Gwyn Street [BorB/K2/5a]
Wednesday 5th August 1914: With the failure of the Kaiser and his ministers to accept Belgian neutrality a state of war now exists between this country and
and its ally the Austro-Hungarian Empire. With our brave allies the French and
the Russians, not to mention our stout colonies all over the World we must put
an end to Prussian militarism once and for all. Germany
The county has been a hive of activity as men prepare for war. Our territorials, the 5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, who only returned from camp on Monday morning have been mobilised. The order came through to the captains of the various companies at 6.15 last night and the captains notified their men to be at Battalion Headquarters in
this morning at ten o’clock. By ten minutes to nine most men were present,
together with a crowd of leave-taking wives and children. A and H Companies
were billeted at the roller skating rink.
All eight of the battalion’s companies were expected in by the end of the day. The men are to
be paid as if they had been at camp all week in addition to their wages as
members of the Regular Army from today. Bedford
There is a sense of camaraderie amongst the men who are making the best of things. As they passed through the town in full marching order, with rucksack, haversack, water bottle, entrenching tool, rifle, bayonet and ammunition case they looked a workmanlike body.
The Luton and Ampthill Companies of the 5th Territorials arrived in
shortly after one o’clock. Bedford Luton at once marched to the Goldington Road schools. Ampthill went
first to the Gwyn Street Headquarters and after a short rest they, too, found
their way to the Goldington Road
schools. Every man had answered the King’s call and the Company could have
brought recruits along with them. They are extremely pleased and proud of their
send off from Ampthill where the town band headed the march to the station and
the crowd turned out en masse to give them a rousing farewell. This Company
specialises in signalling and will supply the signalling section to the East
Anglian Division in addition to the
regimental signallers. E Company is 122 strong and has a section at Shefford 29
strong, and another at Olney [Buckinghamshire] 27 strong. These arrived earlier
in the day.
The South Bedfordshire detachment had a grand send-off from
The streets were so thickly crowded with the cheering mass that the men had the
greatest difficulty in keeping their formation. The Red Cross Band headed the
march and the scene at the station was indescribable. Every man answered the
roll call. Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard sent one company and Luton supplies three. The Luton
non-commissioned officers brought along with them twenty recruits, all of whom
were army time-expired men. They say they could have taken 100 recruits.
The last of the companies to arrive was that from Biggleswade, in company with a good few reservists. They at once made for the
Street schools which will be their temporary
This morning the men were paid their bounty of £1 for camp and the second week’s full camp pay although only a short period of it had been served. The same day the increased pay as units in the mobilised army commenced. Kit and medical examination took place and the men made themselves very much at home in their new surroundings. Blankets had not arrived and it was expected that the men would sleep in their overcoats.
Each man is expected to bring his first day’s rations with him on mobilisation. After the first day the army commissariat authorities takes over the responsibility. Neglect of or ignorance of this order caused many to skirmish round or go without, according to the state of his or his friends’ purse, and raids on shops in the localities of where the out of town men were stationed cleared them out. The
men were permitted to billet at home. Bedford
Source: Bedfordshire Times 7th August 1914
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