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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Cooden Camp, Bexhill, Sussex


Jayenn

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I’ve searched this forum for information on Cooden Camp, near Bexhill, in WW1, and found quite a lot but it's sketchy. As that was dated around 2004, I wondered if anyone has any more information to add to that, and even, perhaps, photographs and stories of some of the men or of the camp itself. I've tried the Internet but come across very little in-depth information.

I understand that it was mainly Canadians who were stationed there, and, for a short while, Lowther’s Lambs, but is there any more that anyone can tell me, please? Any description or photographs/drawings of the camp? Any names of officers, etc.?

All (and any) information gratefully received!

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The Royal Garrison Artillery had various depots there under different names during the war. Firstly A and B Siege Depots. No.1 Reinforcing Siege Depot was merged with Bexhill Siege School on 7th November 1917 and became No. 1 Siege Artillery Reserve Brigade. This brigade was moved from Cooden Camp to Shoreham on Sea on the 3rd January 1918. From 1st April 1917 to 31st March 1918 (including the 3 mths at Shoreham) it posted 12490 OR gunners to the BEF and MEF. 2046 to siege batteries at home and 348 Officers to the BEF and MEF. I am afraid I do not have any photos or further info for this depot.

Kevin

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Thanks to you both! It seems that very little of that camp has survived - nothing physical and no real records. I wonder if ,one day, they'll turn up a register of all the men who went there. I live in hope!

Thanks again.

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My Grandfather was stationed at Cooden Camp with No. 4 Coy RGA

Purely as a matter of interest, jay dubaya, can you tell me anything about your grandfather? Just out of interest.

John

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In short, he was a Grocer's Manager from Weymouth, married with one child (Grandad born October 1914) He attested 8th December 1915 and was called up on 28th August 1916. Posted to No. 3 Depot same day to No. 2 Depot Signal School 15th September 1916 and the to 'B' Siege 30th December 1916. To France 17th March 1917 to 3rd Army Pool on 5th April 1917 and finally to the 132nd (Oxford) Heavy Battery RGA where he remained until the guns were overrun on 21st March 1918 at Tertry and he was taken PoW. Although the family recieved notification from Limburg PoW Camp I don't think he was ever anywhere near there. His body was recovered from an area in the Sans Du Nord during 1920 and reinterred at St. Souplet.

Jon

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello John,

Thanks for the story of your granddad! I love to hear these - I think it's because I've been researching WW1 soldiers, especially those at Cooden camp, as part of a project.

Sorry it's taken me so long to reply - I can't believe it was that long ago. Again, I got no email notification of your reply even though I ticked the correct box.

John

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Hello Kevin,

I'm one of the Trustees of Bexhill Museum - and Jayenn is a fellow mucker working on our Great War centenary exhibition.

We have no Cooden Camp records, I'm sorry to say, so we are pretty well starting from scratch. As well as being part of our exhibition, we will be doing a guided walk around the Camp area in April/May 2014.

Fingers crossed for good weather on the day.

[John - sorry to hijack your thread]

Dave

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Hello Kevin,

My mucker tells the truth - him no speak with forked tongue! He does like chocolate biscuits though,

He's a trustee, that's true, which means he's one of those who having behaved themselves well enough can be let out, occasionally - an hour a day at first.

You can highjack my thread, Dave, anytime you want to - I don't charge much!

Thanks for your reply, Kevin!

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The Canadian Archives have quite a bit about the Canadian presence at Bexhill, although only a bit is available on-line. There is a sequence of newsreel videos at the National Film Board site which can be viewed here:

http://www3.nfb.ca/ww1/building-a-force-film.php?film=&_onfplr_sel=full&id=531247&formats=default&speeds=default&use_cc=no&use_dv=no

The War Diary of the Canadian Training School is, alas, not on-line, but there is an on-line Diary of the Canadian Convalescent Hospital there.

There are also photos. It is not always easy to find what stuff they have on-line. I am attaching a photo of the staff of the Anti-gas School at Bexhill. I found it by searching for "Bexhill" here:

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/lac-bac/search-recherche/arch.php?Language=eng

post-75-0-23933400-1385340247_thumb.jpg

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Hello jhill, thank you for your message.

The newsreel item at the National Film Board is new to me. It is quite stunning. Thank you for reporting it.

We do know of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Red Cross Hospital war diary. Pity, as you say, that the Canadian Training School war diary is not on line.

We do also know of the Archives Canada photos.

We are very fortunate to be able to tap into such rich sources.

The Canadians appear to have been well liked and settled within the community. A happy era which was to be repeated in the Second World War.

Dave

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