‘Tin Town’ hospital remembered as communities invited to join World War I project

World war i patients and nurses at tin town hospital in brockenhurst courtesy of tile barn centre cropped

Published Wednesday 5 November 2014

The New Forest’s role in treating thousands of First World War troops at ‘Tin Town’ will be remembered on Armistice Day with the launch of a new historical project.

Community groups are being invited to join the New Forest Remembers World War I Project, which will be launched by the New Forest National Park Authority on 11 November with support from ExxonMobil.

The project will act as a hub for local groups and historical societies to share memories of World War I for an online archive and temporary exhibition. 

One of the New Forest’s key roles in the First World War was to care for wounded troops at an improvised hospital at Tile Barn in Brockenhurst. 

Nicknamed ‘Tin Town’ by locals, the collection of tented and galvanised hospital units were used in 1915 to treat soldiers from the Indian Army Corps. 

By 1916, ‘Tin Town’ formed part of the New Zealand General Hospital where 21,000 casualties were treated. The graves of 93 New Zealand troops, one Australian and three Indian soldiers can be seen in the cemetery of nearby St Nicholas Church.

Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the National Park Authority, said: ‘Although far from the trenches, the New Forest played an important role in caring for wounded soldiers, as well as acting as a training ground and muster point for embarkation. This project will help support local groups in telling their World War I history, record historic sites and digitise records for an online archive. We’re calling on local groups to get involved and help their work be seen by future generations.’

This project builds on the successful World War II project run by the National Park Authority and supported by ExxonMobil.

Alison Jones, Community Affairs Manager at ExxonMobil, said: ‘As a major employer in the New Forest area, ExxonMobil at Fawley is committed to investing in community projects and initiatives in the region. This includes supporting several environmental and heritage initiatives led by the National Park Authority, including New Forest Remembers World War II. We’re delighted that we can support this First World War project to help highlight the New Forest’s significant role a century ago.’

The public are invited to attend the event from 1.30pm to 3pm at Tile Barn which will include temporary displays and rarely seen photographs. There will also be an optional visit to St Nicholas Church and its war graves after the event.

If any local groups would like to get involved in the New Forest Remembers World War I Project please contact Gareth Owen at archaeology@newforestnpa.gov.uk or by calling 01590 646652.

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Picture caption: Nurses and patients, possibly New Zealand troops, at the 'Tin Town' hospital in Brockenhurst. This photo is courtesy of Tile Barn Centre.

Supported by

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About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639

Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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