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.
The R.E.'s billeted in the village, were agreeably surprised by the receipt of turkeys, ducks, and other delicacies from Haynes Park.
Sergt.-Major Walker, R.E. Headquarters, has succumbed to dysentery contracted in the Dardanelles. He is succeeded by Q.M. Sergt. Davis and Corpl. Ball has been promoted Quartermaster Sergeant.
Sapper Tom Hughes, writing to Mr. Wm. Garner, says that Haynes Park is a palace compared to France, where they are up to their waists in mud.
Sergt. Sidney Webb, King's Royal Rifles, is in hospital, having been in the trenches several months. He hopes soon to be convalescent and possessor of a medal.
Sergt. Wootton, D.C.M., has forwarded his sister at the Post Office, a few articles of interest from France.
Private Bertie Web, A.S.C., is expected home for a few days. Admiration for the soldiers in their beautiful goat skins is general.
Most of the Clophill lads wounded in Gallipoli are enjoying the climate in Alexandria and Cairo.
On Monday morning an aeroplane came to land in the field adjoining Beadlow Farm. After a short stay it left, taking a southerly direction. On Wednesday a biplane passed over the village, flying rapidly towards the north.
Pte. Jesse Titmas, R.A.M.C., has been staying in the village on leave from the French front. He left again on Monday. Corpl. H.L. Cunnington, of the 8th East Surrey Regiment, has also had leave from France.
Mr. Jesse Titmas, R.A.M.C., eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Titmas, of Wood View, has visited his relations for a few days. The effects of the gas has been deleterious to his former robust health. He has been in active warfare for 17 months, and this was his first Furlough. He has lost a brother-in-law in Gallipoli, and has another brother-in-law and two brothers serving.
The parishioners were very pleased to to see Corpl. Cunnington on Sunday. He is the eldest son of our highly respected Schoolmaster, and previous to enlisting was in the civil Service.
Private Ernest Eddy, 5th Beds. Territorials, is reported missing, supposed drowned in the Dardanelles. His father, Mr. Frank Eddy, received a letter from him on Christmas Day.
Pte. William Richardson, 1st Bedfords, after being in a French hospital, is now convalescent, and is busy as a carpenter erecting huts.
Pte. James Lee, 9th Royal Sussex Regt. B.E.F. France, Wrote to his aunt, Mrs. S. Darnell, that he has so far spent a very decent time. "We were entertained to a feed on Christmas Eve, and a capital concert followed. You would smile to see our barn and its decorations. It is quite smart. I should like to take a snapshot of us around our fire. This morning we had read to us a message from our King and Queen, and it sounded most inspiring, and we all appreciated it heartily. Our splendid officer, Major Langdon who came out with us, has been promoted Officer Commanding."
Conscription began when the British government passed the Military Service Act in 1916. The act specified that single men aged 18 to 45 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion.
Corporal George Whittamore, 6th K.O.S.B., and Corporal Humphrey L. Cunnington, 8th East Surreys, both on active service in France have been promoted sergeants.
Mr. Samuel Titmas, Royal Flying Corps., has been on leave for a few days.
Corpl. Durston , Footballer's Battalion, has been attached to the Band.
Acting-Sergt. George Whittemore, Scottish Borderers, has been promoted sergeant.
Corpl. Bone, 1st Bedfords, has been home on leave from the front this week. He has seen much active service, and early in the campaign he was seriously wounded but is now quite fit.
Private Harry Negus, R.F.A., has written a cheerful letter to his aunt, Mrs. Willmore, and Private Harry Gobby, 1st Bedfords, who has been twice wounded, has written home about his recent experiences.
Corpl. William Cole, 12th Lancers, has been home for a few days. He has recently been promoted corporal.
Pte. Harry Gobby, of the Bedfords, is still in France, and is now convalescent.
Pte. James Lee visited his father and aunt on Thursday, coming direct from Belgium.
Clophill is again the temporary home of a Corps headquarters of Royal Engineers, who arrived last Saturday. They attended service at the parish church on Sunday morning.
A pleasant entertainment, organised by Sappers Cooper and Myatt, was given in the club room of the New Inn on Monday evening.
A military wedding was solemnised in the parish church.
Pte. J. Lee has safely returned to the trenches.
Lieut. Mitchell, of the "Mermaid," has written cheerily to his uncle.
Trooper E. Young, Beds. Yeomanry, has been home on leave from France, looking very fit and well.
Q.M. Sergeant Bedford, R.E., recently of Clophill stores, has obtained a commission.
Mr. Cyril Smith, only son of Mr. and Mrs. John Smith of Sunnydale, has enlisted in the 5th Bedfords.
Sergt. Humphrey Cunnington and Sergt. George Whittemore are with their regiments in France and are both well.
Private Arthur Richardson, of the Bedfords, writing home from the trenches, says France presents a great contrast to the pleasant days at Ampthill Park.
Private Walter Shotbolt, Coldstream Guards, who has been in hospital at Rouan, has written to his brother Mr. Ernest Shotbolt, of Barton Cottages, that he has returned to the trenches. He was completely buried by the bursting of a shell near the trench he was in.
Mr. Arthur Young, Royal Naval Brigade, was home for the weekend. He has borne many hardships in the Dardanelles. Mr. Edward Young has been promoted Corpl. In the Beds Yeomanry. He came home from the trenches on Feb. 10th, and returned on Monday.
