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Website produced and maintained for the Hungerford Historical Association
by Hugh Pihlens.
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First World War
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Hungerford was full of troops during the First World War, when about 2,000 were billeted in the town, and a further 8,000 camped on the Common. Nearly 200 slept in the Town Hall.

 

The price paid for a bed for officers was 1s 6d, and 6d for men.

 

Among the regiments was the First Royal Scots.

 

In January 1915, a newly-formed army unit, the 180 Company, Royal Army Service Corps, Mechanical Transport, arrived in Hungerford, which was to be its mobilisation station.

 

Initially the unit was small, with one officer and 32 men, with one car, two motor-cycles and 15 lorries! The vehicles were parked in the High Street to start with, and The Croft was used as their parade ground. As the size of the unit grew, the main camp was established on the Common.

 

By July the unit was complete and fully prepared for battle. There were nearly 500 men and 109 vehicles. The whole company assembled in the High Street, and, watched and cheered by the whole town, they set off on their way to Avonmouth, bound for France.

Follow this link for more on the 180 Company, RASC (MT).

Whilst in Hungerford, the the 18th Ammunition Sub-Park unit produced one edition of what was intended to be a regular monthly magazine. They entitled it "At the Back of the Front". It includes a nice introductory letter expressing a kind thought about a creche for Hungerford, and an uncompleted poem by "Y.L.O.R.". Due to a shortage of paper, a second edition was never printed. Follow this link to see "At the Back of the Front".

 

In 1914 there was no Ministry of Health and no one had overall control of the hospitals, however the British Red Cross Society, founded in 1870 linked up with the order of St John of Jerusalem in 1909 and formed the organisation known as the Voluntary Aid Detachment or V.A.D. for short. During the War, the old National School building (42 High Street, now Dickins, Hopgood, Chidley, solicitors) was used as a convalescent hospital, for nursing wounded men who had been sent home from the Front. The building was refurbished for its new use, with three small wards and a kitchen. There were about twenty beds, and most patients were Australians based at Tidworth.
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In 1917 an air crash occurred in Hungerford and was reported in the NWN on 31 May 1917  (p7). A plane piloted by a Canadian from the RFC school at Upavon  crashed in the Constable's garden on Sat, 27 May at 8.30pm, killing the  pilot. The Constable (T W Alexander) presided over the inquest the  following Monday.

 

On Sunday 6 June 1919. The Constable, Mr Louis Beard (of the coal yard in Bridge Street), arranged with the vicar, the Rev. Tom Gray, a Public Thanksgiving Service for the Return of Peace.

 

A grand Peace Celebration Dinner was held later in the Corn Exchange.

 

Hungerford's War Memorial was built in Bridge Street. Follow this link for more on the War Memorial Dedication Service.

war_11a(w)

180 Cpy, RASC (MT)
in the Market Place, 1915

See First World War Photo Gallery

people-Munford WWI (aw)

Ernest Munford
(of Hungerford Printing Works)

people-Munford WWI (bw)

Ernest Munford
(of Hungerford Printing Works)

1st World War-050w 6 Jun 1919

Constable Louis Beard's announcement of he Public Thanksgiving Service for the Return of Peace, 6 Jun 1919.

083-war 1919(w)

Corn Exchange set out for the
Peace Celebration Dinner

 

See also:
- First World War Photo Gallery
- "At the Back of the Front" - magazine of No 18 Ammunition Sub-Park Unit, 1915
- Information on each of the names on the Bridge Street War Memorial
- Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital, 42 High Street
- Funeral of Pte Charles Appleby, Nov 1915
- Summary notes on 180 Company RASC (MT)
- Historical Record of 180 Coy. RASC (MT), 1919

Updated: 25.7.2013

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