Training for War project leaves a legacy for future

Adur District Council chairman Carson Albury and Worthing mayor Michael Donin with the 1918 pickaxe
Adur District Council chairman Carson Albury and Worthing mayor Michael Donin with the 1918 pickaxe

THE year-long Training for War project is coming to an end, but the legacy will live on for years to come.

Worthing Museum and Art Gallery launched the project 100 years after the outbreak of the First World War, having received a £38,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from organisations in Adur and Worthing.

1914 graffiti found at Marlipins Museum recently, stating: "Jim starts Sept 9th 1914. Very dry start for beer."

1914 graffiti found at Marlipins Museum recently, stating: "Jim starts Sept 9th 1914. Very dry start for beer."

Partners involved in exploring the history of Shoreham Army Camp have included Shoreham Fort, the Sussex Archaeological Society, Worthing College and Archaeology South-East.

Project co-ordinator Gail Makintosh said: “It has been a long year and we have certainly discovered a lot along the way. Family contributors have shared their stories and landowners have allowed us to rummage in their back yards.”

She encouraged Shoreham residents to continue to share finds with Marlipins Museum. The project website (www.worthingmuseum.co.uk/shoreham-army-camp) will continue and the exhibition panels will be used in Worthing Museum’s education programme.

A celebration was held at Marlipins on Tuesday, when the latest find was revealed by Worthing Museum curator Hamish MacGillivray.

He allowed Adur District Council chairman Carson Albury and Worthing mayor Michael Donin to unwrap the 1918 pickaxe, found in the grounds of Christina and Rob Heath’s home on Slonk Hill.

Mr MacGillivray said: “There is a date stamped on it of 1918 and the initials ‘OS’. We were scratching our heads but just this afternoon, trawling through the Canadian archives, we found it could be a military abbreviation used by Americans meaning ‘overseas’, so more evidence of Canadians being up there.”

Mr Donin said: “I have witnessed at first hand the work of this project with my involvement with the young people from Worthing College in making their video documentaries.

“I have also been amazed by the discoveries of the volunteers about Commonwealth troops based here during the First World War. These troops included the South Africans and men from my home country, Canada.

“It is hard to imagine that at any one time there could have been 20,000 men living up on those hills 100 years ago.”

Mr Albury said he had been fascinated to discover the missing history for the camp.

He added: “I gather that 100 years ago that local businesses provided the young men of Shoreham Army Camp with food, beer and entertainment and it seems that 100 years on, now businesses of Sussex have helped behind the scenes to support this project as well.”

The Training for War exhibition runs at the Marlipins Museum, High Street, Shoreham, until Saturday, October 3.

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