Hidden secrets from army camp uncovered

Gail Mackintosh has been appointed project co-ordinator
Gail Mackintosh has been appointed project co-ordinator
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STORIES from Shoreham Army Camp are being dug up to honour First World War soldiers.

Gail Mackintosh, who has recently been appointed project co-ordinator for Training For War, is busy organising events and training for students and older volunteers.

Previously the community liaison officer for Horsham Museum and Art Gallery, Gail said she was excited about her new role.

She is already talking to local private collectors about the discovery of First World War postcards of Shoreham Army Camp.

“I am really excited to be joining the project and have dived in head-first,” said Gail.

“I think the project is a great opportunity to engage young and old in the local community with our shared heritage and to honour the memory of those who lived and died in World War One locally by uncovering and sharing their stories from Shoreham Army Camp.”

Training For War, organised by Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, has received £38,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore the history of Shoreham Army Camp from 1914 to 1919.

Hidden stories are being discovered about the contribution Sussex played during the First World War.

Worthing Museum, in partnership with Worthing College, has started the project by learning how to handle delicate artefacts and visiting Happy Valley Farm, near Slonk Hill, Shoreham, the site of the Army Camp during the Great War.

Gail said: “I think the project is a great opportunity to engage young and old in the local community with a shared heritage. It’s also important to honour the memories of those who lived and died in the First World War by uncovering and sharing their stories from Shoreham Camp.”

New video camera equipment has been provided and a travel budget made available for students and volunteers to research and create mini documentaries.

Discoveries made at Slonk Hill include a South African Army coat button, which is a big clue to the contribution of Commonwealth soldiers to the war effort.

In the archives at The Keep, the site of the East Sussex Records Office, students discovered in old coroner reports the rowdy and drunken behaviour of some Shoreham-based troops.

Gary Baines, chairman of the Friends of Shoreham Fort, has given the students hands-on training of First World War square bashing.

Students were also trained by a British Library expert in how to do oral history interviews.

Older volunteers are now being recruited by Gail to assist the students with finding more hidden stories about the camp.

There will be a special exhibition starting at Worthing Museum showing the results of the research in April, 2015. Email Gail.Mackintosh@adur-worthing.gov.uk for more information.