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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Training at Otterburn


Martin Brown
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Hello All

Last year I directed excavations on a Great War set of practice trenches at Silloans on the Otterburn Training Area.

I am trying to find out who may have dug the trenches, or used them in training. Currently I have details of Northumberland Fusiliers in the area but nothing much to go on otherwise. Any help you can offer would be gratefully received and, of course, credited in my final report and the information leaflet we are producing.

Many thanks

Martin

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The main way I've been able to trace which units used Farnley Camp for trenches/gas/grenade schools during WWI is through local postcard publishers, but I suspect I've been especially lucky in this regard.

Local newspapers have also been useful, more so for working out who had been billetted in the town than went through the camp, but there are hints.

I haven't come across any official list of units passing through the camp and I don't know if any such list would have ever been compiled. It is possible that material is still classified (Farnley was auctioned off in the 60's).

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Thanks folks for your replies.

The excavations produced very little in the way of finds except for fusecaps and shrapnel balls, raising the suggestion that this is an artillery target, as Redesdale Camp had Gunners using it.

There is an Otterburn book that discusses Gunners at Redesdale but I had been wondering if any Infantry/RE were there to dig the trenches. However I do wonder if it was done by civilian contractors - nice suggestion. However I bet there were enough bored squaddies around to be told to get out on the moor with shovels!

Thanks again

Martin

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Just am idea when my father Commanded 72 Engineer Regiment RE (Tyne) based in East Bolden and later as Brigade Commander of 71-72 and 73 Regiments which were all TA commanded out of Fenham Barracks they spent a lot of time building bridges, repairing roads and going civil projects through out OTA and that was back in the 70s and 80s.

Just a possibility that one of them was involved, as I think all were established by WW1.

Cheers,

Rob

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Thanks for the helpful comments folks.

In respect of the Otterburn Then and Now book we were trying to test whether the assertion that they were a target was true. It looks as if it was but I wanted to fish on here and see if anything else emerged, such as the RE references.

Thanks again

M

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