WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, August 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.

August 1917 – at No.9 Ampthill Command Depot (A.C.D.) seven men have been recognised for gallant and brave service at the Front.

13631 Lance Corporal James CULLEN (8th Norfolks) was presented with the Distinguished Conduct Medal for leading a bombing party and putting a machine gun out of action in September 1916 at Thiepval. Lance Corporal Cullen is at the A.C.D. recuperating from a gunshot wound to the left hand. [survived the war]

The following men have been awarded the Military Medal:

13646 Sergeant Oswald HAMMOND (8th Norfolks) received the Military Medal with two bars at Thiepval for capturing 20 soldiers and then holding a machine gun post for 2 days in the face of repeated attack. [survived the war]

43293 Corporal Thomas FITZGERALD (7th Bedfords) for brave actions on September 28, 1916 at Thiepval. Corporal Fitzgerald formed and led a bombing to attack the German line which drove the enemy out. In doing this he lost six men out of his party of ten. [Military records show desertion on September 18, 1918 for which Corporal Fitzgerald forfeit his service medals.]

13335 Sergeant Edward ROPER (8th Suffolks) received the Military Medal on February 17, 1917 at Grandcourt for getting his patrol across a river under heavy fire, and for rescuing a wounded man from in front of the British lines. [survived the war]

12139 Private Jack STEDMAN (7th Norfolks) received the Military Medal for brave actions under fire on August 13, 1916 as a signaller, conveying messages across open ground, despite being wounded. Private Stedman is recuperating at the A.C.D. after receiving a second gun shot wound (April 1917). [On April 13, 1918 Private Stedman was killed in action; he is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.]

13583 Private Cyril A. THOMPSON (8th Norfolks) received the Military Medal for playing an instrumental part under heavy shell fire in defeating a German counter attack on October 21-23, 1916 by keeping his Lewis machine gun at work. [Private Thompson survived the war and died on February 23, 1919 of influenza. He is buried in South Ealing Cemetery].


The Pines – last month we heard of a Government proposal to requisition and fell trees on the Cooper’s Hill Plantation to support the war effort with the supply of trench posts. On August 24, an advance party of the Canadian Forestry Corps – 40 men and 4 officers – arrived at Ampthill Midland Station. Scrub is being cleared on the Cooper’s Hill Plantation in readiness to set-up camp.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month there is news that ten Ampthill Camp boys have been killed.

  • Casualties

22796 Private Philip G. DUDLEY (19) of Newport Pagnell Killed in Action on August 2
19044 Private Fred W. HIGGINS (30) of Eaton Ford Killed in Action on August 2
22998 Private Percy J.T. BARNETT (20) of Hail Weston Killed in Action on August 10
30913 Private Frederick COLE (36) of Biggleswade Killed in Action on August 10
23140 Private Walter ODELL (32) of Sharnbrook Died on August 13
30904 Private George S. ANTHISTLE (38) of Barnet Killed in Action on August 16
41765 Rifleman James W. FOSTER (19) of Hockliffe Killed in Action on August 16
18824 Lance Corporal William G. RANDALL of Toddington Killed in Action on August 16
22938 Private John CATLIN (39) of Bedford died on August 24
30929 Private James BARNES of Brentwood Killed in Action on August 27


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

Ampthill’s Fallen (J.Hele, 2014)
Report on the Activities of the 126 Company Canadian Forestry Corps. Ampthill 1917-18 (K.Fadden)

A Review of Activities with the 126th Company Canadian Forestry Corps while stationed at Ampthill, Bedfordshire, Eng. (Sgt H. Porter, 1918)


Next instalment to be published on 30 September 2017….

Text and images copyright S.Hartley (2015-)


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

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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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