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Bedfordshire WW1


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Hi Chris,

Hope you're well. My main observation regarding your map and plots is that the war memorial in your photograph is not on the Embankment, but is actually the one opposite the main gate of what was Kempston Barracks (now 'The Keep'). Unfortunately this location is off your map.

A very minor (and overly picky?) point is that the red dot on Denmark Street should really be halfway along the street, rather than at the top end!

The map's a great idea and will be a really useful tool for anyone who wants to orientate themselves with where the images were created, but who is unfamiliar with Bedford.

Hugh McArthur (the 1/8th A&SH soldier I'm researching) was billeted at 70 George Street, just off Castle Road and a couple of streets away from Denmark Street.

I have finished reading McConachie's book and very interesting it is too, so thanks very much for the lead.

All the best

Richard

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Chris,

Sorry ... forgot to say that you're right with Bunyan! Howard's statue is in St Paul's square, at the other end of the High Street.

There used to be underground public lavatories at the end of De Parys Avenue, close to Bunyan's Statue. One morning, the local residents awoke to discover painted footprints leading from the top of Bunyan's plinth to the Gents and back again!! The fact that Bedford School is just a stone's throw away probably has something to do with it. I don't know whether the pranksters responsible for the Bunyan job were the same ones who (so it is said) painted 'Frying Tonight' in very large white letters across the main School's roof.

The Loyal North LAncs funeral procession is crossing Cauldwell Street railway bridge just on the junction with Prebend Street. It's at the bottom of your map, so you may be able to squeeze it in! Follow Cauldwell Street, past the Hospital (in the background of the funeral photo) and about 3/4 of a mile-ish further on you reach Kempston Barracks.

All the best

Richard

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I will revise and resubmit!

Unfortunately it appears I merged down all the layers so I will have to start from scratch.(DOH!)

I could use a smaller scale map that would have kemston and some of the other locations on but I fear it may than be less useful. I am not sure why I was thinking the war memorial was there unless I was remembering the Boer war memorial which is down by the town bridge isn't it? I will also move the Denmark St dot too and perhaps see if I can add in some of the Russell park sermon pics.

was it decided where the marching men/pavillion picture was Bedford Park? Bedford School grounds? elesewhere?

Now away to work.

Chris

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Hi Martin.

I seem to remember from correspondences with you when I was in Brunei, that you have a conection with Malaysia? So a belated Selamat Datang to the forum.

Here is another unknown location, obviously territorial RAMC and early but where? Could it be the building in St John's?

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k116/ras...ning/scan-1.jpg

John

This could be one of three places by the shape and look of the buildings. It could be St John's Church, another thought is St Leonard's and the third is Elstow, by the Bunyan Meeting Hall. So many places have disappeared now that it may be none of these whole areas such as those where County Hall is built and the Greyfriars area went years ago so these are mere guesses.

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Hi Chris,

Hope you're well. My main observation regarding your map and plots is that the war memorial in your photograph is not on the Embankment, but is actually the one opposite the main gate of what was Kempston Barracks (now 'The Keep'). Unfortunately this location is off your map.

The memorial is definitely the Beds & Herts Regimental Memorial see

Roll of Honour - Bedfordshire - Beds & Herts Regiment Memorial

Many of those who died are buried in Bedford Cemetery. I have tried to photograph most of the graves for the Roll of Honour site and these can be found at:

Roll of Honour - Bedford Cemetery

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Hi Martin,

Thanks for the pics I will try and post them. I knew what the memorial was - just confused where. I'll fix it tonight....this is just a sneaky peek at the forum from work!

On the roll of honor page would it be possible to correct the link from My greatgrandfather's grave pic (James McDonald)? My hosting site changed its URL so the link on the roll of honour site is from the picture of his grave (many thanks again) is broken. it should be www.llcc.edu/cmcdonald/jamesmcdonald/jamesmcdonald.htm

Chris

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TRYING AGAIN. Because I enlarged the area I had to reduce the quality to get it to post. :angry:

I moved Denmark street down

Added a Russel Park Sermon pic

Extended the map to try to include enough of Kempston for the War Memorial - not sure how far down it is (no star)

Added a star for Richard's man's billet (do you have a picture of the indivdual)

Added one of the WH Allens pics (not sure on the location of the works so left out star)

Added the Loyal North Lancs Funeral

This time I think I have saved it in an editable format so if I am way off again let me know and I'll go for MkIII <_< .

