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NigelS

A new badge for Fovant

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Bombadier

There is a shamrock badge there with the dates 1916 and 2016. Assuming that, from the dates, this is a new badge, then the poppy will not be the first new badge since the 1970s as the article claimed. Passed them several times last week and they are truly spectacular.

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Moonraker

I do wonder about the expense of carving and maintaining a new badge when those already there cost so much time, effort and money to keep in good condition.

 

I think that Bombardier's "shamrock badge" is in fact an artist's impression of how the poppy badge will look when completed.
 

See here

 

(This may be the article relating to the second link in Nigel's post, which I couldn't get to open.)

 

Moonraker

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Bombadier

Yes, that's the one. It's definitely on the hillside at the moment so perhaps it is just a layout at the moment. Very convincing though.

Nigel. (Another one)

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Old Tom

As a member of the Fovant Badge Society I am inclined to agree with Moonraker.

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Moonraker

I too am a member of the Society and have supported it generously for some years. I would like to think that the on-going maintenance of the new badge was fully taken into account when its carving was agreed.

 

Moonraker

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Fovant

I was brought up in Sutton Mandeville and went to primary school in Fovant in the late 50s and 60s. The complete set of badges and the map of Australia were still in place then and I can remember the ANZAC veterans coming over for the drumhead service. We used to search for spent bullets on the old rifle ranges on top of the downs. It is good that the society has got some funding, but having seen badges disappear over the years I too wonder whether the money would be better spent on maintaining what is already there and in need of so much work.

 

Army units used to help with the maintenance, not sure whether this is still the case nowadays.

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domsim

The Fovant Badges Society won a Heritage lottery fund grant for the new poppy (£52,7000), the grant includes money for future maintenance of the badge. The poppy with the dates 1916 above and 2016 below is now finished.

 

http://fovantbadges.com/new-badge-project/project-progress/

 

 

 

 

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clk

Hi,

 

I guess that it would have been part of the project brief, and the application for funding, but why the date of 1916? In terms of remembrance it seems a bit of a two fingered salute to those that fell in 1914/15. I get the 100 year anniversary thing, and the association of the poppy, but in a modern context I feel that its use has wider emblematic symbolism.

 

Regards

Chris

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NigelS

 

A recent article on the Daily Telegraph website -  Giant Flanders poppy joins soldiers' war carvings includes a contemporary photo of soldiers cutting one of the original badges which shows the camp huts clearly visible in the background on the opposite slope. The article  gives that the first badge was cut by the LRB in 1916 which presumably is why the dates 1916-2016, to mark the centenary of the first, have been included . The History of The London Rifle Brigade 1859-1919 gives that the 3rd Bn was at Fovant between January & September 1916, but doesn't mention the cutting of the badge, although it does gives this:

 

In the early spring the weather was very wet, and the parade ground, which was on a steep slope was so slippery that men could hardly stand and scarcely any drill could be done out of doors. With a view to making the men fit and giving them practise in using pick and shovel, two tennis courts were made near the officers' mess, which proved the greatest boon to officers and sergeants during the summer. This led to a question in Parliament: "Is it a fact that 100 men are being employed at Fovant in making tennis courts for officers?" The answer was in the affirmative, but nothing more was heard of it.

 

It's not difficult to imagine that  'practise in using pick and shovel' would have been extended to include the construction of the LRB chalk badge, but this must have been in the summer months when the slope would have been much drier and not so slippery! I haven't investigated Hansard, but can't help wondering if another question might have been asked in Parliament: Is it a fact that xx men are being employed at Fovant to carve a regimental badge into the chalk down there?

 

NigelS

 

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clk

Many thanks for that NigelS,

 

I'd read that the first badge was "cut" in 1916, and hoped that I had misunderstood the rationale for the dates of the new one. A badge just to commemorate the cutting of the first badge - if that were to be the case...least said the better.

 

Regards

Chris

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Moonraker

Nigel: thanks for the Daily Telegraph article and great photo.

 

See also

 

this thread

 

about a badge possibly cut in 1915. (see my post 39.)

