Metal-detecting and mini excavation reveal clues about Shoreham Camp

28th March: Garden Investigation
With the generous permission of one of our volunteers we ventured once again into exploring what evidence, if any, of the Camp remains beneath the houses and hills of Shoreham.

Justin Russell from Archaeology South-East and Luke Barber from the Sussex Archaeological Society provided some training for our older volunteers in the techniques of metal-detecting and excavating a small test pit in our volunteer’s garden.

Luke Barber and Justin Russell  testing the metal detectors
Luke Barber (left) and Justin Russell (right) testing the metal detectors.

Justin used 1916 and modern maps along-side aerial photographs to match up  where the garden lay in relation to the where the Camp used to be. This revealed 4 barrack blocks crossing the area; one was now under a modern road, another under the conservatory, one lay across the centre of the lawn and the fourth lay at the very bottom edge of the garden.

We marked out where one barrack block would have crossed the lawn with string. Luke then taught the volunteers the basics of using a metal detector. Given the restricted size and disturbed nature of the ground we treated the whole area as our sample and with respect for the lawn we only searched for non-ferrous material (non-iron) like brass.

Volunteer extracting object found with metal detector.
Volunteer extracting object found with metal detector.

At the bottom of the garden we excavated a small section of the deep-beds. Our hope was to locate a path or drainage associated with the barrack block at the bottom of the garden. However, whilst we discovered plenty of construction materials such as nails and glass we did not find any features.

excavation 1 excavation 2

Despite the horrendous weather the volunteers soldiered on and we would like to thank them for their hard work and Justin and Luke for their expertise and support.

excavation in rain

May: The Results are in
We have just recently received a full report, kindly produced by Justin Russell, on the objects we uncovered back in March.

In addition to more modern discoveries and even some World War Two materials, a number of the objects were identified as likely from the First World War Camp. These included construction materials such as nails and glass along-side items from everyday life like ceramic crockery and part of a fountain pen. There was even an eyelet from a ground sheet which may well have come from the early tents at the Camp.

Ground-sheet eyelet., March 2015. Courtesy of Justin Russell, Archaeology South-East.
Ground-sheet eyelet., March 2015.
Courtesy of Justin Russell, Archaeology South-East.

Our volunteer whose garden we explored found a very interesting object in the weeks after our excavation; a .303 bullet. Justin explains the bullet shows no signs of having been fired and its unusual, diameter, blunt tip and lack of  cannelure

(the groove around the cylinder of the bullet, to secure it in the cartridge) suggest it was a training/drill round probably of late First World War date.

Comparison of .303 bullets. Left: long tracer bullet, Centre: training/drill round found in garden, Right: regular .303 bullet. Courtesy of Justin Russell Archaeology South-East.

Comparison of .303 bullets. Left: long tracer bullet, Centre: training/drill round found in garden, Right: regular .303 bullet.
Courtesy of Justin Russell Archaeology South-East.

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On This Day 1916: Military honours for Canadian soldier’s funeral.

Private Archibald Lea of the Fifteenth Canadian Highlanders, who died in the London County Council’s Military hospital at Epsom, was buried locally with military honours attended by many soldiers from Shoreham Camp.

His father was a local Worthing business-man but Archibald was in Toronto when war broke out and immediately signed up to the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

In July, 1915, he was wounded but recovered and went back to the fighting line in November. He remained abroad until the 28th of April 1916 when he was wounded again in the fighting at St. Eloi. Unfortunately, on this second occasion this more serious wound led to tetanus to which he succumbed.

His funeral was well-attended with a firing party and gun carriage supplied by the Royal Fusiliers from Shoreham Camp and accompanied by every indication of widespread respect and esteem.

Section of a First World War toy gun carriage. Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.
Section of a First World War toy gun carriage.
Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

 17.5.1916

(Worthing Gazette, 17/05/1916)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

Project website underway

This week we have opened the basic version of our website to the public. You can visit it through the Worthing Museum and Art Gallery website here:
www.worthingmuseum.co.uk/shoreham-army-camp

website screen shot

Over the next three months we will be adding our research  and films created by Worthing college students to this site. Each time a section is complete look out for an announcement here on our blog.

On This Day 1916: AWOL soldier “kicked up rough”.

Military absentee – at the Police Court, William Wynyard was charged with being absent without leave (AWOL) from the 10th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment at Shoreham Camp. P.C. Monk explained he had met the defendant at Horsham on the previous evening. When the soldier was asked for his pass he “kicked up rough” and refused to give any account of himself. The defendant admitted to the offence, and was remanded to await a military escort.

13.5.15 AWOL soldier

(Horsham Times, 13/05/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

Exhibition and upcoming events

On 25th of April our project exhibition, “Training for War: Exploring Shoreham Army Camp 1914-1919” opened at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery with great success.

Behind the Scenes:

NADFAS volunteer creating our boxing dummy.
NADFAS volunteer creating our boxing dummy.
Volunteers install objects for the exhibition.
Volunteers install objects for the exhibition.

The open day was well-attended with around 60-70 guests including many of our volunteers, partners and supporters.  

