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Remembering the First World War in the New Forest

Little survives today to remind us of the role the New Forest played during the Great War of 1914 to 1918. 

A hundred years ago, this month, the New Forest started to play its part in the First World War with thousands of troops from regular army units from various points around the British Empire all coming to Lyndhust to form the 7th Division before marching to Southampton Docks and on to Zeebrugge.

Troops of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards marching from the Tower of London to a camp at Lyndhurst in the New Forest where the 7th Division was forming. 15/16 September 1914 © IWM Q 57105

Under existing legislation the New Forest had been used as a training ground for troops prior to the outbreak of the First World War with rifle ranges built for the Boer Wars (1880 to 1902) being one of the few remaining features still visible in the landscape today.

But with the start of the First World War in 1914 the New Forest started to play a much bigger role. In Lyndhurst a camp was set up to accommodate troops and during early to mid-September each of the nine battalions arrived to form the 7th Division.

Indian Army soldiers from the Simla region at a camp in the New Forest in October 1914 © IWM Q 53365

In commemoration the New Forest National Park Authority is launching our New Forest Remembers WWI Project with the aims of collecting as much information about the role the Forest played, supporting local groups in telling their local story and making this information available via an online archive, building on our successful Second World War project.

We invite all local groups, societies and or individuals researching WWI in the New Forest to get in touch to share your findings and contribute to telling the Forest’s story during the First World War.

If you would like more detail or how you can get involved or want to let us know what you are doing please contact us via: archaeology@newforestnpa.gov.uk

You can also contact the Project Officer directly:

Gareth Owen 

Education and Outreach Officer, New Forest Remembers projects

Direct Line: 01590 646652

Email: gareth.owen@newforestnpa.gov.uk

This entry was posted by Communications on Tuesday 16/09/2014

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