 

In a letter published in The Times of April 20, 1926 (p17) concern was raised about the state of the badges, with a reference to "Leicester's Tiger". The tiger featured prominently in the cap badge of the 2/4th with a reference to "Leicester's Tiger". The tiger featured prominently in the cap badge of the 2/4th Leicestershire Regiment, which was at Fovant from January to February 1917, perhaps hardly long enough nor the time of year, to carve a badge. But there were two four-legged animal carvings among the badges carved in the Great War.; one cannot be matched to the Leicestershire's Tiger, but another has been described as a dingo – and might well be a tiger! In September 1928 there were a flurry of articles in The Times (including one accompanied by an editorial leader and a letter in the edition of September 18). Only visible then, it was claimed, were the stag of the Warwickshire Regiment, a Maltese cross, parts of the London Rifle Brigade badge and the map of Australia. The YMCA badge was "better than most". The War Office had said that it sympathised but could not take the initiative in restoring the badges. Other organisations and army units linked to the badges responded more positively and it seems that many of the badges were restored.

 

See The Times September 19, 20, 22 and 26, 1928 and September 25 and 28, 1929.

 

There were several Parliamentary Questions asked about Fovant: On March 29, 1916, Mr Nield MP described Fovant as "a muddy marsh" and called for drainage works and for the camp to be abandoned until this was carried out. H J Tennant (the Under Secretary of State for War) claimed that "no training ground there [was] in a condition even remotely approaching that of a muddy marsh" and that all training grounds there were "on certain ground" and dried rapidly. On June 20, 1916 Tennant was asked by an MP called Glanville (from the context a member for a London constituency) about allegations that three men of the 6th London Rifles were "forcibly inoculated and vaccinated" at No 1 Camp, Fovant, on June 1. Tennant was unable to give a reply that day, but on July 3 said that the Officer Commanding at Fovant had denied that the men had anything to complain about "except they are subject to military discipline"; when interviewed by a senior chaplain of the United Church Congress they had said they had nothing to complain about, though one man initially had refused to strip for a medical examination.  Another Parliamentary Question brought the response that in 1915 there had been four deaths at Fovant, from diabetes, brain tumour, bronchitis and nephritis [inflammation of the kidneys].

 

Moonraker

 

 

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NigelS

Going a little off topic but worth including to link to Moonraker's post above. The History of the LRB 1859-1919 gives this on the arrival of the 3rd Bn at Fovant and the drainage:

On January 10th, 1916, the battalion was moved to Fovant, about twelve miles west of Salisbury on the road to Shaftesbury, and occupied a hutted camp at the bottom of the hill there immediately below three other camps. As hardly any of the roads had been properly constructed and all the drainage from above ran down to the LRB ground, it naturally was muddy, and the fact that all the huts had not got duck-boards did not make things more pleasant;  but Lieut AK Dodds was at once detailed to lay out and dig a system of drains, which was fortunate, because he had only just finished when a heavy snowstorm came down, which, when the snow melted, would have left the place in a terrible state if the work had not been done, and done so well as to stand this test.

Lieutenant Dodds appears to have been a bit of a mover, shaker & general fixer as it was also he that was responsible for the tennis courts (previously, when with the 1st Bn on its arrival on the WF in early 1915 it's mentioned that he was involved with the demolition & rebuilding of trench shelters) :

....Lieut AK Dodds was in charge of the work and rendered great help, not only by reason of his technical skill, but also his wonderful acquisitive powers. As a picker up of unconsidered trifles he was unsurpassed, and on one occasion he collected a gate which belonged to the RE, and was subsequently  traded back by him to the RE in exchange for some other article he wanted.

 

NigelS

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domsim

The “Cast-Iron” Sixth: A History of the 6th Battalion, London Regiment 1914-1918. Volume 1  

Author: Captain EG Godfrey, MC

Publisher: FS Stapleton
Year of Publication: 1938

P.80-81

‘During the sojourn at Fovant, which ended in October 1916, the opportunity was taken to mark for all time a permanent record of the battalion’s stay in Wiltshire, and to this end a score of returned First Battalion men, recovering from wounds and doing light duty with the Reserve, now rose in the early hours of the morning, and crawling crab-like up the steep side of the facing hill, removed the turf and cut a large Maltese Cross-the battalion’s badge- into the chalk. The example once set, other units were not slow to follow it, and in a remarkably short space of time, the face of the hill was decorated with various white regimental badges. That of the 8th battalion was built on such a scale as to dwarf the badge cut by the Sixth; but nothing daunted, the indefatigable band, led by Lieut. Ball and Sgt. Hall, renewed their labours, and this time outclassed in dimensions anything that had yet been attempted. Cut in mother-earth, this badge remains to-day a permanent record not only of the battalion’s stay at Fovant, but of the men who built it- the Hall’s and Ball’s Light Infantry.’