Messrs. Cecil Stimson and Sidney Matthews have attested under Lord Derby's Group System. Mr. Cecil Smith joined up on Friday last with his group, and has been sent to Tring to join the 5th Beds. Regiment. A few of the single men of the village have not attested so far, and are probably waiting to see if any further extension of time is likely to be granted.
An entertainment, organised by Sapper Cooper and Corpl. Butler was given in the Flying Horse Clubroom, on Saturday evening.
The Signalling Company arrived on Thursday. The manoeuvres have been most interesting.
Sergt. Wootton, Royal Hampshires, writes that his regiment is enjoying a much-needed rest. Pte. Sidney Webb writes that he is still actively sniping, but hopes to return in March.
Mr. George Whittemore brother to Mr. William Whittemore, of the "Hole", has been notified that his eldest son, Private Hardwick Whittemore, Royal marines, Mediterranean Squadron, has been killed in action.
Pte. Bertie Webb, A.S.C., was agreeably surprised to meet his former master, the Rev. Capt. Matthews, Rector of Clophill and Chaplain to His Majesty's forces last week in France.
Sapper H. Whittamore, E.A.R.E., was at home on leave for the week-end. He expects to leave with his company shortly for East Africa
Private Harry Parkinson, who has been at Ampthill Park for nearly 8 months, left with a draft for "somewhere" in France on Feb. 24th. The week previously Pte. Harry Upton left.
A list of past scholars of the village school serving with H.M. Forces has been compiled; and, so far as it has been possible to ascertain, 94 have joined up to the present. Of these 39 are serving in the Navy or abroad, and two have offered the supreme sacrifice of their lives for the country.
Mr. Frank Eddy has received confirmation of the death of his son, Pte. Ernest Eddy, 1/5th Beds. Reported drowned whilst serving with the British Mediterranean force. Much sympathy is felt with the whole family in their loss. Pte. Eddy was formerly a Boy Scout, and was the life and soul of the Troop.
The Royal Engineers decided not to postpone the dance fixed for Friday evening, and their optimism was justified as there was a good attendance. Many of the men came from Haynes Park, and a good number of Ladies also defied the elements, and like its predecessors the dance was a great success.
The Rev. C.L. Matthews has been on leave from France, and paid a flying visit to the village last week. His numerous friends were delighted to see him looking so well. He is now back again at duty.
Mr. Leonard Izzard joined the Beds. Yeomanry on Friday.
Pte. Sidney Webb, King's Royal Rifles, is expected home this week from France, his military duties having expired.
The deepest sympathy is felt for Mr. Jas. Lee of the Slade, who was notified by the War Office on Tuesday morning that his only son, Private James Lee, 3132 D Co, 9th Sussex Regiment, had been killed in action on Feb. 14th. Private Lee had been on a visit to his father, and had only returned to France two days before his death.
Sergt. Wootton, D.C.M., has written to his sister stating that he is quite well but in the midst of a great battle. His battalion has endured severe hardships.
Corpl. Lomas, of the 1st Bedfords, writing from Cairo, says he is well, but the heat is almost unbearable. His brother, Pte. J. Lomas, is in the same locality and well.
Pte. Sidney Webb, King's Royal Rifles, has arrived home from France, his term of service having expired. On the outbreak of war he was called up as a Reservist, and has spent the greater part of the time in France.
The Corps Headquarters, known as J.P.S., which has been stationed in the village for the past five weeks left on Saturday for Stevenage, to take the place vacated by E.P.S., who also spent some weeks here before going on to Stevenage. E.P.S. Proceeded for "Somewhere in France" on Friday last. Their Clophill friends will all wish them "God speed and safe return."
The Headquarters Section of the Royal Engineers left on Friday, being previously inspected by Lieut.-Col. Cortez Leigh and Adjutant Glue. A short time before their departure a motor cyclist unintentionally ran into a sapper, and the lad had to be conveyed to the County hospital. Four of his ribs were fractured.
Mrs. Doggett, of Jacques Cottages, has been informed that her son, Pte. John Doggett, has succumbed to an operation after being severely wounded. Unfortunately this brave soldier leaves a wife and five children to mourn his loss.
Corpl. George Bone, 1st Bedfords, who was twice wounded at Ypres, writes home that he is well despite many unpleasant experiences.
Private Walter Shotbolt, of the Coldstream Guards, is now back in the trenches after being at the Base for some months.
Private Cyril Smith1/5th Bedfords, arrived home on Saturday at "Sunnydale," having sustained injuries to his right foot.
Sapper Albert Maddams, R.E., 87th Field Co. writing to his father, says he has had a very narrow escape, a German shell bursting within a few yards of him. He and his mates are most happy, and confident of final victory.
Mr. Arthur Young, eldest son of Mr. Geo. Young, on arriving at Malta with the Naval brigade, saw his old schoolmate, Mr. Frank Stimson. The four sons of Mr. Young are all on active service, as are also the four sons of the local policeman, Mr. Gibson.
Pte. Jesse Titmas, of the R.A.M.C., wrote to his sister that he is recovering from a sprained ankle accidentally caused while on important duty. His health otherwise is robust. Mr. Titmas is a soldier of fine physique, and has been in France from the commencement of the campaign. He has seen several year's service and witnessed many experiences. He has one brother in the Royal marines, and another in the Royal Flying Corps.
