Haynes Park

Haynes Park was one of six depots of the Signal Service Training Centre, of the Royal Engineers (Signal Service), and carried out technical training.

The SSTC was created in Bedfordshire in 1915 by the amalgamation of the Signal Depot (Aldershot) and Reserve Signal Companies. It had a number of depots, including Haynes Park which was responsible for riding, driving, saddlers, switchboard operators and the cadet battalion.

Bedford A depot was the recruits depot, Bedford B was for signalmen, field linesmen and trench work, and Bedford C for operators. The SSTC headquarters was moved to Bedford in October 1917.

The Bedfordshire Times and Independent of Friday, 7 July 1916 reported, in news from Wilstead, that the men who had been encamped near the Cross Roads left on Friday, and on Tuesday some of the Welsh signallers from Bedford and Haynes Park were drafted here.

Haynes Park army camp achieved some notoriety in 1919 when, on 9 May, a young girl from Jersey called Nellie Rault, serving with Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC), was murdered in woods near the camp.

There was a full article in The Sunday Post of 18 May 1919.

The crime has never been solved, and there is much more in the account Liz Walton has written about Nellie’s background, murder and subsequent events

One hundred years later, in 2019, Neville Memorials of Bedford undertook a project to restore Nellie’s grave in St Mary’s Churchyard in Haynes.

Haynes Park, near Bedford, during the Great War when there was an army camp in the grounds
Haynes Park, near Bedford, during the Great War when there was an army camp in the grounds
The army camp in the grounds of Haynes Park, near Bedford
The army camp in the grounds of Haynes Park, near Bedford
Winter at Haynes Park camp
Winter at Haynes Park camp
Haynes Park in the 21st century
Haynes Park in the 21st century

The Bedfordshire Times and Independent of 19 March 1920 carried a report of  the sale by auction of the extensive camp at Haynes Park. It includes a brief but interesting reference to the establishment of the camp in October 1914, and a detailed list of the camp buildings included in the auction.

The Great War

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