Open day visitors

Visitors on the open day explore the exhibits.
Visitors on the open day explore the exhibits.
Project coordinator recruited by Gary Baines, Shoreham Fort!
Project coordinator recruited by Gary Baines, Shoreham Fort!

Worthing Mayor Vic Walker and Deputy Mayor Michael Donin gave great speeches and the Connaught Theatre hosted a cinema showing of films produced by the students of Worthing College on the project.

The Mayor's speech.
The Mayor’s speech.

Short Exhibition edit of the student films.

The exhibition is open to the public and will remain in Worthing Museum until the end of May 2015. But the project is far from over. Over the next 4 months we are delivering events all over Worthing and Shoreham and will be working on developing a project website which will remain as a lasting legacy for our research.

Our events

18th -28th June:  Project Exhibition up at Worthing College.

5th July: Trench day at Shoreham Fort with Shoreham Sea Scouts.

11th July: pop-up stand at Queen Alexandra Hospital Home’s Open Day

18th July: WW1 Archaeology Open Day at Worthing Museum

8th August: pop-up stands at Shoreham Market

21st August (tbc): Walking tour in Shoreham

2nd September – 3rd October:  Project Exhibition up at Marlipins Museum, Shoreham.

There will be further details updated on the Worthing Museum events page soon.

On This Day 1915: Concert at the Camp

The members of the local Ladies’ Orchestra provided entertainment in the Camp at Shoreham. On this occasion a large assembly of guest soldiers gathered in No. 2 Hut for the most attractive evening’s entertainment. They thoroughly enjoyed the performance, especially the presence of Miss Grace Nockels who gave the most welcome of vocal assistance.

Sheet music played by Stan Ward a soldier who entertained whilst stationed at Shoreham Camp in 1917-1918.  Courtesy of Patricia Gardner.
Sheet music played by Stan Ward a soldier who entertained whilst stationed at Shoreham Camp in 1917-1918.
Courtesy of Patricia Gardner.

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

Worthing Gazette_19150512-005

(Worthing Gazette, 12/05/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On This Day 1917: Picturedome screenings of convalescent Colonials doing gymnastic exercises at Shoreham Camp

The Dome Electric Theatre had a successful line-up that week including a new episode of soldiers’ favourite, “The Laughing Mask”. The following week the schedule was to feature a Triangle exclusive and a Pathé Gazette reel showing  convalescent Colonials doing gymnastic exercises at Shoreham Camp.

1911 Postcard. Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.
1911 Postcard. Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.

 

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

Worthing Gazette_19170425-003

(Worthing Gazette, 25/04/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On This Day 1916: More Rink hockey at the dome!

An exciting hockey match at Brighton Dome between one of the Nolfolk Battalions stationed at Shoreham camp and The Dome.

It was a vigorous match with a score of 3 all by half time. But the tables were turned in the second half by an outstanding further 3 goals from the Dome civilians who won the match 6 to 3.

1909 Postcard. Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
1909 Postcard. Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

Worthing Gazette_19160419-005

(Worthing Gazette, 19/04/1915)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On This Day 1918: The King at Shoreham Camp

The King made a second successful visit to Shoreham Camp. On this occasion he inspected the physical exercises and treatments for those recuperating at the Camp from injury – such as bouts of boxing. He also visited the gardens where recuperating soldiers grew vegetables – 200 tons of potatoes in the last year!

During his inspection the large detachment of South African troops then at the Camp greeted the King with a wild ‘war whoop’.

The King also took time to present the Military Medal to Corporal Balls with an audience that included locally employed German prisoners.

He completed his visit to the coast with a trip to the Eastern Command Depot.

The King on his first visit to Shoreham Camp in 1916. The Illustrated War News, November 8th 1916 - part 22.
The King on his first visit to Shoreham Camp in 1916. The Illustrated War News, November 8th 1916 – part 22.

 

Check out the full story in the Mid-Sussex Times:

Mid-Sussex Times_19180402-008

 (Mid-Sussex Times 02/04/1918)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

On This Day 1917: Two youths from Shoreham Camp steal tricycle from shed of a Worthing resident

Two members of an underage Battalion of Canadian Regiment at Shoreham, Theodore Descanucle of Rumanian extraction, and Emillien Grigon, a French Canadian, were charged with stealing Worthing local, Florence Briant’s, tricycle that was valued at £4.

Constable Pateman of Lancing stated he saw the accused with the tricycle on Tuesday night outside the Sussex Pad Inn. Pateman said he questioned the two boys who began conferring with one another in a foreign language for answers before responding that their mate had lent them the tricycle so they could ride to the next town “to see our girls”. Not satisfied with the answers, Pateman said he would arrest them. The boys ended up admitting they stole the bike and were taken to Shoreham Police Station where they further admitted that they were riding it to London!

 

Tricycle. Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
Tricycle.
Courtesy of Worthing Museum and Art Gallery

 

Check out the full story in the Worthing Gazette:

Worthing Gazette_28.3.1917

 (Worthing Gazette, 28/3/17)
West Sussex County Council Library Service www.westsussexpast.org.uk

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