rifles, and Col-Sergeant Christian.
The National Schools, Reading Room, and Parish Room have been utilised by the Royal Engineers for several days, and military manoeuvres are still proceeding. Several soldiers have been billeted in the village. There behaviour is praiseworthy, and the parishioners hope they will have a prolonged stay. The church parade on Sunday was well attended, and an appropriate sermon was preached by the Rev. A.B.F. Cole, Chaplain to H.M. Forces in India.
Acting Sergt. F. Spicer, 1st Bedfords, who has received the Cross of the Order of St. George from the Czar, is the grandson of Mrs. Spicer, of Little Lane, and was delighted on hearing the news. Sergt. Spicer joined the Bedfords in 1910, and has been at the front from the commencement of the campaign.
Clophill is full of soldiers again, fresh drafts have recently arrived of Royal Engineers connected with the Signalling Department and other sections.
The relatives of Corporal Lomas have this week been informed that he has been severely wounded. Before enlisting in the Bedfords he was a woodsman on the Wrest Estate.
Mrs Hodges of Wood View, has been informed that her husband, previously reported as a prisoner of war, has died of wounds received in action.
Pte. J.W. Titmas, R.A.M.C., and Pte. Sidney Webb, King's Royal Rifles, who have been in France from the commencement of the war, are expected home for a few days.
In the recent battle in the Gallipoli Peninsula, two of our village lads, belonging to the 1/5th Beds., were wounded - Corpl. J. Lomas and Private E. Eddy. We hope they will speedily recover. It is a coincidence that Mr. Frank Stimson, of this village, is serving as a steward on the ship which conveyed the lads to Malta.
Lieut.-Col. Lyonel Bosanquet, eldest son of Mr. Arthur Bosanquet, of Cleddon Hall, Monmouthshire, has died from wounds received in action in Gallipoli. He was well known in Clophill, having frequently visited his uncle, the Rev. Gustavus Bosanquet, for 30 years Rector of the parish.
The relatives of Corpl. Lomas have been informed that he is progressing favourably. A letter from Pte. J.W. Lee, in France, to his father, Mr. James Lee, describes his experiences in the trenches. Corpl. G. Whittemore, who was seriously wounded, is now convalescent, and has been promoted Acting Sergeant. Corpl. Durstan, of the Sportsmen's Battalion, was an eye-witness to the recent Zeppelin raids.
Corpl. C.S. Molyneux, Signal Co., R.E., at the Dardanelles, writing to Mr. Garner, says: "I am pleased to hear you are all well. I am champion. The weather is getting a lot colder here now. I think we are in for a spell of wet. At present we are having a lot of wind and dust. We are making good progress here. We have got landing points 30 miles up a very hilly country which makes it very difficult for us, but I think we will manage to get through all right. If we can't nobody else will. We have lost a lot of men in the trenches, nothing compared to the Turks; they have suffered terribly. Sergt. Sheppard is in hospital in Malta. Corpl. Kelly and Monteith are at the base, Alexandria, 300 miles from us. Corpl. Butler is at Gaba Tepe, 15 miles further up. Give my love to Tom; tell him I haven't seen the top of a pint since April 14th. We often talk about good old Clophill and the way we were looked after. How we miss it now. I am pleased to say we have only had two men wounded in our section but have lost a lot of horses. One chap was lucky; he was holding his horse when a shell burst and blew his horse all to bits, and missed him altogether."
The Battle of Loos was the largest British offensive mounted in 1915 on the Western Front during World War I. The first British use of poison gas occurred and the battle was the first mass engagement of New Army units. The British offensive was part of the attempt by the French to break through the German defences in Artois and Champagne and restore a war of movement. Despite improved methods, more ammunition and better equipment the Franco-British attacks were contained by the German armies, except for local losses of ground. Casualties in the Herbstschlacht (Autumn Battle) were high on both sides.
Sergt. Wootton, of the Hampshire Regt., who has been for many months in the trenches, has been awarded the D.C.M., for conspicuous bravery on the battlefield.
