Friday 15 April 2016

With an Entrenching Battalion

Saturday 15th April 1916: Private C Lees, formerly one of the Duke of Bedford’s Regiment(1), writing from the front says: “We are attached to the 2nd Entrenching Battalion – 35 of us from the last draft from Ampthill – but we are not certain how long we will be here, as we have to join our regiment, the 8th Bedfords, as soon as they want us. We are at present stationed about four miles from the firing line, marching up to the reserve trenches in the morning, then back again in the afternoon. German big shells and shrapnel have been bursting in the next field to where we have been working today, so you can guess that it has been a bit exciting. There is not much danger here, unless, of course, we happen to get in the way of these shells. We have to wash in a brook that runs near the camp. It is a lot different from good old Ampthill Camp out here, but not at all bad considering we are in Belgium”.

Source: Biggleswade Chronicle 7th April 1916

(1) The unofficial nickname for soldiers enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment and training at Ampthill Camp 

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