Pte. Bertie Tuffnell, of the south African Contingent, writing to his brother, Mr. Frank Tuffnell, Landlord of the "Stone Jug," states that he is enjoying the beautiful breezes of Alexandria. He served throughout the Boer War, and has since been in many military engagements under General Botha, and been wounded.
Lieut. Gillett of the "Mermaid", after being at Clophill a few days, has returned to duty. He has recently taken Glebe cottage, formally the residence of the Rev. H. Rollo Meyer.
Cpl. John Durstan, the stalwart drummer of the Footballer's Battalion, arrived home from France on Saturday. He returns on Friday in the best of health and confident of victory.
Private Cyril Smith, 3/5th Bedfords, only son of Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, of Sunnydale, is at the Military Hospital, Aylesbury, suffering from blood poisoning.
Pte. Owen Diggins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Diggins, of Bedford Road, has been promoted Corporal. He and his brother, Pte. Ernest Diggins, have been home on leave.
Quartermaster Sergt. George Whittamore, 6th K.O.S.B., has been at home on leave from France, looking particularly fit. He first went to France in the early part of 1915, and was wounded. After spending some time in England he was again sent out. He contrasts the conditions at present prevailing with those of the first visit. Then the Huns had a great superiority of artillery, now the preponderance is with us.
Mr. Frederick Spicer, of the Bedfords, before going to France was promoted Corporal, and soon after was made Sergeant. Last week, he writes to say he had become Sergeant-Major. His aged grandmother is delighted at the success of her grandson. Her son-in-law, Sergt.-Major Christian, is at Salonika.
In the village and neighbourhood labourers wages have been greatly increased ranging from 15s and upwards per week.
Trooper George White, who several years ago went to Canada, paid his relatives a surprise visit last week. He came from Winnipeg with a contingent of Canadians.
Khaki was in the ascendant this Easter, soldier lads being home from Salisbury Plain, Halton Park, Ampthill, Bedford, Lowestoft, Haynes Park, Stevenage, Aldershot, Grantham, and France.
Mrs. Page's son Samuel, a private in the Bedfordshire Regiment, has been seriously wounded somewhere in France.
Privates Lewis Ansell, John Lomas, Ernest Herbert and Lewis Webb, of the 1/5th Beds., have returned home as the term of their service has expired.
Sapper A.G. Hunt, of the Signal Service, R.E.'s, writes from "Somewhere in Egypt," and describes his experiences of the evacuation of Gallipoli. He says:- "Both Frank and I had some very near goes for our lives. We had to go to earth so many times a day that it was getting very nerve-racking, and we wondered if we should get off with a whole skin. On January 5th the first of our Company left, and each day after (6th, 7th and 8th) a party left as soon as it got dark. Frank left on the 8th and I was still left to work the Signal Office. I remained until 1 a.m. On the morning of the 9th. The night of the final evacuation there were only 6 men in our company. The beach was absolutely packed with men when we arrived there and it was marvellous there were so few casualties. We were stuck there over an hour expecting a shell amongst us all the time. We at last went aboard H.M.S. "Partridge," and started for Mudros, about 1.30 a.m. From a distance I saw the magazine go up and fires started to destroy all that was left. We got to Mudros next morning after a most miserable night. The sea was terribly rough and we all got swamped. After a few days at Lemnos, we sailed for Alexandria and went on to Cairo. We were in camp near the pyramids and Sphinx and of course saw many new and interesting sights. Then we were removed about 100 miles from Cairo to an out-of-the-way place, in the defences of the Suez Canal. There is only a small staff here. Frank is not with us. Only 3 of us of the original H.C.O. are here, the rest are at Port Said. I saw Frank about a fortnight ago, and he wasn't half looking well, got fat in a short time, he had been at Alexandria. He said I was looking well, too, so hope it is true, for I can do with a bit more colour. Fancy it is nearly 12 months ago that I left your place to go into camp. Sergt.-Major Walker died on the Peninsular on Nov. 22nd from heart trouble, I believe. I made a cross and carved his name on to fix over his grave, and I only got it up and made the grave nice and tidy just a few days before we evacuated. Burgess is all right and still batman to major Newell. He is at Port Said. I hope that we shall be home in England before another Christmas comes round."
Private W. Dimmock, R.F.A., has been home on leave and went back on Saturday.
Pte. James Sharman, after being in hospital for several weeks, is now convalescent and came home on Saturday, his term of service having expired.
Private Arthur Richardson, 8th Bedfords, who went from Ampthill Park to France, has not been heard of for five weeks, and is reported "Missing, supposed dead." Mrs. Richardson formally resided in Clophill Rectory.
Corpl. George Bone, 2nd Bedfords, who has been in France since the commencement of the war, and has been wounded on several occasions, writes that he is again in hospital but is progressing favourably. Private John Bones has not been heard of since the retreat of Mons.
The relatives of Pte. Samuel Page, 8th Bedfords, visited him in Oxford Hospital last week. He is very seriously wounded, but is very cheerful.
Pte. Ernest Herbert, a time-expired soldier of the Bedfords, who has lost two brothers, is progressing and hopes soon to be convalescent.
