Open Day at Sutton Mandeville

We spent the afternoon with Sutton Mandeville Heritage Trust at their open day this afternoon in one of the old camp fields close to the Royal Warwickshire and 7th City of London badges.  It was a good afternoon and fantastic to see the Royal Warwicks in authentic WW1 military uniform back in the same fields their predecessors would have been over 100 years ago. Royal Warwicks

ANZAC Day 2019

We were delighted to see so many people join us up on the Map of Australia for our very special ANZAC Day service yesterday.  It was an opportunity to also officially mark the restoration and a beautiful brass plaque was unveiled by the Deputy Australian High Commissioner, Mr Matt Anderson along with Mrs Jill Young, who travelled all the way from Australia to be with us.  Jill’s father, Bombardier Albert Haslet from the 12th Field Artillery Brigade, was at Hurdcott Camp for two months in 1918.

Private Edward George Emsley, 10th Battalion London Regiment

We are very grateful to Gerry Emsley and his son Martin Emsley for contacting us recently to tell us the story of their relative Edward George Emsley (the uncle of Gerry) – a Private in the 10th Battalion London Regiment who was at Hurdcott Camp during 1916.  Tragically, Edward was killed by dashing across the road (the present A30) in bad weather and was hit by a motor vehicle which he did not see.  We have been given several documents relating to Edward and you can see them below.  Such a sad story.  Edward is buried in the neighbouring parish of Baverstock at the beautiful St Edith’s Church. Edward Emsley - PhotoEdward Emsley - orginial crossEdward Emsley - gravestoneEdward Emsley - telegramEdward Emsley - letter of condolence

Details of our Anzac Day service

We shall be holding our Anzac Day service along with a formal ‘opening’ of the Map of Australia on Thursday 25th April 2019.

We are delighted to be joined by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton and the Deputy Australian High Commissioner, Mr Matt Anderson.

Meeting time is 10am at Naishes Farmyard, A30, Compton Chamberlayne, Wiltshire, SP3 5DL, with a service start time of 10:45am. Please note, that due to the location of the Map on the chalk downland, a 15-20 minute walk plus a fairly steep climb is required. Please wear suitable footwear. Vehicular access can be arranged for those that need assistance, please let us know in advance.

Anzac Day
Anzac Day at Hurdcott Camp in 1917.  Photograph from the Samuel Marsden Archives, held at Moore College, Sydney, Australia.  For details of this photograph album, see our separate blog post. 

Speaking at the Wiltshire Archaeological Conference 23rd March 2019. Our talk ‘Rediscovering Australia’

We were invited by Sharon Soutar from Historic England to speak at the Wiltshire Archaeological Conference in Devizes on Saturday 23rd March.  A real honour to be able to talk about the project.  We took along our display boards and had a little stand.  Our talk, lasting 25 minutes, was one of the first, in front of an audience of 150.

Sharon who has been involved in our project since 2017 talked about her survey and interpretation work on the Map of Australia but also explained about her wider survey work in the area which picked up evidence of the camp and the trenches.

I then talked about the project from its very beginning – writing letters to two local landowners trying to establish who owned the land, to the completion of the restoration on 3rd October 2018 followed by our Armistice Day service.  The audience seemed really interested and we had plenty of complementary comments afterwards.