All posts by gmmack

On This Day 1915: Those dreadful cinemas!

The Assistant Provost Marshall’s application for Worthing to open its cinemas on Sundays to soldiers from Shoreham Camp has been turned down again. Fears include the ‘horrible suspicion that a few Tommies actually swap albums of picture post-cards and cigarette cards on Sundays!’

Local papers mocked ‘Worthy Worthing’ and this ‘mid-Victorian’ attitude to the cinema. In comparison Brighton cinemas are open on Sundays and a popular place for soldiers on leave.

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

Worthing Gazette_19170725-002

(Worthing Gazette, 25/7/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service


On This Day 1918: Local man guilty of stealing over 167,000 cigarettes!

Albert Humphrey, manager of the Central Stores of the Navy and Army Canteen board at Shoreham was found guilty for stealing 167,000 cigarettes, 22lb of tobacco, and 108 lb of soap with a total value of £332! Humphrey had sold the goods to Herbert Russell but pleaded his innocence. Russel said he swore the goods were sent to him to be sold on commission. However, the jury found both men guilty, and his Lordship, sentenced them both to 18 months hard labour, calling the case “a bad one”.

Shoreham trained soldier Edmund Goodchild's cigarette case. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Suffolk Regiment Museum.
Shoreham trained soldier Edmund Goodchild’s cigarette case. Courtesy of the Trustees of the Suffolk Regiment Museum.


Check out the full story in the West Sussex Gazette:

West Sussex Gazette_19180718-002

(West Sussex Gazette, 18/7/1918)
West Sussex County Council Library Service

Trench Day with Shoreham Sea Scouts

Did you know that 100 years ago volunteer recruits for the British Army were learning how to build trenches on the Downs above Shoreham?  All that remains today are faint traces on the grass to show where hundreds of trenches were dug by the recruits stationed at Shoreham Army Camp.

Arthur Goodchild, a volunteer recruit wrote 100 years ago from the Camp on Slonk Hill, “It takes a long time to dig a trench here, for when we get down a foot we come to solid chalk, and we have to pick it up.” (Courtesy of Henry Finch,

On Sunday 5th July we worked with local Shoreham Sea Scouts and the Friends of Shoreham Fort to create a representation above ground of the walls of one of these training trenches.

Trench building plans, end elevation.
Trench building plans, end elevation.

Our trench building challenge was taken up by an intrepid ‘four person army’ – 3rd Shoreham Sea Scouts Aiden, Millie, Ruari and William who were supported by young leader James and Scout leaders Sandra and Colin.

Manning the wheelbarrow.
Manning the wheelbarrow.

We built up the walls of our trench representation with metal fencing and wooden pallets, created a floor with duckboards and filled at least 40 sandbags to top the walls and build up a firing step along the sides of the trench. We also created periscopes to spy over the top of the trench wall – all this in only 4 hours!

filling sandbags. 5.7.15Members of the public were constantly popping by to see what we were up to and the families of the Scouts came along to help out later in the afternoon. All of which was  a great way to raise awareness of our Heritage Lottery Funded project, ‘Training for War: Exploring Shoreham Army Camp 1914-1919’.

The Scouts learnt a bit about the trenches the recruits at Shoreham were building 100 years ago through maps, postcards and aerial photographs provided by Worthing Museum. Gary from The Friends of Shoreham Fort gave a great tour of Fort and treated the Scouts and their families to an unique handling session with some original WW1 materials.


Scouts defend their trench.
Scouts defend their trench.

The days activities will go towards the Scouts’ Local Knowledge Activity Badge where they have gotten involved in a project to preserve an aspect of Local Heritage – in this case knowledge of Shoreham’s First World War Army Camp.

The Scouts really enjoyed the day and worked very hard. The consensus was it would have been so much harder if they had had to dig the trench before they built up the walls and it would have been very scary trying to do it in the war.

on the firing step. 5.7.15

Many thanks to the the 3rd Shoreham Sea Scouts, their leaders Colin and Sandra Strong and the Friends of Shoreham Fort for their efforts on the day. Also thanks to SIG Roofing, Worthing who helped supply some of the equipment.

On This Day 1917: Canada Day celebrated in Shoreham!

July 1st marks the national day of Canada, a day celebrating the enactment of the British North America Act 1867, which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. This just happened to be occurring when a large contingent of Canadians were encamped at Shoreham. Therefore, it was naturally suggested that the occasion should be celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, which would be decorated with maple as a way to welcome the Canadian soldiers and celebrate the day.

The great service was held at 6:30pm, and was well attended with 50 officers and 100 men representing various units in the camp from all parts of Canada. In addition to those who attended officially the congregation overflowed with more soldiers.

The opening procession showed off the beautiful St Mary de Haura Church banner and the Canadian Colours. The service was accompanied with music played by the splendid band of the Canadian 13th Reserve and delightful hymns. The day would not have been complete without a memorable rendition of the Canadian National Anthem “O Canada” that was sung by a choir of men and boys.

Cover of early 20th century sheet music. Courtesy of Patricia Gardner.
Cover of early 20th century sheet music.
Courtesy of Patricia Gardner.

