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Remembered Today:

Sniper training


Eassierider
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I am aware of the British Army "sniper schools" established on the Western Front in 1916 to put British sniper training on a par with the Germans (including Major Hesketh-Pritchard's efforts to promote and improve sniping), but I believe that schools were also established in the UK at around the same time. I wondered if anyone might know of the locations of the British-based schools and if particular units were responsible for them or attached to them in some way. Any info out there?

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Thanks for that- pity there doesn't seem to be a part 2 to the article! But I must reiterate that I'm particularly interested in the schools that were apparently set up in the UK, rather than on the Western Front. I don't know if there's any record of them and I can only find passing mentions of their existence.

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Hello Eassierider

They may have done some work on this at the School of Musketry at Hythe but somehow I doubt that they would have trained many in the UK. For snipers you need men who are already good shots and physically fit, and there men would be more likely to be found alreaady with the BEF in France. It would make little sense to bring them back to the UK for training.

It would also make more sense to train them somewhere where the terrain, especially as broken lanscape, more closely reflected the ground over which they would need to operate.

Of course, there would have been musketry ranges at most of the military camps in the UK but I cannot see them teaching the techniques of sniping in any depth.

Ron

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Hello Eassierider

They may have done some work on this at the School of Musketry at Hythe but somehow I doubt that they would have trained many in the UK. For snipers you need men who are already good shots and physically fit, and there men would be more likely to be found alreaady with the BEF in France. It would make little sense to bring them back to the UK for training.

It would also make more sense to train them somewhere where the terrain, especially as broken lanscape, more closely reflected the ground over which they would need to operate.

Of course, there would have been musketry ranges at most of the military camps in the UK but I cannot see them teaching the techniques of sniping in any depth.

Ron

Hello, and thanks, Ron. What you say makes perfect sense, it's just that while reading this article:

http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/gre...ol-sniping.html

I came upon this passage:

"Additionally, by 1917 the mindset of the British High Command became more positive towards sniping and encouragement was given to its general adoption and aggressive practice whenever and wherever feasible. And all five armies of the BEF had sniper training schools whilst others were founded in the UK; all well supplied with new official training manuals and technical instruction books."

So I wondered where these "schools" might have been, or who might have gone to them rather than the Western Front schools (for instance, men recovering/recovered from wounds who had been noted as candidates while on active service). I have now contacted the Western Front Association to see if any light can be shed.

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Eassierider,

Some of the sniper schools based in the UK were the Sniper Wing at Bisley in Surrey, Hythe in Kent and the Northern Command School of Sniping at Brocton Camp on Cannock Chase. The Canadians had schools at Shornecliffe in Kent and Tidworth in, I believe, Dorset. There were probably others.

Regards,

Sniper

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Tidworth is on the Hampshire-Wiltshire border. Legend had it that at the civilian railway station one bought a ticket in once county and boarded one's train in another. The barracks themselves were/are in Wiltshire.

I would be interested in details of the Canadian sniper school there, as I'm studying the Canadians on Salisbury Plain.They were only at Tidworth for a few weeks in early 1915, when a training depot was briefly established, accommodating men left behind when the First Canadian Division left for France and Belgium in the first part of February. It moved to Shorncliffe in mid-March.

There was certainly a School of Musketry at Tidworth see here that catered for snipers of various nationalities.

Moonraker

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Superb stuff, thanks to you both! I was beginning to wonder if I'd dreamt the whole thing up...I don't suppose there are extant records from any of these schools?

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