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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Soldiers in Corsham ,Wiltshire.


frogturn

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Hello to all, and thanks for looking.

Being an ex-Corsham lad i was interested in this picture i picked up recently.

can anyone place a date on it and tell me more about the kit in it?

Many thanks as ever ,for your time and expertise,

Paul.

post-16679-1223414538.jpg

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From first glance I would guess 1900-1905 period. Uniform and kit dates the photo around the time of the Boer War e.g. Slade Wallace Valise equipment, rolled black/blue greatcoat, haversack slung over the shoulders in marching order, slouch hats and what appears to be Long Lee Enfield's. Nice photo.

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Krithia is spot on I think and his key indicators all go to verify the date very well.

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Traffic is a bit different as well.

I think this is taken on the A4 at the Biddestone turn off, beside the pub there. I forget its name - Cross Keys?

I left Corsham 42 years ago.

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An interesting detail is the casual way the men are differently carrying their rifles.

John.

That posture is known as 'Marching at Ease' and still exists. Once close to the destination the men are told to 'March to Attention' and will then either slope or order their arms (depending on period and type of rifle) and will enter in a smart, uniform and soldierlike manner.

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Hi,

Thanks to everyone for their input.there is an existing photo of troops marching to [or from]the Boer war,through Pickwick.

I wonder whether this picture is of the same march.

i think healdav's thoughts maybe right.the Crosskeys are only 1/2 mile away from pickwick and on the A4 too.

I am going to Corsham tommorow,and will have a look for the building in the background of the photo.

Thanks again,to all,Paul.

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Is that the lodge house to Hartham Park they are marching past? That would place it near the Cross Keys. Great photo- you couldn't stand on the A4 like that now!

Michelle

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Hi to all,

Thanks to all for replying and just a note to say we were all wrong in the pictures location.

The picture is taken near the road junction,lacock road with the Hungerford almshouse to your back,facing the British school[The building you can see],on your left is the cricket field.

Very ironically,the corsham cenetaph[yet to be built in the photo' time ]is just off to the right,just off picture .

Hope thats left you,knowing where i mean[i.m, confused now!]

My mum figured it out.

Thanks,Paul.

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I've got you- I was wondering if it was around there, after I had posted!

Michelle

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Paul

There is a similar photograph entitled 'Troops march through High Street, after returning from South Africa (1901) in Corsham - An Illustrated History a book written by and self published in 1983 by local historian Christopher Hall.

I will look out my copy and scan and post.

Dave

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Paul

There is a similar photograph entitled 'Troops march through High Street, after returning from South Africa (1901) in Corsham - An Illustrated History a book written by and self published in 1983 by local historian Christopher Hall.

I will look out my copy and scan and post.

Dave

Thanks for that

,Dave,but strangely enough i borrowed the same book from my mum at the weekend,and found the picture-i had it in the back of my mind i had seen it before.

Chris Hall was a friend of mine at school,along wth Stephen Flavin who has done all those books about postcards of Corsham.

Gosh,i rub shoulders with the great and good,,,,,,

Maybe one day, i will get all this info together and help create a book about Corshams part in the great war.

Thanks again,Paul.

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Some odd jottings re Corsham:

Sir Evelyn Wood's army marched from Salisbury Plain to camps at Bowood and Corsham: Devizes & Wiltshire Gazette, Sept 17, 1903

During the war there was a substantial ammunition depot near Corsham. In 1915 a small mine that had produced Bath Stone at the Ridge, south of the town, was taken over by the Government for the storage of TNT and cordite. The Director General of Explosives reached an agreement with the owners, the Bath Stone Company, whereby it converted the mine, with public footpaths in its vicinity being closed. The following year, the workings were inspected by General Savile and Colonel Dempster, accompanied by the company’s general manager, Sturge Cotterell, who so impressed the officers that he was appointed Superintendent of Munitions Stores. It had 12 acres of storage space, only half of which was cleared and converted during the Great War. It contained up to 16,00 tons of explosives. A quarry tramway of 2ft 5½in gauge connected the mine with the GWR main line at Corsham Station, 1½ miles away, where 21 trucks could be accommodated in the sidings of which the depot had exclusive use, with a loading platform specially adapted for ammunition wagons. Two-foot-gauge track in the workings served raised stacking platforms, and a steam winding machine capable of lifting six tons was at the top of the main entrance shaft. The depot was abandoned shortly after the war.

