Poppy Wall

The First World War Military Camps of Fovant

In 1998, newly retired Margaret McKenzie, a passionate historian, posed the idea of a local Historical Interest group to ensure that the stories of the men, women and children who had passed through our village to and from the trenches would not be lost. 

The Fovant History Interest Group was duly formed and from 1998 to the current day, Margaret has been 'turning over stones and unearthing the stories' of the extraordinary people from around the world who for a brief time camped at Fovant.   

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Famous TV Historian, Dan Snow, interviews Margaret

Tour of Fovant Camp

Dan Snow had no hesitation interrupting his busy filming schedule to meet New Zealand born Ms McKenzie, 83, in order pick her brains and hear her extraordinary tales of the First World War Camp, which was used as a training ground for 20,000 Allied soldiers at any one time.  Read More......

The History of the Camps

What makes Fovant unique amongst the Military Camps of Wiltshire is the number of Regimental Badges carved into the Downs overlooking the sites occupied by the soldiers whilst they were training or recuperating.  Unlike the Wiltshire Horses, we know how and why these badges originated and the cause they commemorate - the Great War -  and the sacrifices men and women made during this time. 

 

The WW1 Military Camp at Fovant was designed along the same lines as the others which were springing up on the Salisbury Plain. It was the most southerly of the camps in Wiltshire and was chosen as a site perhaps because several military exercises had already been held on the more challenging landscape of Downs.  A photograph dated Sept. 1910 shows Winston Churchill, then Minister for War, on Fovant Downs with a varied group of senior officers and dignitaries watching manoeuvres and exercises. 

 

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Constance Penruddocke

'Like a Mother to the Australian soldiers'

Connie Penruddocke, second daughter of Charles, baronet, of Compton Chamberlayne, Wiltshire befriended many of the soldiers who came to Fovant camps during WW1.  She often opened her house and garden in Dinton to provide home comforts that many of them missed, especially the Australians so far from home.  Read more...

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Sister A Donald

Royal Red Cross

Alexina was born in Woodside, Aberdeen on 31.3.1893  and at an early age emigrated with her family to South Africa.  In 1913 she returned to Dundee where she trained as a nurse and at the outbreak of war she joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Medical Nursing Service...Read More...

Ernest Cockman

LRB Badge

Ernest Cockman and his friend Eddy Holloway, enlisted with the London Rifle Brigade at 18 years of age, and did their training at Fovant in 1916.  During their time here they helped to cut the LRB badge in the hillside.  Read More...

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Rev Harold Dymond Peel

Rector of Donhead St Mary

He became Rector at Donhead St Mary in South Wilts eventually becoming Rural Dean of Tisbury.  He is remembered in the Parish for many reasons but mainly because he again refused the offer of a car.  “I cannot stop and talk to my people if I am rushing past in a car”  Read More...

Jack Duffell

A Writer of Letters!!!

As the Battle of the Somme was about to start they were disembarked at Suez and sent quickly by train to the Front.  He had promised his mother that he would write to her as often as he could.  He kept his word and discovered a liking for letter writing.  Eventually he was writing to all his family, including cousins, as well as 25 girls in Australia and 3 in England!  Read More...

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Private Richard James Rolfe

4th Pioneers

Richard was British born (Berkshire 1888) and emigrated to Queensland, Australia where his sister had married an Australian farmer.  He enlisted in Sept, 1916 and arrived in Fovant in November the same year with the 4th Pioneers.  Read More...

The Boy in the Bag!

Kid-Knap-Sacked

On Christmas Day 1918, as No. 4 Squadron Australian Flying Corps were mopping up in Belgium, a small French orphan attached himself to them as their mascot.  They estimated his age at 7 years but he could have been younger...Read More....

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Moyra Prendergast

& the YMCA

Moyra Prendergast, a classically trained violinist, volunteered at the outbreak of WW1, to entertain troops in the many training camps on the Salisbury Plains.  She was invited to join a group put together by John Rowlands a long-time friend.  The “Grand Sacred” concert party from Bristol did several tours on the Plains entertaining the soldiers ...Read More...

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Private Richard James Rolfe

4th Pioneers

Richard was British born (Berkshire 1888) and emigrated to Queensland, Australia where his sister had married an Australian farmer.  He enlisted in Sept, 1916 and arrived in Fovant in November the same year with the 4th Pioneers.  Read More...

The Boy in the Bag!

Kid-Knap-Sacked

On Christmas Day 1918, as No. 4 Squadron Australian Flying Corps were mopping up in Belgium, a small French orphan attached himself to them as their mascot.  They estimated his age at 7 years but he could have been younger...Read More....

boy_edited.jpg

The Boy in the Bag!

Kid-Knap-Sacked

On Christmas Day 1918, as No. 4 Squadron Australian Flying Corps were mopping up in Belgium, a small French orphan attached himself to them as their mascot.  They estimated his age at 7 years but he could have been younger...Read More....

boy_edited.jpg