Legacy in the Park

As you can see above an information panel has been installed at Buckingham Park, in Shoreham, introducing the history of Shoreham Army Camp from 1914 to 1919. This is thanks to Heritage Lottery Funding, the design skills of Jennie Osborne, text by Gail Mackintosh, editing by Hamish MacGillivray and manufacture by Shelley signs. Also a big thanks to Peter Whish and his team from Adur and Worthing Council Parks and Foreshore for installing the lectern style panel at the Park. This was made due to the demand from local people who attended our Shoreham Army Camp guided tour in August 2015 around the Park. Many asked why could there not be a panel showing some highlights of the fascinating First World War history?

This information panel is an introduction to the ‘hidden’ history of the land around Buckingham Park when Shoreham-by-Sea was ‘invaded’ by thousands of young men (and some young women) from Britain, Canada and South Africa. They came at first to train for trench warfare. After 1915 soldiers came to recover at Shoreham Army Camp from minor wounds suffered while fighting in France and Belgium.

The panel has 3 topics (origins of Camp, entertainment for troops and research by volunteers in 2014/2015) highlighted by a quote with text and eye catching photos. The main feature is a reproduction of the map of the Camp or ‘hutments’ as recorded in 1917. This is from a map to be found in the West Sussex Record Office at Chichester. What is very interesting is that the layout and roads of the Camp were adopted by building developers after 1920 when they started building bungalows in this part of Shoreham. The panel also has the research website address for people to explore more First World War history on http://www.worthingmuseum.co.uk/shoreham-army-camp

To find the panel go to the tennis courts and bowling green side of Buckingham Park, near Upper Shoreham Road and you will find the panel in the Remembrance Garden. After your visit pop into the nearby Park Cafe for tea and cakes. This is the last part of the project ‘Training for War’ so a big thanks to all Worthing Museum staff, local volunteers, Worthing College students and tutors and all the suppliers who helped this project.


Behind the Scenes booklet

Well, it’s not the final end of this project as a reminder we have spare copies of ‘Behind the Scenes.’ Lots of visual pictures and comments on 22 pages about the project and some very useful tips, see enclosed image. If you would like a FREE copy send an a5 SAE to Training for War project c/o Worthing Museum, Chapel Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 1HP. Offer open until April 2016.

Coming next in early 2016….a surprise for Buckingham Park at Shoreham.

Behind the scenes excerpt (1)

End of Project: party and legacy

End of Project Party
22nd September 2015: We held an End of Project Party last Tuesday, generously hosted by the Sussex Archaeological Society’s Marlipins Museum in Shoreham. As our exhibition is currently up at Marlipins it was the ideal venue for a wrap party.

We were joined by our volunteers, supporting partners, such as Jason Lee from Worthing College and Justin Russell from Archaeology South-East, private and family collectors and many more of the great people who have helped make this project a success.

Emma O'Connor, Sussex Archaeological Society's Museum Officer and Chairman Carson Albury, delivering thank you speeches.
Emma O’Connor, Sussex Archaeological Society’s Museum Officer and Chairman Carson Albury, delivering thank you speeches.

Carson Albury, Chairman of Adur and Michael Donin, Mayor of Worthing kindly joined us and delivered excellent speeches.

Worthing Mayor Michael Donin and Chairman of Adur Carson Albury holding up our latest find, a 1918 pick head found on Slonk Hil.
Worthing Mayor Michael Donin and Chairman of Adur Carson Albury holding up our latest find, a 1918 pick head found on Slonk Hil, presented by Worthing Museum, Curator Hamish MacGillivray.

And Caroline George from the Heritage Lottery Fund also popped in to see how we had got on.

Caroline George (left) from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Gail Mackintosh, Project Coordinator.
Caroline George (left) from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Gail Mackintosh, Project Coordinator.

It was a great event thanks to the volunteers and staff at Marlipins Museum and gave us the opportunity to thank everyone involved.

Archaeologist Justin Russell (middle) talks to local landowners, Christina and Rob Keith.
Archaeologist Justin Russell (middle) talks to local landowners, Christina and Rob Keith.


The project is now at a close but we have left some important legacies for the future.

The exhibition will remain up in Marlipins Museum, Shoreham, until 3rd October. The display panels will then be used as part of our ongoing schools education programme at Worthing Museum http://www.worthingmuseum.co.uk/education/ .

As for all our research it is now accessible to all though our new website:


Please do spread the word!