In 1916 a battalion of the Scots Guards was billeted in Corsham prior to leaving for France and practised digging trenches on the Battery. Field Marshal Lord Methuen's family lived at Corsham Court; he had very close links with the Scots Guards, having become their colonel in 1904. His son served with the Scots Guards during the war. Perhaps some of the regiment were invited to Corsham to put on a show for the local people, perhaps to encourage recruitment.

Moonraker

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During WW2 these 'quarries' were transformed into an aircraft factory, and had an underground rail line from Box Tunnel - if you stop on the bridge over the railway on the hill down to Box on a sunny day, you can just about see the doors to te underground railway not far inside the tunnel.

In the late 1950s it became a RN Stores Depot that used three quarries (the one by te railway is so big that only a small part was used). The railway was pulled up in 1966 (I lodged with the man who did the pulling).

When on the bridge you will see a rickety sort of staircase going up to a pile of corrugated iron (if its still there). That is the entrance to the Prime Minister and Chiefs of Staff ultimate bolthole in case of a nuclear war.

That ridiculous book "Secret Britain" or some such title, has this as the war HQ f the Foreign Office, and says they would have their own underground rail system using the railway that (unknown to the author) had been puled up.

At the top of the hill RAF Rudloe Manor still exists, I think, and has some enormous radio installations. Nuff said. It was also the site of the ROC regional HQ.

The RN depot closed some years ago (to my amazement when I found out) and I have no idea where everything went.

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The Box Tunnel railway link, which was standard gauge, was entirely separate from the narrow gauge railway which connected with the GWR main line at Corsham and served Pickwick Quarry and other former stone mines in the area to the west of Corsham. As far as I know, Pickwick mine is now open to the public as a private museum, and much of its narrow gauge trackwork is still in situ.

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The Box Tunnel railway link, which was standard gauge, was entirely separate from the narrow gauge railway which connected with the GWR main line at Corsham and served Pickwick Quarry and other former stone mines in the area to the west of Corsham. As far as I know, Pickwick mine is now open to the public as a private museum, and much of its narrow gauge trackwork is still in situ.

Always happy to talk about Corsham!The Pickwick Quarry was a private museum for a while,but is now back in full flood as a working bath stone quarry,since stone prices went back up,to make it economical,to reopen.I was lucky enough to get a private tour about 20 years ago,the workings are enormous.My ancestors,made a dangerous living,as quarrymen in that mine,and just to make it relevant to this forum,my great grandfather was blacksmith there untill called up for the A.S.C in 1915.

The underground town[burlington]is a whole subject in itself,I would recommend anyone to google the terms,there is a lot of websites out there on the subject,very interesting.When i was a kid,you could hear the large underground vent fans running on a hot summers night and train traffic moving about underground.It was an open secret about the town around corsham,me and a few mates had a backup plan, that come the event of nuclear world war ,we would enter the town through one of the escape tunnels[we knew where they were!]

I don't think we were the only ones with that plan either.....

Regards,Paul.

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The "Bath Underground Stone Quarry Museum" was always intended to be a working stone quarry with public access, rather than a merely static quarrying display. It seemed, however, to be having a very long gestation period - I worked there as a curator in the summer of 1988.

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Is there a list of names on the Corsham war memorial? I've Googled, but can't find any at first look.

I'd be interested if there are any FIELDs on there....

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Is there a list of names on the Corsham war memorial? I've Googled, but can't find any at first look.

I'd be interested if there are any FIELDs on there....

Hi,

yes ,

i have a copy of the cenotaph names.there is a Walter Henry Field ,died october 1917.

Regards,Paul.

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Or they could be just as easily a local Volunteer Battalion on their way or returning from annual camp and I suspect the large horse drawn wagon is carrying their tentage or baggage. The felt hat was popular with the Vounteers and later some Territorial units right up until the outbreak of WWI.

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It was an open secret about the town around corsham,me and a few mates had a backup plan, that come the event of nuclear world war ,we would enter the town through one of the escape tunnels[we knew where they were!]

I don't think we were the only ones with that plan either.....

Regards,Paul.

You were miles behind. I wrote the plans to open the mines to the public in case of nuclear war! - in 1966.

The RN (camp Royal Arthur) would have taken charge. You would have been invitd to bring blankets, clothes as much food and water as possible, and even bicycles and motorbikes, etc.

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