Check out the full story on the Shoreham Parish Magazine:

Canada day

(Shoreham Parish Magazine, 01/07/1917)
Reproduced courtesy of West Sussex Records Office and by kind permission of the Parish of St Mary de Haura New Shoreham.

On This Day1917: Unhappy soldiers go AWOL

Privates John Carmichael and Frank Conway of the 23rd Canadian Reserve Battalion were charged with being absent without leave from Shoreham Camp.

The two were spotted at Goff’s Park by P.S. S. J. Capelin and challenged for their passes which they did not have. Carmichael claimed they had been robbed after a visit to London. P.S. Capelin took them to the Police Station with assistance from two civilians where the men finally admitted being absent form Shoreham Camp. When asked why, Conway declared that they were treated ‘pretty harsh’ at the Camp, ‘not treated as men’. He had been late back before and had had 4 days pay cut and 14 days punishment. The magistrate remarked that it did not seem to have been a deterrent and the two were remanded in custody to await military escort.

Check out the full story in the West Sussex County Times:
30.06.1917 WSCT

(West Sussex County Times, 30/06/1917)
West Sussex County Council Library Service

On This Day 1915: Soldiers thank Worthing for winter billets.

In spring 1915 soldiers returned to Shoreham camp from their winter billets in Worthing. They had been sent to live with the locals in Worthing, Shoreham and Brighton in December 1914 after bad weather washed away the tented Camp and they stayed there until the new hutted Camp was complete.

Soon after returning to the new huts Major-General Ramsay, Commanding officer of the 24th Division, sent a letter to the Mayor of Worthing thanking the Town Council, police and residents of Worthing for their kindness and the good fellowship they had shown the soldiers.

View looking north across the new huts built for the Camp.
Courtesy of West Sussex County Council Library Service

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

(Worthing Gazette, 23/06/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service

On This Day 1917: British troops entertain the Canadians.

The talented troupe from the 1st “B” Reserve Brigade of the RFA Camp visited the Canadian Camp at Shoreham. Well over 1000 soldiers were delighted by the high-class entertainments held in the YMCA Cinema Hut with many calls for encores.

Over two and a half hours of entertaining acts from the party included music by banjoist Gunner Lintott, comedy from Bomb. Herd and conjuring by Corporal Summers. Canadian Capt. Clarke introduced each performance with witty jokes that were heartily applauded.

The Concert Party were called upon to return soon and offered their service to any war charity or fellow soldiers who were interested.

The Canadian troops from Shoreham Camp also entertained the British as shown in this 1916 poster.
Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.


Check out the full story in the Horsham Times:


(Horsham Times, 16/06/1917)
West Sussex County Council Library Service

Exhibition moves to Worthing College

11th June: This week the project exhibition, ‘Training for War: Exploring Shoreham Army Camp 1914-1919’ moved to Worthing College for it’s students, teachers and parents to enjoy between the 18th June and 2nd July.

Members of the public will also get a chance to see the display whilst it is up at the College on 20th-21st June and on 27th-28th June between 11am and 5pm.

Hamish installs the boxing dummy.
Hamish installs the boxing dummy.

On show are our graphic displays, finds from the students’ metal-detecting on Slonk Hill and a chance to try out some metal detecting on our mini-field.

The mini-field under construction.
The mini-field under construction.
Installing nails found on Slonk hill by Worthing College students metal-detecting, Sept 2014.
Installing nails found on Slonk hill by Worthing College students metal-detecting, Sept 2014.

The students of the Creative Media and Production Class will also be displaying the films they created as part of the project on their reactions to what they learnt about the Camp.

Over the next few weeks these films will also be made available on our new website page for Student Films.

We will also be re-posting some of the blogs the students kept about their behind the scenes process in creating these films.


On This Day 1919: Saturday Cricket defeat for Shoreham Camp Soldiers.

The Worthing Cricket Club engaged in a thrilling contest with the soldiers from Shoreham Camp. The Soldiers, captained by J. K. Matthews, were decisively defeated by the Worthing team with a final score of 282 to 73.

Photograph of Potter and Bailey’s local Worthing Cricket team (1904-1914) showing the type of kit that would have been used by the Worthing Cricket Club.
Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:


(Worthing Gazette, 04/06/1919)
West Sussex County Council Library Service

On This Day 1918: Concert Parties from Camp delight locals.

Worthing Pier declared itself “indebted” to the soldiers from Shoreham Camp for providing great entertainments. The Shoreham Camp’s London Command Depot orchestra put on special concerts that boosted visitor numbers. The Camp also provided a range of Concert Parties such as the Big Bens and Non-descripts.

In May 1918 the Musiques were in possession of the Pavillion. Dressed in Pierrot costume and under the leadership of Lieutenant Richardson their very masculine performance was well-designed for popular audiences.

The Wromps Concert Party
The Wromps a Pierrot Concert Party from Shoreham Camp. Musician Sgt Stan Ward is pictured middle row far right.
Courtesy of Patricia Gardner.

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:


(Worthing Gazette, 29/05/1918)
West Sussex County Council Library Service