Fascinating Shoreham Camp finds go on display

DETAILED research into Shoreham Army Camp during the First World War has been collated in a new exhibition at Worthing Museum.

Museum curator Hamish MacGillivray with sandbags 
LP1501310 SUS-150426-164601008
Museum curator Hamish MacGillivray with sandbags LP1501310 SUS-150426-164601008

Training For War, exploring the history of the camp from 1914 to 1919, was opened by Worthing mayor Vic Walker and deputy mayor Michael Donin on Saturday.

Mr Donin played his own part in the exhibition, as he was interviewed by Worthing College students about his Canadian ancestry.

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It had been discovered that Alexander Young Jackson, the great Canadian artist, was at Shoreham for a time and the students wanted to know more about the painter.

Worthing College students Jake Saunders, Rhianna Bitten, Zoe Caplin and Emily Scott, who created a film for the exhibition LP1501314 SUS-150426-164642008

Curator Hamish Macgillivray, who initiated the project and secured a £38,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, said the link to Jackson had been one of their greatest finds.

With little food and poor training, Jackson had no happy memory of his time at Shoreham Camp. He was even part of a short-lived mutiny, when his company refused to go on parade due to the poor conditions.

But during his time there, he was encouraged to go to London to meet Lord Beaverbrook and offer his skills as an artist, and Jackson went on to produce some poignant paintings after returning to France.

The exhibition includes mobile, all-weather stands, which will be going on tour over the summer. The research has been laid out in various topics, such as entertainment, the characters and local reaction.

Worthing mayor Vic Walker and deputy mayor Michael Donin LP1501315 SUS-150426-164653008

Project co-ordinator Gail Mackintosh said: “I was impressed with how much my volunteers were able to find out. There was story after story coming forward.”

An 11-minute film by Worthing College students includes interviews with service veterans, comparing their experiences with life at the camp.

This is being shown in a replica hutment and nearby are some original nails, found in back gardens near Buckingham Park, in Shoreham, which would have been used to build such huts at the camp.

Miss Macintosh said there had been a great deal of interest shown in the metal detecting, including a special team at Slonk Hill, where part of the camp was located.

Mr Macgillivray added that links with the community had been an important aspect.

“Part of the project is to do with partnership,” he explained. “We always intended this to open up doors and with the Commonwealth and South African finds, it can open up research in other countries.

“This is something just within living memory. We like to have stories and their are great stories told. The story developed from the way the land has changed and been used for training in the last 200 years.”

Training For War is on display at Worthing Museum, in Chapel Road, Worthing, until May 23. It will then move to Worthing College from June 18 to 18 and Marlipins Museum, in High Street, Shoreham, from September 2 to October 3, with a pop-up exhibit at Shoreham Market on August 8.

There will also be a World War One Trench Day at Shoreham Fort on July 5, where 3rd Shoreham Sea Scouts will be making a replica trench using sandbags.