Sunday, 27 March 2016

Bedford Aviator in Lapland

Albert Hartwell

Monday 27th March 1916: Interesting news has been received of Petty Officer Albert G. Hartwell of 14, Maitland Street, Bedford, a former pupil at Ampthill Road School. He comes from a notable local aquatic family. His father was coach of Bedford Rowing Club for more than twenty years, his brothers won many prizes, and his sisters are also expert swimmers and rowers. Albert himself was cox of the Bedford Rowing Club and winner of three cups at a single Town Regatta. After leaving school he also gained flying experience, first with Mr. James Radley of Huntingdon (formerly of Bedford), and then under the tuition of Mr. Moorhouse and Mr. England, both men well known in the flying world.

Petty Officer Hartwell volunteered in September 1914 and saw action in several of the large battles of 1915. In September last year he moved to a different theatre of war, sailing for Russia with the Armoured Car Squadron under Commander Locker-Lampson, and is now with a British Naval Air Service Squadron in Lapland. In a letter to his mother he says:
“It is very cold here, but very healthy. We have some very rare appetites in this climate; we can’t half eat. I think this will suit me down to the ground … You ought to see us pulling sleighs loaded with provisions. We are on our heads nearly as much as our feet. I am quite well, and have a lot of my old pals still with jme, so am all right. We get a fair amount of hard work, and get some fun also. We are getting a football match up again today; we play in show sometimes nearly up to our knees. You never saw such a mess-up. You need not worry about the war, as far as I am concerned. I hear the Russians are doing well. These people seem a funny lot, but we are getting on with them somehow or other. The language is a proper twister. I don’t think I shall try to learn this manner of speech. French was easy compared with it. I suppose everywhere is mud in France; well, we have not any of that here, it is too cold. A ship came in with provisions yesterday; you ought to have seen the rush on the little shops after chocolate.”
The King himself has written a message of appreciation to the Armoured Car Squadrons, and Her Highness Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein has given a specially designed waistcoat to every officer and man. The Squadrons’ Commander, Oliver Locker-Lampson has written a gracious reply. Despite his absence on active service Commander Locker-Lampson continues as Member of Parliament for the Ramsey Division in Huntingdonshire, where he was elected in 1910.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 31st March 1916

No comments:

Post a Comment