WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Firing Ranges

The Bedfordshire Training Depot used two firing ranges. In Ampthill Park there was a 30 yard miniature range where the recruits practiced with reduced calibre .22 Lee-Enfield Rifles. The musketry instructor was Second-Lieutenant HL. Farnell.

1915.10.8 BT - miniature range

The miniature range, Ampthill Park


Ampthill Park – the remains of the miniature range firing butt (2016)


The main firing range was at Millbrook and dates from the 1870s. It is likely the range was upgraded to meet the 1908 British Army standard. In the aerial photograph the butts are clearly visible (centre left). Recruits went on to use this range once they mastered the basics of weaponry. Millbrook Proving Ground now occupies the land.

RAF aerial photograph (1947)


The Bedfordshire Standard. The Bedfordshire Times & Independent. These original broadsheets are part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.

Central Bedfordshire Council, Historic Environment Record

Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)


BUY: Ampthill Camp WWI Centenary Postcard

This special postcard commemorates the centenary of the WWI Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16). Limited edition: 500

Proceeds will help to fund a book about the Ampthill Camp ~ profits to benefit the charity Combat Stress which was founded in 1919 to help WWI veterans deal with shell shock.

£2 (inc p&p). Please email hartleyhare135@gmail.com to order by PayPal or BACS transfer.


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