We have created a final publication – a ‘Behind the Scenes’ Booklet showing all our work along the way. Copies of the booklet will be available at Worthing Museum, Marlipins Museum and around the local libraries.

The many objects loaned  to the project will be returned to their owners but Marlipins Museum would be happy to take in any more collections relating to the Army Camp in the future.

So, it is goodbye for now, we hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.


On This Day 1914: Thousands of tents spring up on Shoreham’s Downs.

“Our final On This Day story from Shoreham Army Camp takes us right back to the beginning, 101 years ago when the local papers were discussing the new Camp that had sprung up on the Downs above Shoreham . . .”

One hundred years ago, when Napoleon was threatening these shores, the coasts of Sussex became an armed camp. Today history is repeating itself.

Thousands of tents have appeared on the slopes behind Shoreham housing a ‘motley crew’ of volunteers for Kitchener’s Army. They are training there under Divisional Commander Major General Sir J. G. Ramsay, K. C.B.

Image Courtesy of Graham Booth.
Image Courtesy of Graham Booth.

This ‘hatless brigade’, with no uniform and little equipment, have come from the four corners of England with one determination in common – to make themselves efficient in the quickest possible time. Squad drill and Swedish exercises keep them ‘as fit as fiddles’. They wash their own clothes in cold water and many have named their tents with wonderful titles such as, ‘Haunted Castle’, ‘Dreadnoughts’ and ‘Humming Birds’.

Check out the full story in the West Sussex County Times:

West Sussex County Times 19140926-006

(West Sussex County Times, 26/9/1914)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On this day 1915: A soldier committed for bigamy . . .

Private Fred Jeffries of the Royal Sussex Regiment was charged with ‘feloniously marrying’ Rose Olive Jane Gumbrell at Shoreham whilst his wife, Sarah Jane Jeffries, was still alive.

Rose had met the defendant whilst working at a hotel in Eastbourne where he was billeted. They were later engaged at Hastings and married at Shoreham Parish Church. She had no idea he had been married to Sarah since 1899 and had six children!

28.08.15 church
St Mary’s Church photographed for a Shoreham Army Camp Brochure. Courtesy of West Sussex County Council Library Service http://www.westsussexpast.org.uk

Check out the full story in the West Sussex County Times:

West Sussex County Times 19150828-008

(West Sussex County Times, 28/8/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

Guided walks: stories, sunshine and surprise ants.

Friday 21st August: 

“Dear Mother, I feel strong and well, the army is making a man of me. I have learnt what rough life is, I shan’t know how to feel when I sleep in a bed again and have my meals off a table, after sleeping on the floor and having my blankets for a chair and my knees or the floor for a table. You would laugh to see us sitting round the tent, laughing and talking, all as happy as can be”.

17 year old Arthur Goodchild writing home to his mother from Shoreham Camp in October 1914 (Courtesy of Henry Finch, www.goodchilds.org).  

Arthur’s story was just one shared on our guided walks through Shoreham on Friday following the old paths of the Army Camp.

meeting-pointAt 11am and 2pm we set off led by Curator Hamish MacGillivray and Project Coordinator Gail Mackintosh from outside the Cafe in Buckingham Park. Our walk took us up through the park, along Downside and over the A27 onto Slonk Hill. This route travelled from where the South edge of the First World War Camp used to be up into the North East corner.


Along the way we stopped regularly to explore stories from the Camp illustrated by dramatic readings from Joanna Wilkins to bring the history to life.


We brought with us a detailed map of the Camp discovered in West Sussex Record Office by local researcher Brian Drury, a selection of images associated with Army Camp life and even a number of archaeological finds uncovered as part of the project.

inspecting-mapView the map on our new project website. 


On Slonk Hill visitors could view our mini-exhibition table and British Pathe Newsreel footage of the boxing in Camp.


But the big attraction was the bell tent kindly donated for the day by Lancing 3rd and 5th Sea Scouts.

bell-tentinside-the-tentAlthough the ants’ nest we discovered after lying down inside was not so welcome . . . . Thankfully our patient visitors saw the funny side and declared it ‘added to the living history experience’.

