Tag Archives: Sea Scouts

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!


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, www.goodchilds.org)

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.