WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, February 1917

The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot (1914-16) and No.9 Command Depot (1916-1919) that followed. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

February 1917 – a detachment of the Royal Engineers Signals Company is presently stationed in Ampthill. A successful whist drive and concert has taken place at the National School in Bedford Street, with several of the prizes kindly given by people in the town.


Bedfordshire Standard – February 2, 1917

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front 

This month 36 Ampthill Recruits have been killed – 34 of them on the Western Front. The main action – map –  happened on February 11 at Miraumont near the River Ancre in Northern France. Two companies were engaged to attack the German positions. At Zero Hour 9pm the allied artillery laid down a barrage lifting gradually until 9:30pm. The Bedfords’ then advanced but were temporarily held up on the left flank by barbed wire and heavy machine gun fire. This was dealt with and by early hours of February 12 the objective gained, line straightened out and posts consolidated. Source: 4th Battalion War Diary

Two Ampthill recruits – Private West and Pateman – have been killed in Iraq where they were serving with Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. On June 26, 1916 these men were transferred from the Camp with 50 others to serve with the South Wales Borderers, and issued with new Service Number.


The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog


Next installment to be published on 31 March 2017….

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)

Care is taken to ensure accuracy – please accept my apologies if the content contains any errors.

BUY: Stencilling Tommy’s Footprints

This 48 page book tells the story of how Tommy’s Footprints came about and notes the many people who have contributed and connected. There are just 150 individually numbered books. A unique gift.

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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.

£6 (inc p&p). Please email hartleyhare135@gmail.com to order by PayPal or BACS transfer. The book is also available from Ampthill Town Council, The Hub and The Stationery Boutique in Ampthill while stocks last.

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