Sgt. Christian was with General Townsend's force at Kat, and his aged mother-in-law, Mrs. Spicer is anxious as to his welfare, as are his wife and little boy.
A small camp of Royal Engineers (Signal Service) has been formed in Mr. Maddams' field on the Haynes-road. The men attended the morning service at St Mary's Church on Sunday.
Pte. S. Page, of the Beds. Regiment, is making satisfactory progress in hospital, at Oxford.
Pte. Frederick Gudgin has enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers, and is in camp near Brighton. Pte. Edward Cole, formerly of the 11th Hussars, has enlisted in the Royal Engineers as a farrier.
Pte. Albert Prichard, who served nearly 18 years in the 5th Irish Lancers, and was seriously wounded early in this war, has obtained his discharge. He has been gassed three times.
Mr. James Clark underwent a critical operation on Friday at Guy's Hospital, London.
Pte. Fredk. Gudgin, of the Bedfords, has been promoted Lance-corporal.
Sergt. Wootton, Royal Hampshire Regiment, who has been incapacitated by foot trouble, has now returned to his regiment.
Privates Thomas Izzard and Ernest Osborn, and three others, were home on Sunday from Halton Park. They praise their pleasant military surroundings.
Sergt. Henry Huckle, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Huckle, writes that he has had six days heavy fighting near Ypres, and had lost his gallant officer and many under his command. Sergt. Huckle formerly belonged to the Beds Militia.
Private Bertie Webb, A.S.C., writing to his parents, says he has seen the Rev. Cecil Lloyd Matthews, who has been in hospital with throat trouble, but is now convalescent, and may soon visit his parishioners. Private Webb was chauffeur and gardener at the Rectory, Scoutmaster of the local group, and cricketer.
Several applications were made on Monday to the Rural Tribunal by attested men and their employers mainly connected with agriculture. A very small number of female labourers have at present volunteered their services, the more profitable employment of hat sewing attracting them.
Mr. William Garner has donned khaki.
Lance-corpl. Bruce Huckle, of the Lancers, has been made Corporal.
Privates George Gudgin and John Sharp, 8th Bedfords, left Ampthill Park last week for Mesopotamia.
Lieut. William Gillett, of Glebe cottage, has come out of recent naval engagements unscathed.
Corpl. George Bone, 2nd Bedfords, has been transferred to Winchester to recover health after wounds.
Mr. Arthur Roberts, R.N., youngest son of Mr. David Roberts, of High-street, is now in the Royal Navy Flying Corps, attached to H.M.S. "Gloucestershire."
Mr. F.A. Garner, headmaster of the Church of England Schools, at Bisley, has enlisted in the Motor Machine Gun Section, "F" Battery, Bisley Camp, and Mrs. Garner and assistants are taking his duties in his absences.
Pte. John Blackburn, 8th Bedfords, formerly of Church Villa, writing to his mother from France, says that on several occasions he has fortunately escaped being hit by shrapnel. On one occasion his two comrades on either side were killed instantaneously, his officer suffering the same fate.
Private Walter Sharman, R.A.M.C., formerly in the employ of the County Surveyor, was home on Tuesday for his final leave previous to his embarkation for Mesopotamia.
Sergt. Humphrey Cunnington, eldest son of our Schoolmaster, and who previous to enlistment was in the Civil Service, informs his parents that his health is still satisfactory, though trench life and other military experiences are very trying.
Q.M. Sergt. George Whittem, Royal Scottish Borderers, writes to his parents that circumstances at the front are perfectly in accordance with a true soldiers wishes. Officers and men are confident of victory, which must eventually take place. He has recently been asked to accept the office of Sergt.-Major, but prudentially declined.
The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle fought by the armies of the British and French against the Germans. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the River Somme in France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of humanity's bloodiest battles.
Pte. W. Richardson, 2nd Bedfords, though still incapacitated for active service, is working as an artisan somewhere in France.
No news has been received of Private Walter Shotbolt, Grenadier guards, for several weeks.
Pte. Phillip Gudgin, John Patrick Izzard, and W. Stretton have joined the gallant Northamptons at Sittingbourne.
Ptes. F. Brown, A. Jefferies, and Smith are going out to the East with a draft of the Bedfords.
Sergt Wootton, D.C.M., writes that his regiment, the Royal Hampshires, have done very well lately, and are all confident of victory.
Pte. George White, who a few years ago went to Canada, having purchased a government farm came over to England with the Canadian Contingent, and has written home relating some of his experiences in France.
