WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, May 1918

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.

May 1918

The Ampthill Platoon of Volunteers went into camp at Luton Hoo on Saturday, 18 May. The men attending paraded in full kit and entrained at Ampthill Midland Station.

The Military Medal has been awarded to Signaller Charles Tansley (Middlesex Regiment) of Woburn Street. Signaller Tansley, with two comrades, held a forward post for several days against the Germans. This is the fifth Ampthill lad to be awarded the Military Medal, the others being: Corporal Guy S. Martin, Sergeant Richard H. Wheeler, Corporal James Hall and Sergeant Fred Gibbs.

Ampthill Command Depot

About 60 men of the R.A.M.C. are now under canvas in Ampthill Great Park. Dr. Scott and Dr. Glasgow have arrived at the Command Depot to cope with the increasing number of convalescents, and the R.A.M.C. staff have also been augmented.

An exciting cricket match was held on the afternoon of Saturday, 18th May between the Ampthill Command Depot and strong team from the Army Service Corps. The visitors were all out for 57 runs, and the Depot went on to score 64 runs thanks to the all-round excellence of the team’s batting.

That evening Private T. Simpson of the Hertfordshire Regiment was gravely injured when cycling home from the Depot. Private Simpson came down Brewery Lane and lost control of the machine and, gathering speed, it dashed with terrible force into the wall at the other side of Bedford Street. Dr Garner attended the scene. The Park ambulance conveyed the injured man to Kempston Military Hospital where he succumbed on Friday, 24th May to the injuries.

On Saturday, 25th May a draft left the Command Depot for the Front. They were given a hearty send-off by the Command Depot band.

Canadian Forestry Corps

There is news that the Ampthill Mill has claimed a record for cutting more timber than any other Mill of its size in England.

On May 9th a grand concert was given by the “Whizz Bangs” at the Y.M.C.A. Hut on the Pines, which was well-received. The audience joined in by singing “O Canada” and the evening closed with the National Anthem.

The first baseball match to be held in Ampthill took place on Monday, 20th May. The 125th Canadian Forestry Corps arrived from Woburn to take on the 126th Corps in an exciting game. The Ampthill Canadians claimed the victory by 22 tries to 18.

News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

This month the war has claimed the lives of six men who trained at the Ampthill Camp.


The Bedfordshire Standard. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.

Ampthill Parish Magazine
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
RBL Roll of Honour
The National Archives
Bedsatwar blog
Bedsathome blog
Red Cross
Ampthill’s Fallen – by John 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 31 May 2018….

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.

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.

To remember that amazing day and the memories it went onto craft, here is a free copy of the book “Stencilling Tommy’s Footprints” – click to download.

2 thoughts on “WWI – Ampthill Command Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, May 1918

  1. John Norris

    I think the 2nd paragraph for May 1918 refers to my grandfather Charles Tansley (not Transley) of Woburn Street Ampthill who was a private in the 1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment. He was awarded a Military Medal for action at Meteren on 17th April 1918. This involved repairing the lines under heavy shellfire. I have in my possession a parchment certificate referring to this and his Military Medal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ste H Post author

      Thanks John, have checked the source newspaper report and you are correct. The typo has been corrected. If you email me at ‘hartleyhare135@gmail.com’ I will send the Bedfordshire Standard excerpt. Regards, Stephen



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