Chris

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Hi Martin,

Thanks for the pics I will try and post them. I knew what the memorial was - just confused where. I'll fix it tonight....this is just a sneaky peek at the forum from work!

On the roll of honor page would it be possible to correct the link from My greatgrandfather's grave pic (James McDonald)? My hosting site changed its URL so the link on the roll of honour site is from the picture of his grave (many thanks again) is broken. it should be www.llcc.edu/cmcdonald/jamesmcdonald/jamesmcdonald.htm

Chris

The link has now been repaired and I have added it to the cemetery page as well.

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Martin

Thanks for your thoughts on the RAMC unit location.

Chris

The map looks good, I am thinking of putting all this informtion on a web site, perhaps including a map that has the locations marked with links to the pictures.

Here is another view of the High St, again outide the Cross Keys. This time a Terriorial Artillary unit.

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k116/ras...ritorialArt.jpg

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Web Map is an excellent idea - that was my initial thought (avoids silly little pictures and overlaps) but I ran out of time and proved not to have the requisite html skills!. I think that would be the ideal solution and would make an excellent resource.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi,

Do you have any knowledge of hospitals in Bedford?

I have just received some information about my grandfather which has caused confusion.

According to his battalion museum curator, he joined up after March 1917, but we have "wedding photos" with him in uniform in 1916.

Looking more closely at the photos shows the right regiment, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but one of them has a label at the bottom that looks like the photographer - Alice Keane (not sure about the Keane), Bedford.

He was married in Manchester !

I suspect that the photos were taken later, possibly with my grandmother wearing her wedding dress and things got confused later on.

My mother remembers that my grandmother visited him in Aberdeen, Harrogate and Bedford - the first 2 places were where he was in hospital after being gassed and I now suspect that Bedford was a 3rd place.

Mother remembers the name Dame Alice Street.

Was there a hospital there and does anyone know anything about it, indeed why would soldiers be moved around the country like this?

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There is a Dame Alice Street in Bedford. It is right in the area where lots of the pictures are taken - I have tried to attach a map to indicate. Bedford North-Wing Hostpital is relatively close. (as are the Prison and the Cemetrey!) I am not sure what there is in Dame Alice Street that links it unless there were places to stay there for people visiting the Hospital which seems possible as there are what were Alms Houses there if my memory serves me correctly. I think the old GPO was there too. I am doing this at some distance so perhaps someone local (Richard?) might be able to give a more satisfactory answer. I do not have an answer to your second question about moving someone around.....

Chris

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Hi Chris,

I'm not aware that there was anything medical located in Dame Alice Street, Bedford, but certainly there were / are the Alms Houses (and the old main post office, also ... The building is still there, but the PO moved just along the road in the late '70s / early '80s).

Will do some digging for more info if I get a minute, or two.

All the best

Richard

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This is a sample of how the Highland Division soldiers felt about Bedford (from a journal kept by Corporal Macewan, Ross & Cromarty Mountain Battery, 4th Highland (Mountain) Brigade, RGA (TF) as they left Bedford and the 51st Division to join the 29th Division for Gallipoli:

"At last I got into my marching order, haversack, waterbottle, canteen, coat, binoculars, revolver, ammunition, bandolier & belt. Then came the parting from the friends who had treated us so well for the last seven months. No mother could have been kinder and could have done more than Mrs. Tattam did for us. It was all over at last anyhow and Fred helped us up to the camp with our bags. After the usual roll call and humbug we started off in fours for the station. The boys who were too young to accompany us to the front, did so to the station. One of the faithful little chaps, better drivers or chums one could find nowhere, carried my bag down while another took my coat and blankets.