Sergt. H.L. Cunnington, 8th Batt. East Surreys, has been wounded, presumably in the trench raid last week. The intelligence was sent to Clophill by the rector, who is a chaplain in France. He wrote:- "I am sorry to have to tell you that Humph is wounded. He came in just as I went on duty early this morning. He recognised my voice and called out. He has been hit in the face and right eye, but we hope he will be all right very soon. The eye is all right at present and it is hoped that it will be saved. He is very fit and well in himself, and is not suffering shell shock or anything like that. There is no cause for anxiety, but his "tin hat" undoubtedly saved him. Sergeant Cunnington has been out nearly 12 months and for the greater part of the time has been in the trenches. Although he has had one or two narrow escapes, he has not been actually hit before. In a letter which reached his home on Monday and was dated "Eve of the Day," he says:- "We have had three days of the most awful bombardment in history, so the time for real action must come very soon. Theses three days have been absolute hell with the lid off, especially for the Boche; our guns have smothered his trenches with huge shells and trench mortars; we have given him periodical doses of gas and filthy smoke, and there have been nightly bombing raids. After every dose of gas or smoke, when he must leave his dug-outs for fear of suffocation, we have rained shrapnel on him. What a difference from those days at Ypres and Hill 60, when the boot was on the other foot! He hasn't replied on anything like the same scale, but we have suffered pretty heavily, as our Company has been 'up' all the time, and I believe our 'heroic remnants' have the honour of leading the attack. At any rate I hope so. I think this war should make another unthinkable, for this isn't war, it is murder pure and simple, and the side that can use most frightfulness will win. If only Kitchener could have lived to see his boys in final triumph - but it was not to be. If everything goes on all right we should finish them off pretty quickly, and be home again, never more to leave the shores of old England. I don't think any of use quite appreciated the old country till we came out here."
Several of our boys who have been in training at Ampthill Park for the past 8 months, left for somewhere in France this week - Lance-corpl. C. Gudgin, Privates G. Gobey. P. Garner, F. Williams, B. Webb, H. Roberts, A. Webb, and E. Diggins.
The Divisional Signal Company, which was in camp in Mr. Maddams' field, have left, and their place has been taken by the signal Company of the Welsh Division.
A letter has been received from Sergt. Cunnington, of the East Surrey Regiment, in which he says that his wound was the result of a shell, which came through his dug-out and wounded 6 out of the 8 occupants.
The village was all astir on Tuesday afternoon, for the wedding of Corpl. John Durston, of the "Footballer's battalion" who has recently returned convalescent from France. Before enlistment he was a professional cricketer and footballer, attached to Lord's Cricket Ground. The bride was Miss Lily Hill, of London, and the bridesmaids were Miss Eva Durston and the Misses Annie and Rosina Hill.
Lieut. W. Gillett, R.N., has visited Glebe Cottage for a few days.
Private George Maddams, eldest son of Mr. John Maddams, of Brickwall Farm, has gone to France.
Q.M. Sergt. Horace Wootton, D.C.M., Royal Hampshires, writes that his escapes have been marvellous and he has witnessed the death of many a valiant comrade.
Pte. Harry Gobey, of the Bedfords, has been wounded in the head, and is at present in hospital in Scotland. This is the second time that he has been wounded. We hope he will soon recover.
The men at Halton Park have devoted their leisure to gardening, and it is worthy of note that the prize winning Companies in recent competition have all included men from Clophill.
Mrs. Maddams and Miss Seabrook hope to be able to send a parcel to each of the Clophill men serving abroad. They are busy getting in subscriptions, and on Sunday next collections are to be made in the churches on behalf of the fund. It is hoped that a good sum will result from this effort, especially as this is the first time that anything of this kind has been done here.
Pte. Bertie Tuffnell, brother of Trooper Bruce Tuffnell, Beds. Yeomanry, and Mr. Frank Tuffnell, landlord of the "Stone Jug" has again been seriously wounded, and is in hospital in London.
Several letters from Lads in Mesopotamia have this week been received by their relatives.
Sergt. H.L. Cunnington, 8th East Surrey Regiment, who was wounded in the face and right eye on June 28, has been discharged from the army as unfit for further service. The sight of the right eye has been seriously impaired. He will shortly resume his duties in the Customs and Excise Department.
The effort initiated by Mrs. Maddams and Miss Seabrook, for comforts for Clophill men at the front has resulted in the sum of £9 6s. 6d. Being raised. Collections at the churches realised - Parish Church £5 17s. 9d., Wesleyan Chapel £1 5s. 6d., Primitive Methodist Chapel 15/-, boxes at P.O. And Mr. J Smith's shop 16/2, committee 12/1, making £9 6s. 6p. A Committee consisting of Mrs. Maddams, Miss Seabrook, Messrs. J. Maddams, J. Burgoine, J. Bone, C. Huckle, and L. Wootton met on Saturday to decide what form the gifts should take. The parcels were sent away on Tuesday.
Several wounded soldiers, accommodated at Wrest Park Hospital, were hospitably entertained at "St. Ivel" House, on Friday by Mr. and Mrs. Manning. Every comfort was afforded the lads, who were accompanied by Sergt.-Major Kingsley. A hearty vote of thanks was accorded Mr. and Mrs. Manning for their kindness. Valuable assistance was rendered by Miss Burrows and her brother, Mr. Samuel Burrows.
Corpl. George Bone, of the Bedfords, son of Mr. James Bone, the Homestead, who went to the front at the war outset, and was seriously wounded, has visited his relatives at Clophill. Pte. Samuel Page, 3/5th Bedfords,is convalescent from his wounds, and assisting with the local harvesting. Pte. John Blackburn informs the parishioners that he and his mates are now acclimatised to the bursting of shells.
The parishioners were glad to hear that their Rector, the Rev. C.L. Matthews was to conduct the services at the parish Church on Sunday. The rev. gentleman has been on active service as Chaplain, and was present during the first fortnight of the advance on the Somme. He was taken ill on July 16th and has been in hospital in France and in England. He has now nearly recovered. Large congregations assembled at the services on Sunday.