Finally, thanks to the generous efforts of our hosts, Christina and Rob Keith and their family, there was shade and refreshments on hand for our walkers.

slonk-hill2We are very grateful to our volunteers Debbie and Nicola who supported us throughout the day, to Joanna Wilkins for her excellent readings, to the 3rd and 5th Lancing Sea Scouts for the loan of their tent, to the Cup Cake Cafe for helping promote our event and most importantly to Christina and Rob Keith and their family, not only for their efforts on the day but for allowing us access to their land and supporting us throughout this project – thank you!

On this day 1918: A boxing tournament at Shoreham Camp produced ‘good sport’

Amongst a range of sports that took place in Shoreham that week, a boxing tournament at Shoreham Camp, organised by Eastern Command, produced good sport and raised money for St Dunstan’s Hostel.

Brighton youth George Gallagham bested Londoner Tommy Harris and Pte. A. Robson of the London Regiment put on a good show winning his bout with Staff Sergeant Zimmer. An exciting rematch between Sergt. Evans, R.G.A. and Corpl. Power, Irish Guards, was won by Power on points.

The colonials in Camp also got involved with Corporal G. Green of the South Africans beating T. Moore from the Canadians to the dismay of Moore’s supporters.

Famous boxer Bombardier Billy Wells  boxed at Shoreham Camp early in the war. Wells, B. 1911. Modern Boxing: a practical guide to present-day methods.
Famous boxer Bombardier Billy Wells boxed at Shoreham Camp early in the war. Wells, B. 1911. Modern Boxing: a practical guide to present-day methods.

Check out the full story in the West Sussex Gazette:

West Sussex Gazette_19180822-007 (1)

(West Sussex Gazette, 22/8/1918)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

Shoreham Market Day

8th August: Curator Hamish MacGillivray, Project Coordinator Gail Mackintosh and volunteers Debbie and Nicola manned a pop-up exhibition at Shoreham Market – and what a lovely day it was.shoreham market 3

Our aim was to get the locals excited about the upcoming showing of our full exhibition at Marlipins Museum from the 2nd of September to the 3rd of October and for our walking tour on Friday 21st August.

shoreham market 1We brought with us some of our display panels showing our behind the scenes work and the local reaction to the Army Camp 100 years ago along with the British Pathe newsreel footage of a boxing match taking place in Camp. But what really drew people in were our maps showing the size of the Camp and where it is located on a modern map. It was really great the number of visitors who could point out which army hut would have been in their back garden.

Shoreham market curator 1shoreham market volunteer 1

Whilst we had plenty of stories to share we were delighted to also hear stories from locals who knew a bit about the Camp already or had family who had trained there. shoreham market 2

Many thanks to David Steadman who organised our space in the market, our dedicated volunteer researchers Nicola and Debbie, our volunteer photographer Janet and the many local people who made our Saturday very enjoyable. We hope to see plenty more on our walk on Friday and at the Marlipins Museum in September.

On This Day 1917: Canadian soldiers ‘Before the Bench’.


Two members of a Canadian Battalion stationed at Shoreham Camp appeared in court ‘before the bench’ charged with being absent without leave.

Constable Holden and Special Constable Bridgewater gave evidence that Private Murdoch McClosky and Corporal Roy Hovey were found accosting girls in Rowlands Road. Neither soldier had a pass to allow them out of Camp into Worthing and were detained in custody.

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

15.08.17 worthing gazette


(Worthing Gazette, 15/8/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

WW1 Archaeology Open Day

Saturday 18th July:

As part of the 25th anniversary of the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology we hosted an event at Worthing Museum to help visitors discover first-hand the objects and clues archaeologists use to find out about the First World War.

Our expert archaeologists Justin Russell from Archaeology South-East and Luke Barber from the Sussex Archaeological Society, who had provided training for project students and volunteers, were on hand to share their amazing collections. They brought objects from the British, German and French armies that they had collected and in some cases dug up on the Front Lines in France.

Highlights of the collections included:

Some scary shell fragments from the Front Lines,ww1 objects

A practice grenade like those used by Shoreham Army Camp recruits in training,grenade

A pocket camera carried by a soldier,Camera

And a Lee Enfield rifle that was issued to British soldiers,rifle

Also on display were objects uncovered as part of our two metal-detecting training sessions and one mini-excavation on the site of Shoreham Army Camp with Worthing College students and volunteers.nails

The day also featured the chance for our visitors to do some metal-detecting in a mini astro-turf field.metal-detecting

Many thanks to Luke Barber and Justin Russell for their time and sharing their amazing collections with us.

A collaboration with Worthing Museum, Worthing College and other partners.