The R.E. Headquarters staff, who have been billeted in the village for the past six weeks, left on Saturday morning for Baldock. Before leaving they were inspected by Lieut.-Col. Cortez Leigh, Commandant, at Haynes Park. In a short address to the men after inspection, the gallant colonel expressed this satisfaction with the progress made by the men since formation of the Corps Headquarters, and also with their general conduct during their stay at Clophill. A great many of the villagers were present at the inspection. A little lad named Thomas Allen, was standing with his arms hanging over some iron palings, when his foot slipped, and the sharp iron point lacerated his arm rather badly. First aid was rendered by some of the N.C.O,'s of the R.E. S, one of the men giving his field dressing for the occasion. One of the officers then drove the lad in his car to Shefford to Dr. Winckworth, under whose care the little chap is making satisfactory progress.
On Wednesday evening, Col.-Sergt. Goodwin of the Duke of Bedford's Regiment, and other non-commissioned officers and men, held a recruiting meeting.
A biplane, belonging to the R.N. Air Service on Wednesday evening, descended for necessary repairs, and resumed its journey next day. The same evening a large balloon, belonging to the Royal Aerial Club, of Roehampton, descended near the Warren Farm.
Acting Sergt. G. Whittemore has been on leave for a few days, and rejoined his regiment on Monday. Corpl. B.W. Huckle, 12th Lancers is at Rouen.
Private Sidney Webb, King's Royal Rifles, who has been in France since the commencement of the campaign, came home on Monday evening, quite unexpectedly, to the joy of his invalid mother. He was engaged in conveying German prisoners to their destination at 11 o'clock on Sunday morning, having previously been in action, as his blood-stained bayonet showed. In one engagement he was slightly wounded, and several pieces of shrapnel were extracted. His praise for his officers is enthusiastic.
Private H. Huckle, of the National Reserve previously served 23 years in the 3rd Beds. Regiment for 5 years as a corporal. Col-Sergt. A.W. Appleby has been promoted Quartermaster, and Captain Skipworth, of the Gables, Lieut-Colonel.
Sapper Butler, of "D" Company, stationed at Haynes Park, has been promoted Lance-Corpl and Lance-corpl. A. Fossey of the 1/5th Beds. Regiment, has been made full Corporal.
Many anxious relatives have this week received welcome letters from France and the Dardanelles. Corpl. Lomas being convalescent has rejoined his platoon. Pte. B. Webb, Headquarters A.S.C., writes that he is in good health. Srgt. Wootton, D.C.M., of the Hampshires, is still in the trenches and Pte. J. Titmas, of the R.A.M.C., has recovered from the effects of gas. Pte. Sidney Webb, of the King's Royal Rifles, returned to France on Sunday morning. Corpl. Cunnington, eldest son of Mr. Cunningham, of the School-house, has met Pte. G. Bone, of the 1st Bedfords, in France.
Pte. Nichols has been killed in action. He leaves a wife and five children to mourn his loss.
Letters have also been received from Pte. W.J. Lee and Pte. Wm. Richardson, the latter having seen several years of foreign service. Lieut. Gillett, R.N., has been in several engagements. Pte. Eddy is recovering from wounds received in the Dardanelles. Arthur Roberts A.B., Royal Navy, and Pte. E. Titmas, Royal Marines, are attached to the Mediterranean Fleet. Mr. Frank Stimson is still busy transporting wounded and prisoners of war, the latter being very numerous lately.
We are sorry to record that Sapper Tilley has died from the effects of wounds received in Gallipoli.
Sergt. Goate, of Bedford, is suffering from dysentery, and is being invalid home. Sergt-Major Burke has also returned suffering from fever. Lieut. Richard Burrows, 2nd Essex Regiment, is still at Thetford. Private George Bone, 1st Bedfords, has written to his father a cheery letter from France. Private Sidney Webb, of the Kings Royal Rifles, has returned to France, and is busy snipping. Privates Sam Page and Joe Farr, of the Duke of Bedford's Regiment, left Ampthill on Tuesday for the front.
Upwards of sixty Royal Engineers of the Signalling Department, with two captains and two lieutenants, are at present billeted in the parish.
Private J.W. Lee, "D" Co., Royal Sussex Regiment, only son of Mr, J. Lee, of the Slade, writes from France to his sister, describing the recent advance. He says:- "None of us will ever forget the road to the battlefield, masses of troops and artillery, ruined country villages, and above all the endless procession of wounded and prisoners. The Scottish Division commenced the advance. They met death splendidly, and appeared to know no fear. We reinforced them and awaited the tremendous counter attacks of the German Guards, who were backed up by a hail of shrapnel, artillery fire, and numerous machine guns. We went straight into the front line, and you must excuse me, when I say, it was like hell. Our regiment suffered dreadfully, and I only escaped by inches. We had nearly 4 days of it, but thank God, we were victorious. One wet night in the trenches, with the shot and shell, the dead and dying comrades, would close the mouths of most of our English agitators for ever."
