Tag Archives: Frank Stevens

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

January 1918 – The three Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) facilities in Ampthill, volunteer V.A.D. nurses and the Slipper Working Party play an important role in supporting the allied troops. Major Frank Stevens, in his capacity as County Director of Bedfordshire, has relayed an appeal for more V.A.D. helpers to come forth and offer personal service. Applications for either Nursing or General V.A.D. Service , should be addressed to the Chairman, V.A.D. Department, Devonshire House, Piccadilly, London, W.1.

1918.1.11 BS

Bedfordshire Standard – January 11, 1918


St. Andrew’s Church continues to be well-attended each Sunday evening by officers and men of the Volunteer Training Corps, the Canadian Forestry Corps, and the Ampthill Command Depot.

News of the Canadians
On January 31st His Grace, the Duke of Bedford, attended the Canadians to open the splendid Y.M.C.A Hut which they have built at the Camp. The fittings in the Hut have been tastefully crafted from off-cuts of local pine.

1918.3 APN

Ampthill Parish News (1918)


126th Canadian Forestry Corps Y.M.C.A (1918)


News of Ampthill Park recruits at the Front

There is news this month that two Ampthill Camp recruits have been killed at the Front.


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 28 February 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.

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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.

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.


WWI – Bedfordshire Training Depot in Ampthill Park – the Camp Diary, December 1914


The ‘Camp Diary’ provides an insight into the Bedfordshire Training Depot from 1914-16. Based on newspaper reports of the time.

December 1914 – In the last month The London Gazette has published notice of the officers who will be at the Bedfordshire Training Depot.

Colonel Herbrand Russell, Duke of Bedford K.G. – Colonel Commanding
Major Frank A.D. Stevens – Major, Second in Command
Captain & Hon. Major Arthur Nelson – Adjutant
Lieutenant Rupert H. Gretton – temporary Captain
Serjeant Frank Sloan – temporary Lieutenant
J.C. Hooper – temporary Quartermaster and Hon. Lieutenant

sad news. The first death of an Ampthill lad. Private Sidney Thorogood (20) of Park Hill was killed at the front on October 26. His grandmother is distraught. There is also news of Fred Pepper who was killed on November 8 at the First Battle of Ypres.

A family of Belgian refugees is being made comfortable at Caxton House and convoy trains of the wounded continue to arrive at Ampthill Station. Mr Wingfield has generously accommodated a dozen or so injured soldiers at his home, Ampthill House. All of this brings Ampthill’s effort into sharp relief!

Over 300 recruits are under training at the camp; some of the men are necessarily billeted in town until more huts are complete. The soldiers look fit and well. The men attended Church Parade at St. Andrew’s Church, headed by a rousing brass band. Heads were bowed to honour the Ampthill fallen.

The 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment received the parcel of Ampthill socks. These were greatly appreciated by the men who are preparing for return to the trenches.

December, 5 1914


December, 19 1914


December, 26 1914

Source: Ampthill and District News. The original broadsheet is part of the Bedfordshire & Luton Archive.

More about Private 3/6995 Sidney Thorogood and 8200 Fred Pepper: Ampthill’s Fallen by John Hele (2014).

Next instalment to be published on 1 November 2015….

Text copyright S.Hartley (2015-)