Our ammunition column were leaving the same night so we gave them a hand to get their cattle and stores on to the train. Then we were lined up on the platform and allotted our compartments in the train. On the way down the crowds were pressing on us from all sides and our ranks were broken more than once. At last we got into the train, then our friends on the platform were allowed to come up to the siding and shake hands with us through the door. Here we bade Mr. Tattam, Cecil and Mrs. Page good-bye. After a lot of shifting up and down the train at last left good old Bedford behind. As long as we were in the town the paths & road by the sides of the rails were crowded with people. I think we were fairly popular in Bedford."

They never forgot Bedford and the people who were so kind to them.

Mike Morrison

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  • 1 month later...

John,

Happy New Year!

The location of the second photo is Bedford School's playing field. The photo is taken looking North towards Park Avenue. The trees in the distance are within the the park itself and the building in the distance, behind the leading runner (No 270) is the Headmaster's house, which fronts on to Park Avenue and backs onto the playing field.

The photographer has his back to the imposing main school building and De Parys Avenue runs parallel with the field on his left and Pemberley Avenue on his right.

I'm sure that the first photo is also taken within Bedford School's grounds, looking towards the playing fields and Park Avenue with buildings on De Parys on the left hand side. I suggest that the shot was taken quite close to the Burnaby Road entrance and closer to the main school building than the one of the Officers' Race.

Great images, particularly for an Old Bedfordian. From my school days I recall the hand-me-down stories of Highlanders being camped on the School field and using the area for organised recreation. There was also the tale of the ghostly piper whose music supposedly could / can sometimes be heard emanating from the top of the School's Great Hall tower.

All the very best,

Richard

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John,

This must be the old Bedford School cricket pavilion which was replaced in the '20s / '30s with the one that's there now.

Another location pinned down!

I have contacted the school via e-mail to see if they have any more information in archives and will let you know how I get on.

Regards

Richard

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Thanks again Richard.

I look forward to any further info from the school.

Cheers

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  • 3 months later...

John - Great pics of Biggleswade, thank you. It is strange to see it so empty and not full of cars, buses and the war memorial. Charles

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Hi Charles.

Glad you like them.

Certainly different to now, as you say.

Cheers.

John.

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Hi John,

More great pics - thanks for posting them.

Here's one of a couple of Gordons I picked up recently.

Photographers Mark is C A Solomons.

Chris

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Nice picture Chris.

C A Solomons were at 131a Midland Road Bedford.

I have some more highlanders taken in Bedford but they are not available at the moment.

They are in Bedford and I am in Australia!

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Well I will be passing through Bedford this summer if they are lonely..... :D

Have you heard from Richard (piper) lately?

He sent me a list of the Highland brigade casualties whilst they were in Bedford that someone at the Bed. Scots Society had compiled, I have posted them on my embryonic gordons site.

Actually Richard and I had discussed meeting up to try and walk/photograph some of the sites from this thread during the time I will be there, with a view to that before/after map we discussed earlier in the thread

Thanks for posting these pictures - they are always excellent.

Chris

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What a superb thread John and all. Keep them coming!! :D

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Hi Chris.

Yes Richard and I both were bidding on a picture on ebay recently. we did correspond.

If I am available, perhaps we can all meet up in Bedford, there are plenty of flights to UK from Kazakhstan.

I have had no time to work on the map as can be seen by the sporadic activity on this thread.

There was an article in the Spring Gallipolian about the Highland Mountain Gunners at Gallipoli. They were based at Bedford with the 51st Highland Division.

Only a passing mention of Bedford, but a couple of pictures taken there were included.

Steve.

Glad you like the pictures, you may have noticed I altered the thread title to Bedfordshire from the original Bedford so I could include all my pictures.

More to follow.

John.

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Now, THAT'S what I call a photo! Reeks of history, stories and achievements and 50 men is not a bad figure really, is it, considering what they saw and survived?! One of those "wish I was there" pics - thanks John ... B)

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