On Tuesday vegetables for our sailors were collected, and 2 cartloads were dispatched. Miss Moore, of Maulden Cottage, is to be highly congratulated for her successful appeal.
Sixty-six men connected with the parish are now serving in H.M.'s Forces, either at home or abroad. This number embraces a Colonel, a Major, two Lieutenants, and twenty non-commissioned officers. In addition to the above number there are the brave sailors of our village serving in the Royal Navy. The majority of those enlisted have given up good positions.
The parishioners were very pleased to see Colonel and Mrs. Skipwith at the Gables for three days.
Letters have been received from Private Lewis Ansell, 5th Bedfords; Corpl. B. Huckle and Private H. Gibson (Lancers) from France.
Lieut. Gillett, of the "Mermaid", has been through several engagements without a wound. Mrs. Gillett, formally mistress at the National Schools, has been residing at Dover.
Mrs Cunnington has received news that her sister, Mrs. Ladds, who is in Lille, is alive and well. The last news of her came to hand just before Lille passed into the hands of the Germans thirteen months ago.
Pte. Walter Shotbolt, of the Coldstream Guards, has written home stating that a shell burst near the trench he was in, and he was buried in the debris. His ears are affected, and he is at present in hospital at Rouen.
On Thursday evening, October 21st, a recruiting meeting was held on the Village Green, by Mr. Bubb, and was well attended. So far the meeting has had no result, although all the "eligibles" have not yet joined H.M. Forces. Another meeting was held at the Cross Tree on Friday evening with similar results.
Sapper T. Hughes, Motor Airline Section, R.E., who is in France, writing to Corpl. Tonstall, formally billeted at Clophill, says, "During the last few days it has been very wet and miserable. Haynes Park was a treat to this. I met Joe here a couple of days after we landed. We were all over the show in a few days. The other day we met the Liverpool Irish, and it was a treat to have a chat with some of my old pals. I have not had the luck to meet my old lot yet.?"
Sapper J.R. Christian, W.E. Cable Section, in France, also writes to Corpl. Tonstall, R.E. "Fancy me coming out with a Cable Section after all those years in the Wireless. We have enjoyed real camp life for some considerable time, sleeping in rough tents made out of ground sheets and anything else we can get holds of. They Say we are presently going into winter quarters and they have been making rough stables for our horses out of trees and other brushwood. It will be a rustic turn-out when it is finished. They are erecting huts for us, and the sooner they are up the better, for the nights are getting very cold. We have an old pal of yours in this Section, named George Hunter. He was in South Africa with you."
Sergt. Wootton informs his relatives at the Post Office, that he has seen much service lately, but is happy and well. - Pte. Bertie Webb, A.S.C., writes good news to his mother. - Corpl. Lomas, 1/15th Beds., though still in hospital in Cairo, is progressing favourably. - Mr. Bertie Tuffnell, who was wounded while serving in General Botha's Army in South Africa, is convalescent and has arrived at Bordon Camp with the South African contingent. He hopes to visit his brother at the "Stone Jug" Inn.
Pte. J.W. Lee, 9th Royal Sussex Regt. Writing to his father at Clophill from France says: "Of course, you heard we were in the last big battle, when the advance was made. I can tell you we had a very hot time, especially for fresh troops. I am glad to say I came through all right, though I had many close shaves. The fact is I had extremely good luck. It was right enough sometimes, provided you keep down your napper under the parapet. I do not think I shall be on the unemployed list for some considerable time unless a miracle happens. The Germans take a lot of shifting, I can tell you. The terrible sights and experiences for battalions you heard of were simply composed of brave heroes, and appear to have no fear of death. We ourselves are quite fresh to the field, but we went straight into the thick of it., and I am pleased to tell you that our regiment has been highly complimented by general French. We know that much more is expected of us in the near future. We are continually on the shift. I shall soon have seen all France and Belgium too."
The spurt in recruiting, which last week was general throughout the country last week, was also in evidence here. In Friday, Messrs. Hubert Whittamore and Sam Titmas were enrolled in the Royal Flying Corps as mechanics (carpenters), and will be called up very shortly. On, Saturday, Mr. Walter Sharman joined the R.A.M.C., and proceeded to Eastbourne on Thursday, and Mr. William Bushby enlisted in the King's Royal Rifles. This is good, and it is to be hoped that other eligible young men will follow this excellent example. The total number of men now serving from Clophill is now 70.