Mr Humphrey L. Cunnington, late sergeant in the East Surrey Regiment, has resumed duty in the Customs and Excise service. During as recent visit to Clophill he was presented with a silver match-box "with best wishes from the people of Clophill.
Private George D. Appleby, of the Heavy Artillery Motor Transport, has been promoted corporal. In the early days of the war he joined the Motor Transport, A.S.C., and after some months of active service contracted rheumatic fever. He received his discharge; but after a complete recovery offered himself a second time. He was home on leave for the week-end, and is looking well.
The Mark I was the world's first tank to enter combat. Born of the need to break the domination of trenches, barbed wire and machine guns over the battlefields of the Western Front, it was the first vehicle to be named "tank", a name chosen as an expedient to maintain secrecy and to disguise its true purpose
Pte. Walter Sharman, A.M.C., has been wounded, but the nature of his wound has not at present been notified. He was on the advance on the Somme.
The relatives of Private Lewis Ansell, a time-expired soldier, have just received a postcard forwarded about a year ago, when this gallant lad was serving in Egypt. As he was at home when the postman delivered the same, it caused a laughable sensation among the family.
The flames of Wrest House fire were visible at Clophill, and many people went over.
Private Walter Sharman, of the R.A.M.C., is still in hospital in France as the result of a wound in the left arm, and is making satisfactory progress.
P.c. Gibson received news on Friday that his youngest son, Private Albert Gibson, of the Royal Sussex Regiment, was in hospital in France suffering from a shell wound in the left side. Better news is that he has been removed to hospital at Whalley, Lancs.
Many letters have been received from Clophill men at the front expressing warmest thanks for the parcels sent out from the village as a result of the efforts of Mrs. Maddams and Miss Seabrook. These ladies, and the subscribers (practically the whole of the villagers) have the satisfaction of knowing that they have contributed to the enjoyment of the boys who are helping to beat the Hun.
Private Walter Webb, R.E., attached to the Mechanical Transport Section, has been home for his final leave previous to going to Mesopotamia. Pte. Albert Gibson, youngest of four soldier sons of our village constable, has been wounded in the left side. Pte. Harry Gobey has returned to France. He has been in the fighting line from the commencement, and is an expert bomber. Pte. Walter Sharman, R.A.M.C., has gone to Chichester Hospital. Pte. John Coleman and Pte. George Gudgin are reported wounded.
Private C.W. Smith writes to his mother:- "You would hardly know me. I am as brown as berry, and have grown a moustache. There are plenty of amusements, and last night we had a cinema at the Y.M.C.A. I would rather be here than at Halton Park, though there is nothing but sand. I am as happy as a sand martin. We are guarding Turkish prisoners, and I would put up with this for the duration of the war. I am keeping a diary, which will be interesting for you to read. Some of the boys are of an opinion that the war will terminate before Christmas. I have seen several of the Bedford Engineers, and one of the Silsoe Lads, as well as several Signal Sections from Haynes Park. The Bedfords are only 2 miles away, But I have not hard a chance as yet to chat to them."
Private George White, of the Canadian Highlanders, has been wounded, and is in Hospital in France.
Mr. George Dunham has received news that his brother, Private William Dunham, of the Canadian Infantry, was killed in action in France on the 4th. Inst.
Private Albert Gibson, of the Royal Sussex Regiment, and Private Walter Sharman, R.A.M.C., who are in hospital wounded, are both making satisfactory progress towards recovery, Private P. Gudgin, Northampton Regiment, has been home on final leave.
The parents and relatives of Pte. E.W. Dunham have just been informed of his death. About four years ago he went to Canada to join his brother, and enlisted on the outbreak of war. He is the youngest of a military family, and has two more brothers in France, one a Sergeant in the Marine Artillery. Pte. Dunham was a soldier of fine physique, standing over 6 feet in height. The greatest sympathy prevails for his parents at Silsoe and his brother at Clophill. The following letter was received yesterday: "Dear Mrs. Dunham, The commanding Officer desires me to convey his sincere sympathy on the death of your son, 150366 Pte. E. W. Dunham, who was killed in action, Sept. 7. Death was instantaneous, a piece of shell penetrating his body. He was buried near Pozieres. Owing to the strenuous fighting taking place around this quarter, it is impossible at present to erect a cross. He always showed himself to be a brave soldier, and was very popular amongst his comrades. His loss to the battalion, and especially his platoon, is keenly felt. John A. Hope, Capt. And Adjutant."
Mr. Ernest Titmas has been home on leave.
Private Samuel Page, who was severely wounded, has regained convalescence, and has returned to France.
The death on the Somme front of Pte. Percy Eddy, of the Bedfords, youngest son of Mr. Daniel Eddy, is announced. He was only 19.
Sergt. Harry Huckle, Bedfords, has been killed while at the head of his platoon. His officers having been disabled, he had to take command, and was shot dead. He leaves a wife and five children, for whom deep sympathy is felt.
The friends of our wounded men all have good news of them. They are making satisfactory progress to recovery.
Pte. Jesse Titmas, R.A.M.C., who has been in France since the early days of the war, has been granted a month's leave, and is now at home.
The sympathy of the village goes out to Mr. and Mrs. John Maddams in the loss of their oldest son, Pte. George Maddams, who has been killed in action in France Pte. Maddams was an O.B.G., and since leaving school has been learning farming with his father. He was a good sportsman, and took a keen interest in cricket and other outdoor games. He is the fourth Clophill man who has paid the supreme sacrifice for the country.
