The Royal Field Artillery at Hemel Hempstead
In London the Territorials of the 2nd London Division assembled and prepared to move to their war stations - which were centred on St Albans. The Royal Field Artillery were to move to Hemel Hempstead By Monday, 10th August, an advance party of officers were looking for billets for both men and horses. By the end of the week they had requisitioned many buildings including the Town Hall and the Corn Exchange in the High Street, the Brotherhood Hall, and Boxmoor Hall. Open areas such as Gadebridge Park, the Old Recreation Ground and the adjoining fields of Hand Post Farm were got ready to receive the Gunners. The bulk of the Gunners arrived in the evening of 16th August.
A summary of their initial dispositions
The headquarters staff of the 2nd London Division divided West Hertfordshire between the different brigades' infantry and each area was further subdivided . The 5th Brigade R.F.A. was based around Hemel Hempstead High Street and Gadebridge Park. Their headquarters was in the Town Hall and Dr Faulder's surgery was in the Card Room in the Hemel Hempstead Institute at 48, High Street . Initially at least, some of the horse lines were in Gadebridge Park. The 13th Battery had a cook house in or near St Mary's Hall, George Street, and most households in the town would have had soldiers billeted with them. Some of the units were billeted in the Gade valley as far north as Great Gaddesden.
The 6th Brigade horses and guns in Handpost Farm.
The 6th Brigade occupied Marlowes, and the roads around the Midland Station south of Queen Street (now Queensway). The Brigade headquarters were in St Paul's Church School, with horse lines on Hand Post Farm. Lieutenant Colonel Machugh was probably at the Midland Hotel, while Dr Welch's surgery was in the Locke's stables at No. 1, Christchurch Road. Major Gordon was billeted with the Locke's and the 16th Battery had a cookhouse at the White House, in Marlowes, which may also have served as their headquarters. The 17th Battery's headquarters were in the Congregational Manse in Alexandra Road. [The picture shows some of the commandeered carts they arrived with.]
The 7th Brigade occupied Boxmoor with horse lines on the Moor. The 18th Battery appears to have been around the Heath Park area, with some horses stabled at Edney Brothers in London Road, which were later moved to Lawn Park. The 19th Battery appears to have been at Bovingdon.
The 7th Brigade Ammunition Column is known to have used stables at Boxmoor House in Box Lane, Chaulden House, Green End, Gravel Hill and Northridge. Second Lieutenant Pilditch was initially billeted at the Heath Park Hotel, then in an allegedly haunted room at Heath Farm. He later moved to the Fishery Inn, and finally stayed in Mrs Dunbar's private house in St John's Road. He also spent a short time in a cottage in Bovingdon. The 8th Brigade was based in Apsley, with the 21st Battery quartered at Shendish.
Page created October 2005