1. Arrival at Harpenden - Men of the 6th Battalion marching down Station Road, near Calton Bank, August 1914. Note the horse and cart going up the hill.
Michael Briggs - SF5-MB
2. Arrival of 1st of the 5th or 1st of the 6th Battalion, Notts & Derby Regiment, August 1914, Station Road, Harpenden
LHS archives, SF scan 0018
3. 1st of the 6th Battalion, N Staffordshire Regiment, marching along Leyton Road, Harpenden, probably autumn 1914
LHS archives - SF scan0013
4. 6th Battalion - marching along St Albans Road, Harpenden,1914
Michael Briggs - SF6-MB
5. 1/6 battalion, N Staffordshire Regiment, marching out of Rothamsted Park, Harpenden, probably autumn 1914
LHS archives - SF scan 0014
6. "The Staffords" surrounding the regimental postman, High Street, Harpenden, probably late 1914.
LHS archives, copy of Skillman postcard
7. Kings Retreat, Harpenden High St, winter 1914, possibly Territorials of 46th Division.
LHS archives - SF scan 0009
8. Probably Territorials of 46th Division, marching along High Street, near the Cock Pond, Harpenden, August 1914 - NOT on Harpenden Common as the postcard indicates.
LHS archives - SF scan 0016
9. Church parade on Harpenden Common, opposite 'The Director's House', West Common.
LHS archives - SF 0026
10. Military funeral, High Street, Harpenden, Winter 1914-15
LHS archives - SF 0028
11. Burial of a soldier in St Nicholas Parish Church graveyard, during the 1914-18 war.
Reproduced from 'Truly Thankful' by Betty Walthew.
12. Soldiers with bicycles, at the corner of Sun Lane and High Street, Harpenden - unidentified regiment.
LHS archives, SF scan 0015
13. Territorials exercising with Lee-Enfield rifles, Harpenden Common, Aug 1914 - note the cows strolling past!
LHS archives, SF scan 0017
14. Soldiers on Harpenden Common, resting? What is going on behind the bushes?
LHS archives - SF 0027
15. 2 - 6th Battalion - in Harpenden, or possibly Watford, 1914
Michael Briggs - SF2-MB
16. Machine gun section, unidentified regiment, on Harpenden Common.
LHS archives - SF 0027
17. 6th Battalion - transport lines on Harpenden Common, 1914
Michael Briggs - SF10-MB
18. Officers riding on Harpenden Common - c.1914
LHS archives - SF 0030
19. Basil Derbyshire on Topsy, possibly on Leyton Green, Harpenden, 1914
Michael Briggs - SF13-MB
20. 6th Battalion, on Harpenden Common ('Rosemary', Milton Road, in background) 1914
Michael Briggs - SF9-MB
21. Bread delivery cart in Lower High Street, Harpenden - men of N Staffordshire regiment and scout volunteers
LHS archives - SF 0020
22. North Staffordshire men distributing bread, Church Green, Harpenden, 1914.
LHS archives, SF scan 0018
23. Nurses and medics in Rothamsted Park, 1914. Mrs Violet Kelynack is in the centre of this and the following two pictures.
24. Staff and medics (?) outside The Institute, Harpenden, 1914
25. Staff and patients, outside The Institute, Harpenden, 1914.
26. YMCA volunteers and clergy, Harpenden c.1914
27. 7th Battalion, YMCA volunteers, possibly in Harpenden, 1914
Michael Briggs - SF12-MB
28. Men of the 5th Battalion, on the terrace of 'Rosemary', the house Henry Tylston Hodgson had built in 1908, and made available for billeting - 1914-15. It became a hospital from October 1915 to May 1916 when the troops left Harpenden, and again from March 1917 until February 1919, it was an outpost of Napsbury Hospital.
Michael Briggs - SF4 MB
29. 6th Battalion, B company, outside Jubilee Cottage, Tennyson Road, 1914
Michael Briggs - SF7-MB
30. Men from 1_4 or 1_5 bttn Lincolnshire Reg, poss. Cravells Road, Harpenden
LHS archives - SF 0002
31. Territorials with Imperial Services badges, 46th Division, in Cravells Road, (or more probably in Vaughan Road) Harpenden, c.1914.
