First World War soldiers training at Stonehenge
 
Soldiers at Stonehenge: Salisbury Plain and the journey to the First World War, is the title of a new exhibition due to open at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre on the 5 November 2014. The exhibition will tell the story of the (then) world’s largest military training camp at Stonehenge and the estimated one million men who, between 1914 and 1918, were trained there.
 
Dermot Martin, writing in the Salisbury Journal, reports that –
 
Records show 180,000 men were stationed at any one time on the plain during the First World War. Their personal stories, photographs and original objects will form the basis of the exhibition but evidence of their presence can still be seen across the wider Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain landscape.
 
Robert Campbell, head of interpretation at English Heritage, which is staging the exhibition, said: “The task of these men was to overcome the horrific stalemate of trench warfare and to replicate conditions on the Western Front, soldiers dug intricate networks of trenches which were then pounded by shellfire. The exhibition will explore this aspect.” The war left its mark on the ancient archaeology of Salisbury Plain and the exhibition includes finds on loan from Wiltshire Museum including cap badges, rifle cartridges, aircraft parts and highly personal items such as a spoon and even part of a bottle of Australian hair tonic.
 
Full Salisbury Journal article here.
 
 
A French postcard (circa 1916) depicting a Bristol Monoplane flying over Stonehenge
Private collection Great Britain