Project Description

'Tommy’s Footprints' was a community project to remember the 2,235 First World War soldiers who trained at the Bedfordshire Training Depot, those who were injured, and the 707 who died. A lone Memorial Cross stands proud in Ampthill Park to remember these soldiers, and the 'Ampthill Command Depot’ that treated 8369 injured soldiers (1916-19). The project ran from July to November 2016, one hundred years since the Bedfordshire Training Depot closed. Ampthill Town Council led preparations - which involved and engaged local people, community organisations and schools - in order to help improve knowledge about Ampthill's role during the conflict. The centrepiece of the project was a poignant art installation in the hollow of Ampthill Great Park, marking where the soldiers passed. The artwork was inspired by 'The Poppies' display at the Tower of London in 2014. Our temporary installation consisted of columns of 707 footprints (four persons wide, full scale) stencilled on the ground in white. Each pair of footprints represented a dead soldier, with their name listed on a small wooden poppy cross planted on the banks of the hollow. Students at Alameda Middle School helped research the names, as well as assisting with writing and planting the crosses. On Remembrance Sunday in 2016, a parade was held starting at the Memorial Cross, processing past 'Tommy's Footprints', and down the Alameda for a service at the Ampthill Town War Memorial. An illustrated talk was also held at Parkside Hall on Friday 18th November, the day that the installation was removed and the footprints left to fade. A signboard was placed in Ampthill Park, and various legacies of the project were captured on Facebook and the project blog, along with local media interest. The project was funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, with additional self-funding generated from activities and book sales - all generated funds being donated to the charities 'Combat Stress' and the Royal British Legion.
Tommy's Footprints (2016)


Organised by

Ampthill Town Council


South East England


MK45 2HX



2016-11-06, 2016-11-20




MK45 2HX

Focus and Research

Resources used for research

Bedfordshire Archive; The National Archives; IWM; British Newspapers; Genealogy Records; Published Material.