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Remembered Today:

The Bulford Kiwi, by Colleen Brown


Moonraker
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The Kiwi carved on Beacon Hill, above Sling Camp, Bulford on Salisbury Plain, has featured in this Forum several times and Colleen Brown, author of this new book, asked us a number of questions


here

 

in 2015.

 

(New Zealand soldiers  were put to work to cut the original badge in 1919 to keep them occupied at a time of unrest in Britain generally and of impatience, sometimes manifested by rioting, among troops of all nations caused by delays in demobilisation and repatriation.)

 

I confess that a few of her questions made me think of straw-clutching and needle-in-haystack hunting, but her diligence has certainly paid off. Living in New Zealand, she was well placed to visit that country's archives and to track down descendants of New Zealanders based in Wiltshire in 1919. Notably she located the diary of the officer who organised the parties that worked (not always enthusiastically)  on the Kiwi and photographs of a brigadier-general reasoning (or remonstrating) with a large assembly of soldiers at Sling. (NCOs and privates united in making their grievances very clear.)

 

Colleen describes how the Kiwi was originally in a slightly distorted manner so that it would appear correctly proportioned from the ground. Over a century, its outline has changed a little, not least after it was re-cut after becoming camouflaged and overgrown during WWII. (The "N Z" initials are now lower down than was once the case.)

 

By 1980 the Kiwi had become weed-infested, leading to some strong debate about who should take responsibility for its maintenance – and who would pay for it. Happily a British unit, 249 Signal Squadron, seized the initiative and unofficially restored it. The book concludes with assurances that the Kiwi  "is now part of the [local] British Army culture", with its continuing maintenance assured.

 

The book appears not to be readily available in Britain (local GWF members may care to see if it's in the Salisbury bookshops), but appears on the lists of several Australasian booksellers. A great deal of time and effort was put into writing it, and Colleen is to be congratulated.

 

Moonraker

Edited by Moonraker
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9 minutes ago, MaxD said:

Presumably a typo in "  not part of the (local) British Army"  should read "now part...…"

 

Refurbished within the past two months.    http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/search/?search=bulford+kiwi

 

Max

Oops, yes, sorry.

 

Good to see a major effort to  keep the Kiwi looking fresh. A very welcome contrast to the near-apathy of fifty years ago.

 

Moonraker

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  • 1 year later...

I visited the Kiwi yesterday towards the end of a walk that took in the sites of Park House Camp and the Amesbury, Lark Hill and Bulfordmilitary railways.  Since my last visit, some very useful information boards have been installed.1943343231_Slinginfo.jpg.4af2a27de71b1c6369e5bf1797471c53.jpg

 

12595272_Slinginfo2.jpg.d1baf7dc9ee03c81348192ffb06903d9.jpg

And by the Kiwi itself is this, a very useful guide to the WWI layout:

1146245953_Slinginfo3.jpg.1e9dc6eef21ad04a00aaf31c2ad20d05.jpg

This year's weather has prompted a great deal of vegetation growth everywhere, and a large number of plants, some very spiky, were growing out of the Kiwi's chalk body.

There's very little of the three military railways to be seen (apart from three bridges on the Amesbury route) and a couple of online videos by the usually interesting Paul and Rebecca Whitewick aren't worth linking to. The route of the Bulford branch between the site of the civilian station and the Sling terminus is almost impossible to walk because of deep ruts. (One Sunday four or five years ago I encountered a convoy of off-road vehicles churning it up even further.)

Moonraker

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