During the Great War a number of army camps were set up on the commons south of Godalming in Surrey. Tens of thousands of soldiers, many of them Canadian, passed through these camps on their way to the killing fields of the Western Front or other theatres of war. One hundred years later the buildings are long gone, the land now heavily forested, but if you know what you’re looking for…
…or if you have a good Guide, as I did…
…you can still find traces of Witley Camp…
…or at least the Witley Camp rubbish dump.
Presumably, when the camp was cleared at the end of the war, bulldozers piled what remained into these mounds (above & below) and there they were left, as nature gradually reclaimed the land on which the camp was sited.
Talking of rubbish, apologies for the rubbish photography – the remains of the Navy Cut cigarette packet were too fragile to touch.
One of the ink wells still contained usable ink! Really.
My second-favourite find.
And my favourite find: this beautiful enamel shaving bowl. One wonders what stories it could tell. The barbed wire, British, by the way, is from near a cemetery called Welsh Cemetery Caesar’s Nose, to the north of Ieper. I will show you around it at some future date.
Various bullets (note the wooden-tipped one on the right).
Nine months later and the archaeologists have recently moved in, but many of the finds uncovered in the last year or two are on display at Godalming Museum.