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"Western Shore camp", Southampton


ashmok
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I have an old newspaper article - dated 5th June, 1919 - relating to someone possibly connected to my family tree. It says he was a sapper in the Royal Engineers, and stationed at "Western Shore camp, Southampton" - but I can't find where that was.

A general Google search didn't turn up anything. The National Archives and British Newspaper Archives didn't, either. I was in Southampton recently and checked with people at the archives there, and the Central Library, and the best they could find was a reference to "military land" and Western Shore, but no details on what it was.

I did wonder if it was a typo... Could it have been "Weston Shore"? But I don't think so, this was the Southampton Daily Echo, a local paper, so I'd expect them to get it right.

Anyway: does "Western Shore camp" mean anything to anyone else? Thanks!

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There is a Weston Shore in Southampton - Weston being a sort of suburb on the Itchen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston,_Southampton

Thanks. I know Weston Shore had plenty of military camps in WWII, the Americans and Canadians in particular, but I'm not sure if there were any this early?

But then I could easily be wrong! I suppose they might have needed Royal Engineers to remodel Netley Hospital after the war...?

All I'm thinking is the newspaper article made it seem very specific, "Western Shore camp, Southampton", which suggests to me that it wasn't one of many small camps, but a particular location that every reader would know. If anyone's seen a reference to "Western Shore camp" or "Weston Shore camp" elsewhere (or anything similar) then I'd love to know more.

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Having been brung up around there, I can confirm Weston Shore's existence.

I can also confirm that the Southern Evening Echo still spell it wrongly, as per this post lifted off a 2011 blog about an article on the paper's website.

Brite Spark
wrote:

Where's Western Shore Southy?

Dont worry shipmate the Southern Evening Echo have corrected their mistake, Weston Shore was written as Western Shore lol!

I suspect that's what happened all those years ago too.

Also, Western Esplanade is next to Weston Shore and was sometimes referred to as Western Esplanade (Shore).

http://www.lostlidos.co.uk/2013/08/30/southamptonesplanadelido/

Regards

Ian

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Somewhat confusingly of course, Weston Shore is actually on the East side of Southampton Water. On the west side is Calshot, which has a long miltary history... maybe that's where it was?

Here's another bit from Wikipedia

Western shore

Across the Solent from Warsash, the ABP Harbour limit is at Stone point, near Lepe Country Park. The Department of Transport has responsibility for the safety of navigation within the Western Solent beyond this limit, as it currently lies outside the jurisdiction of any of the harbour authorities. The foreshore from here to Calshot, the first village to the north-east, is a lightly frequented and rather muddy beach.

At Calshot, with the long row of beach huts, the beach is shingle, and there is much of historical interest. Calshot Castle, built by Henry VIII to govern the port approach stands on Calshot Spit, a mile long (1.6 km) shingle bank, and housed a military garrison until as late as 1956. The area was a very busy major base and centre of activity for military flying boats. The hangars along the spit for them now accommodate a large activities centre, with climbing walls, velodrome and dry ski slope.

So try this...

http://www.southernlife.org.uk/calshot.htm

or this...

http://daveg4otu.tripod.com/airfields/cal.html

Regards

Ian

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As a local lad, I can confirm that Weston Shore it most definitely is/was.

There are now flats built in the hinterland going away from the beach but way back then , the space would have been flat and ideal for a camp.

Of course the Royal Victoria Military Hospital was just a mile or so away at Netley and the docks for embarkment a very easy march towards Southampton.

Also there was a large naval store and armoury adjacent to the site. Ideal really.

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There are now flats built in the hinterland going away from the beach

International Way.

Nice.

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The palm trees, you mean? Easy mistake to make.

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Ian/ IanW, thanks for the feedback! So Weston Shore looks like the most likely candidate, after all... I'd still like some confirmation, but I know the man in question was with the 99th Field Company of the Royal Engineers, so maybe their war diary will help. Something else for my "to do" list, anyway.

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The palm trees, you mean? Easy mistake to make.

Ah I can imagime myself there now - with the sirocco blowing over the Fawley refinery to caress the corniche that is International Way.