Owing to the scarcity of men throughout the neighbourhood several women have tendered their services, which have proved a great boon to the farmers and small-holders, especially in the mangold and potato fields.
Two sections of the R.E.'s left on Tuesday morning. After being inspected by Capt. Lee Wright they were accorded a hearty send-off.
Sergt. Wootton, D.C.M., Royal Hampshires, has been visiting his relations at the Post Office for a few days, and returned to France on Wednesday. Wm. Bushby has joined the King's Royal Rifles, and is assisting Mr. Tom Bubb, the recruiting agent. Sapper A. Maddams, R.E., visited his father, Mr. George Maddams on Friday. Corpl. Lomas informs his wife that he is now convalescent, and has returned to the firing line. His two brothers, Charles (Beds. Yeomanry) and Joe (Bedfords) are both in France. The four sons of Mr. and Mrs. George Young in different regiments, have recently written to their mother from the four quarters of the Globe.
Lieut. Gillett, of the "Mermaid", was at home on Sunday.
Pte. Bone, son of Mr. James Bone, of the Homestead, has been promoted Corporal. He was wounded, but after regaining convalescence immediately rejoined his regiment, the "Yellow Devils."
Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Titmas, of Wood View, have just heard from both their sons. Their oldest son, Jesse, R.A.M.C., says he is now practising cooking. Mr. Ernest Titmas, of the Royal Marines, is expected home for a few days.
The military authorities have arranged with the Ampthill U.D.C for a water supply in the military camp at Haynes Park. Pte. Parsons, of the Monmouthshires (who are doing the pipe laying) on Monday met with a nasty accident, another private pinning his knee with a pickaxe. He is progressing favourably.
The 5th Section of the R.E. Headquarters Department, left for Stevenage last week after inspection by Lieut. Col . F.A. Cortis Leigh and Major Robertson, of Haynes Park. They were accompanied by Capt. Lee Wright, Capt. Hardiman, Lieut. Card, Sergt. Major Stewart, Q.M.S. Bedford, and other non-commissioned officers. Another contingent from Haynes Park arrived in the village on Saturday and another on Sunday.
Recruiting has been active during the past few days. Mr. Thomas Harris has been enrolled in the National Reserve, and is stationed at Ampthill. Gustavus Webb and Bertie Rainbow, of Beadlow, on Saturday went to Bedford to join the Beds Yeomanry. Sidney Izzard and Percy Eddy have joined the Ampthill Park battalion. Harry Negus has enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery. Several others are enlisting this week.
The men of the Monmouthshire Regiment who have been billeted in the village and neighbourhood, mostly hail from Newport and have quite won the affections of the billet-mothers, who hope they may have a prolonged stay. In some cases Tommy returns the kind offices of "mother" by holding the baby, or rocking the cradle, while she does the cooking, mending, or washing.
The village is awake earlier than usual these dark mornings. The Parish Room, well provided with refreshments by Messrs. John Smith and Sidney Daniels, is much used by the soldiers, and they have given some excellent football displays. The non-commissioned officers are Sergt. Major Morgan, Seargent Barber, Corpl. Pr??? and Corpl. Squires. Private Tom Osmand???, said to be the strongest man in the regiment, was once imprisoned by the Germans, but escaped. At the recruiting rally at Silsoe on Tuesday evening, some of the artistes from the Monmouthshires were highly complimented.
A very small number of young single men remain who have not donned the khaki. Several have been rejected as physically unfit, and the majority of those enlisted have joined the Duke of Bedford's Regiment.
Many letters have recently been received from the brave lads at the front, who are most anxious to receive Christmas gifts
The Royal Engineers are now erecting telegraph poles to form a permanent connection of the Reading Room with Haynes Park.
The majority of the eligible unmarried men in the village have joined the King's Forces, either by direct enlistment or under the group system, and a good many married men have also given in their names under the latter system, A few, however, are "waiting to see" what will happen to those who have not volunteered.
Allied forces retreat from the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, ending a disastrous invasion of the Ottoman Empire. The Gallipoli campaign resulted in 250,000 Allied casualties and a greatly discredited Allied military command. Roughly an equal number of Turks were killed or wounded.