LHS archives - SF 0004
32. Soldier from Notts & Derby Regiment, possibly in Cravells Road, Harpenden, 1914
LHS archives - SF 0007
33. Men of the 1/4th or 1/5th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, possibly in Cravells Road, Harpenden, c.1914
LHS archives - SF 0023
34. Charlie Knight of 11 Cravells Road, Harpenden, who served in the New Zealand army, during the 1914-18 war.
LHS archive - SF 0032
35. Two territorial men, billeted in Cravells Road, Harpenden, c.1914
LHS archive - SF 0033
36. Soldier from 1/4th or 1/5th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment - in a formal garden?
LHS archives - SF 0006
37. Private Charles Robert Gunn, 1/5th N Staffordshire Regiment, c.1914
LHS archive - SF 0031
38. Territorial men with young girl - perhaps a family studio portrait?
39. North Staffordshire men, manning the Searchlight battery on Harpenden Common, 1917-18.
LHS archives - SF 0021
40. Possibly Rifle Corps or men of Searchlight battery on Harpenden Common, 1917-18
LHS archive - SF 0010
41. Searchlight battery on Harpenden Common - 1917-18.
LHS archives - SF scan 0025
42. Probably a school training unit.
LHS archives - SF 0003
43. Perhaps a studio portrait of a school cadet?
LHS archives - SF 0005
44. 6th Battalion officers, at Braintree, February 1915. They had possibly moved from billets in Harpenden.
Michael Briggs - SF17-MB
45 Officers of 1/8 in Harpenden, November 1914.
Michael Briggs - SF18-MB
46. 2 - 6th Battalion - in Harpenden, or Watford? 1914
Michael Briggs - SF1-MB
47. 2 - 6th Battalion, NCOs in Casiobury Park, Watford, 1915
Michael Briggs - SF3-MB
48. 6th Battalion - probably camped in Watford, 1915
Michael Briggs - SF8-MB
49. Robin Hood Rifles, location unidentified
Michael Briggs - SF14-MB
50. 2_6th-Derby-scheme-men - Territorials, probably in Watford 1915
Michael Briggs - SF15-MB
51. Men of the 8th Battalion, probably at Westoning, near Luton, summer 1915
Michael Briggs - SF16-MB
52 - Notts & Derby Territorial, showing Imperial Service Badge
Michael Briggs - re SF16-MB -
“Harpenden is further revolutionised by having been made into a military depot during the past six weeks. 5000 territorials have been billeted on the inhabitants to the great excitement and considerable inconvenience of housewives.” (TJ p.135 – 26 September 1914)
This is one of several references in Theodora’s Journals (TJ)- extracts from the diaries of Theodora Wilson who lived in Rivers Lodge, overlooking Harpenden Common. “There is continual marching and drilling on the common. The club-rooms are occupied and tents arranged for recreation and the whole parish is in a ferment.” (TJ, p.135). She reports that “A field hospital has been rigged up in the Park – for which Violet Kelynack and another nurse are responsible,” (TJ, p.135) and she writes a year later of her sister Rhoda having “just had a fortnight’s training at the St Albans Red Cross Hospital for the troops billeted in the neighbourhood and she hopes during the winter to help in our Harpenden St John’s Ambulance Brigade in the hospital in the old Institute which all last winter was worked … by Violet Kelynack” (TJ, Sept 1915, p.141) – see pictures 23-25 below.
Later in the war she reports that “At Harpenden we now have a searchlight on the common and one anti-aircraft gun. … I must confess the concentration of searchlights when there is a raid is a very magnificent spectacle and all through the winter [1917-18] we were constantly calling each other to watch the beams of light sweep the heavens.” (TJ, p.155) – see pictures 39-41 below.
The collection of photographs in the Gallery below has been drawn together from postcards and other prints in the Society’s archives, and from images collected by Michael Briggs, who has spent many years researching the Sherwood Foresters. He has helped identify some of the units to which the men belonged, as they passed through Harpenden during the early years of the war. He has published his ongoing work on the various battalions known as the Sherwood Foresters at http://derbyshireterritorials.wordpress.com/. This traces the fate of the many young men – some of whom posed for photos outside their billets and took part in training exercises on the Common – who had little understanding of what lay in store for them.
The Gallery follows a sequence:
- 1-8 Arrival and marching through Harpenden
- 9-11 Regimental services, funerals
- 12-20 Exercises in and around Harpenden
- 21-22 Provisioning – particularly bread
- 23-25 Nursing and medical services
- 26-27 YMCA
- 28-38 Individual portraits, men outside their billets
- 39-41 Searchlight on Harpenden Common (1917-18)
- 42-51 Groups, some in Cassiobury Park, Watford.
Much research work remains to be done: on how the billeting was organised; provisions for such a large increase in population; how the officers and men were accommodated; the support of volunteers, as mentioned by Theodora Wilson – “All through the winter we were asked to knit socks and mufflers for our men at the front, and there were constant demands for help in all sorts of new ways.” (TJ, Sept 1915, p.141)
Other pages describe the medical and nursing services and the use of Henry Tylston Hodgson‘s house, Rosemary, as a hospital, after having earlier been offered for billeting (see 28.) Many local organisations were involved in the war effort, including the Rifle Club.
We hope this gallery and our exhibitions will encourage people to make links with family and other stories.
To view the Gallery, click on the first (or selected) picture and then move to next image, or return to the ‘menu’. You can add comments or further information about any of the images – or about the whole page at the end of the Gallery.