Private Bertie Webb, M.T., A.S.C., after being at the front in France for the last sixteen months, is home on leave. He has been in the recent fighting on the Somme.
In the Parish Church on Sunday evening a memorial service was held for the thee Clophill men who have lately fallen in the service of their country. They are Srgt. Arthur Huckle and Private Percy Eddy, both of the Bedford Regiment, and Private George Maddams. The Rev. Geo. J.S. Sherrell preached from I. Thessalonians iv, 13. At the close of the service the organist played the Dead March in Saul, the large congregation standing the while.
The relatives of Pte. H. White have been officially informed that he was killed on the Somme. Pte. Whittamore, of Campton, in writing home stated that he was sorry to hear that his mate, Pte. H. White, was killed. Great sympathy is felt for his parents.
Pte. Bertie Webb, A.S.C., returned to France on Oct. 26. He has played football in France within sound of the enemy artillery, and has several times seen his former master, the Rev. Capt. C.L. Matthews, C.F., Rector of Clophill.
Lieut. Gillett, R.N., after a short stay at home, has rejoined his ship.
Pte. Cyril Smith, writing from Mesopotamia, says he has been ill with dysentery.
Pte. Bertie Tuffnell, South African Contingent, who has been wounded on several occasions, and who has been conveyed to a London hospital, writing to his brother, Mr. Frank Tuffnell, landlord of the "Stone Jug", states that he is progressing favourably.
Pte. Frederick Palmer, A.S.C., only son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Palmer, is on the Somme front, and is in robust health.
Pte. Arthur Richardson, who is a prisoner of war in Germany, has received the six parcel posted to him several weeks ago.
Petty officer Merlin Chapman, of the New Zealand Navy, visited his relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Chapman, on Friday.
The two sons of Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Titmas, of Wood View, Pte. Jesse Titmas, R.A.M.C., and Pte. Ernest Titmas, Royal marines, are both at home on leave.
Sapper Albert Maddams, R.E., son of Mr. George Maddams, has been removed from Rouen to the Hospital at Naunton Park, Cheltenham, where he has been visited by his wife and eldest son.
Lce.-corpl. Charles Gudgin, 8th Bedfords, who received his training at Ampthill Camp, has been recently promoted Corporal. He has come through the fighting in which he has taken part without a scratch. Pte. Jesse Titmas, R.A.M.C., after a month's stay with his parents at Wood View, returned to France on Saturday. His duties are on one of the trains conveying wounded prisoners to and from Switzerland. Pte. Samuel Page, who returned to France after convalescing from his wounds, came across his nephew, Pte. A Richardson, in one of the trenches near the Somme. "Sonny" is enjoying robust health and is in the best of spirits. Pte. Percival Victor Garner, 4th Bedford, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Garner, of the Cross Tree, has been slightly wounded in the face. Pte. Walter Sharman, R.A.M.C., has recently undergone another operation at Chichester Hospital. Shrapnel has been extracted from his shoulder and arm, he hopes shortly to visit his wife and relations. Pte. William Pitts, a conscientious objector, has been transferred to a Welsh Regiment. Pte. Thomas Izzard, 8th Bedfords, has had many thrilling experiences in the firing line. Pte. Ernest Osborn has been transferred to the Leicester Regiment and drafted to France. Sapper Albert Maddams, R.E., who was invalid from Guillemont to Cheltenham Hospital, writes to say that he is making satisfactory progress. Ptes. George Gobey and Treff (sic) Diggins, Beds. Regt., both trained at Ampthill Park, are in the "firing line" and doing well.
Pte. Bertie Tuffnell, South African contingent, who was wounded, has so far recovered that he has recently been removed from Hammersmith to the Red Cross Hospital at Wandsworth Park. Pte. Ernest Osborn, 4th Beds., wrote a cheerful letter in his dug-out to his sister last week.The relatives of Pte. Harry Upton, of the Bedfords, have been informed that this brave lad has been killed in the recent advance, and on Monday morning Pte. Willison informed his mother that he had escaped unhurt.Pte. Gustavus Webb, of the Bedfords, is in hospital with rheumatic fever. Pte. Harry Diggins, (Bedfords), son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Diggins, of Bedford Road, is reported missing.
In 1915 he was appointed minister of munitions in Asquith's wartime coalition government. In July 1916 he became secretary of state for war, but was increasingly critical of Asquith. In December 1916, with the support of the Conservative and Labour leaders, he replaced Asquith as prime minister. Lloyd George's achievements in the last two years of the war included persuading the Royal Navy to introduce the convoy system and the unification of the Allied military command under the French general Ferdinand Foch.
Shortly after his arrival in England, after being badly wounded in France, Mr. Bertie Tuffnell, of the South African Contingent,, was promoted Corporal. He has recently been removed to Hanworth Park, Feltham.
Pte. Phillip Gudgin, of the Motor Transport Section, has arrived at Salonica. He was formerly in the employ of the Beds. County Council. Pte. Charles Eddy (Bedfords), eldest son of Mr. Daniel Eddy, has been wounded. Trooper Harold Matthews, Beds Yeomanry, Lce.-corpl. Bruce Huckle, 12th Lancers, and Pte. Ernest Willmore, 4th Beds, visited their relatives on Sunday. Corpl. Durstan, Footballer's Battalion, has so far recovered from his wound as to be able to keep goal for Queen's Park Rangers. He was severely tested in the match against Luton.