 

Interesting as it doesn't mention any earlier badges-who was first?

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The Scorer
On ‎27‎/‎07‎/‎2016 at 11:19, NigelS said:

....Lieut AK Dodds was in charge of the work and rendered great help, not only by reason of his technical skill, but also his wonderful acquisitive powers. As a picker up of unconsidered trifles he was unsurpassed, and on one occasion he collected a gate which belonged to the RE, and was subsequently  traded back by him to the RE in exchange for some other article he wanted.

 

Where's the "Like" button when you need it ..... !

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Moonraker
On 26/07/2016 at 22:21, NigelS said:

... The History of The London Rifle Brigade 1859-1919 gives that the 3rd Bn was at Fovant between January & September 1916, but doesn't mention the cutting of the badge, although it does gives this:

 

In the early spring the weather was very wet, and the parade ground, which was on a steep slope was so slippery that men could hardly stand and scarcely any drill could be done out of doors. With a view to making the men fit and giving them practise in using pick and shovel, two tennis courts were made near the officers' mess, which proved the greatest boon to officers and sergeants during the summer. This led to a question in Parliament: "Is it a fact that 100 men are being employed at Fovant in making tennis courts for officers?" The answer was in the affirmative, but nothing more was heard of it.

 

NigelS

 

Ouch! In Wiltshire and the Great War I grandly state that "No such reference has been found in Hansard." By which I meant I couldn't find one when I was researching the book. Prompted by Nigel's cross-reference to the above post in the thread "Did officers compete in sports against Other Ranks?" I've just searched Hansard again but among several references to Fovant in 1916 I can't find one to tennis.

 

It could be that a Parliamentary Question did not specify Fovant, possibly referring to "an army camp near Salisbury", for example. Searching for "tennis" produced rather too many hits for me to work through.

 

Moonraker

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NigelS

Unfortunately the History of the LRB doesn't give a reference to the tennis court Parliamentary question. Could be it's an 'urban myth' with the question having been asked, or comment being made about it, elsewhere, which then went on to be embellished in the book when it was published in 1921. I'm not sure  whether Hansard  includes coverage of Parliamentary committees, so perhaps 'a question in Parliament'  refers, not to a question asked during a debate or normal House  of Commons business which would have been reported, but one asked in committee?

 

NigelS

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Moonraker

The new poppy was unveiled today.

 

Preview article

 

(There's just been a very short piece on Meridian TV's regional news.)

 

Moonraker

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Steven Broomfield

Mrs Broomfield and I just saw it on the BBC local news. Both of us wondered, initially, why there had been a shamrock put on Salisbury Plain.

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Moonraker

I've just received the latest copy of the Fovant Badges Society annual newsletter, which concentrates on the cutting of the centenary poppy. Some 60 volunteers were involved, including local villagers, members of the Royal Corps of Signallers and younger people.

 

Several .303 bullets were discovered - perhaps the results of some very bad shooting on the WWI range at the bottom of the hill where the poppy was cut. Or "perhaps they were taking pot shots at rabbits," suggests the newsletter.

 

Of the older badges, those of the Devonshire Regiment and Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry were re-chalked.

 

The Society's finances appear to be in good shape.

 

Moonraker

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Moonraker
On 05/07/2016 at 18:50, Fovant said:

... The complete set of badges and the map of Australia were still in place then and I can remember the ANZAC veterans coming over for the drumhead service...

Map of Australia restored

 
The Map of Australia website

with details of Hurdcott Camp.

 

Moonraker

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Moonraker

Another new badge, that hasn't met completely with local approval, but presumably will soon be allowed to disappear.

 

image.png.6f337d4aba26319f1f780b8e44b6a3a2.png

 

 

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David Filsell

I can live with that

Regards

David

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clk

Hi,

 

1 hour ago, David Filsell said:

I can live with that

 

Not decrying the sterling virtues of the NHS in any way, but I'd rather not. Whilst in some ways I kind of understand the sentiment behind it, but for me it despoils the badges.

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

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