Sholing and Woolston siren-call their wandering sons back as ever.

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" Weston being a sort of suburb on the Itchen"......

Interesting and somewhat apt use of the term "sort of"

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I have a map of Soton in 1912 around the house somewhere. i will dig it out and see what it reveals about that area.

There was also an old fisherman's place called the Seaweed hut on the shore there that I recall from when I was a boy. It dated back to the 18C.

All in all a place steeped in history.

post-70-0-74849100-1381314520_thumb.jpg

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Sholing and Woolston siren-call their wandering sons back as ever.

I'm not going back to Obelisk Rd until they re-instate the floating bridge......Ahh what memories of the Bug-Hutch.

G

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Sholing and Woolston siren-call their wandering sons back as ever.

I'm not going back to Obelisk Rd until they re-instate the floating bridge......Ahh what memories of the Bug-Hutch.

G

Yes, let's start a petition to demolish that nasty newish bridge and bring back the floatie - plus the same reinstatement for the defunct Bridge Tavern and Carol the (in)famous bar-maid who graced the place. By heck we had more than a few beers there during breaks in floatie service. That boozer (and Carol) massacred more than a few Vosper Thornycroft pay packets. Glory days.

Methinks we are going a bit off topic here but we are illustrating the nature of the area adjacent to Weston Shore and why soldiers were at home there.

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I was but a callow apprentice stuck down at the Vosper-Thornycroft training school alongside the sewage farm. Such a happy atmosphere!

G

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Ah yes, Vospers - the industrial relations cockpit that is now riverside flats.

The story of the demise of British Industry - bloody minded management and obstreperous workers at constant war.

Fascinating place to work during uni holidays watching my old Dad being kicked about by all and sundry both above and below him in the management pecking order.

i was offered the position of shop steward in the stores but had to decline as I had a job in the real world to go on to.

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I'm a much younger man.

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  • 1 month later...

I think I have the answer to this now, courtesy of the super-helpful author/ historian Jim Brown. So just in case someone else has the same question: Jim found a map showing a "military camp" present in 1918, on Western Shore, between the Pirelli Cable site and the Lido, right beside the train tracks, perfect for Royal Engineers working on construction projects. It's sourced from "Southern Rails on Southampton Docks" by Ian Drummond.

Western Shore Camp

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I guess. Sorry! :blush: But thanks to everyone who replied, anyway.

This turned out to be way more difficult than I expected, though. Googling didn't help. British Newspaper Archive? No. Southampton Reference Library had no ideas. Same with the Records Office. Nothing obvious at the National Archives, etc etc...

Still, perseverance paid off eventually!! And I think I'm probably the only person in the world who needed to know this, but this thread does come top of the list if you Google for Western Shore Camp now, so at least if anyone else goes looking it'll be easier to find.

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So actually in the Western Docks - most interesting.

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Unfortunately there isn't any WW1 coverage or immediately afterwards until 1933, but using the 'Old Maps' website Click and entering coordinates 441563, 111799 its possible to track the development of the area. Pre the GW, other than the Corporation Baths (Lido on the railway map) on the shoreline (a constant at least till the late 1980s), the area is the tidal mud flats of West Bay; between 1910 and 1933 (obviously allowance is necessary for time lag before the maps' survey work & publication, and when it had actually happened on the ground) the area can be seen to undergo significant reclamation with the River Test's shoreline moving (& continuing to move) to the west of Western Esplanade to allow the industrial development. From the 1948 & 1953-54 maps its interesting to note the 'Hutted Camp (military)' to the west of the 'Lido' (by then, instead of on the shoreline, significantly inland) possibly fulfilling similar needs to that of the GW camp for WWII.

NigelS

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There are some tantalizing photo of the area around, but unfortunately mainly centreing on the Lido

1910 Click - wot no land!
1925 Click
1933 Click

The last two (the final aerial one particularly) do show huts of a military appearance but not in a camp arrangement; I wonder if Pirelli might have re-configured what the army left behind to suit their needs post war?

NigelS

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