Sapper Frank Harding, R.E., who is at Basrah, with the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, has written to Mrs. Matthews:- "I am always pleased to hear some news from Clophill. You would scarcely believe how our boys talk of the happy times we all spent in your cosy little village, and how they all wish and wish they were back again. Some day,I suppose, We shall have the opportunity, and I expect we have changed so much that you would hardly recognise any of us. They say these Eastern climates make young men into old ones, so I hope we don't stay here too long. I am not tired of being young, yet - not likely. I was sorry to hear of the death of Sergt-Major Burke; he was a jolly decent chap, one of the best. Sergt-Major Davis has been invalid to India, and now Jack Ball is acting Sergt-Major. You would scarcely know the company now. There is a big difference since we the Sunday we left Clophill. We all remember that day. There are two very nice Y.M.C.A.'s here, where tea, the favourite drink, is made, and buns sold at an anna a time. The one in the town is a beautiful place situated in the shade of huge palm trees. Church services are held each week, and to keep up the reputation of being a 'good boy', I occasionally go. Last night they had a miniature cinema show, which was quite good. Haynes Park seems to have changed a lot since the old en times. We were lucky not to stay thee, weren't we? I don't think we would mind now, it would seem like being in heaven."
Trooper Harold Gibson, Royal Irish Lancers, son of P.c. Gibson, arrived home on Saturday having obtained ten day's leave from France, where he has served for over a year. For some time he has been attached to the Machine Gun Corps, but has lately joined his regiment. He has been present at much of the recent fighting on the Somme. He is looking very fit and well.
On Monday evening a memorial service for four Clophill lads who have lately fallen in France was held. The men were Corpl. C. Gudgin, and Privates H. White, B. Well, and H. Diggins. The church was crowded, and many relatives of the fallen soldiers were present. Psalm xc was chanted, and special hymns sung. The sermon was preached by the Rev. J.S. Sherrell, who made touching references to the courage and heroism of our men at the front, and their willing sacrifice for home and country. At the close the Dead March in Saul was played, whilst the large congregation remained standing.
Corpl. Farrier William Cole, of the Lancers, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cole, was home from Dublin last week on final leave. He was formerly in the employ of Mr. Arthur Cakebread as shoeing-smith. Corpl. Jesse Titmas, R.A.M.C., writes that he has arrived safely at his destination. Corpl. George Bone (Bedfords), son of Mr. James Bone, of the Homestead, who was wounded early in the campaign, and was sent to England for some months, writes that he is now quite well. Pte. Harry Upton is in robust health. The rumour that he was killed by shell fire is untrue. Pte. Bertram Harris (Bedfords) has had some very narrow escapes in the firing line, but has so far emerged unscathed.
Lieut. Goate has gone to Salonica.
Trooper Harry Gibson, Royal Irish Lancers, has returned to France after his leave at home.
Quartermaster-Sergt. H. Wootton, D.C.M.,returned to France on Friday, being accorded a hearty send-off from the local post office. Pte. William Garner, Royal West Kent Regiment, has arrived in France. His musical talent made him a universal favourite.
Trooper Herbert Whittemore, E.A.R.E., son of Mr. and Mrs. James Whittemore, has been home on final leave.
Lance-Corpl. Bruce Huckle was home on leave last week. He has been transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.
At the Parish Room the voluntary services of the Misses Goodall, and other ladies in entertaining and providing for visiting soldiers are highly appreciated.
Corpl. George Bone, Beds. Regiment, has written his thanks for the parcels which he and Pte. H. Harris have received. They had just come out of the trenches, where they had been for a considerable time, and were now having a well-earned and needed rest.
Pte. Wm. Richardson, Bedfordshire Regiment, who has been in France since the commencement of the war, having seen several years' active service previously in South Africa is still a martyr to rheumatism, but hopes to render his services as a mechanic. His brother Percy, is in the firing line, and was trained at Ampthill Park.
Pte. Arthur Richardson (Bedfords), who was badly wounded in April and taken prisoner, has just written to his wife, informing her that he only just able to walk about the ward at Karthausurgasse Hospital. He says the nurses are exceptionally kind, and that he receives every attention.
Pte. J. Blackburn, Beds. Regiment, writes:- I have just come out of Boulogne Hospital, where I have been treated for diphtheria. From an eminence I saw good old England, and I expect that is all I shall see of her until this wicked war is over, unless I am fortunate to go on leave. You must excuse this short epistle as the shells are falling thick around us. I will write again soon, but in the meantime send me all the Clophill news you can. Kindly remember me to all the boys.
Corporal Charles Langley, R.F.A., has recently been promoted full Corporal, and his Commanding Officer has recommended him for the Military Medal for gallantry on the field of battle.
Pte. John Langley, Royal Warwickshires, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Langley, Acton House, Felton, Northumberland, was partially buried in a shell crater for upwards of twenty hours. He escaped without a scratch.
Captain Harnessey and Major Maxwell have been in residence at the "Laurels" and "Clophill Barns" respectively, for Christmas.