Church of England Soldiers Institute

In 1904 it was agreed that from the scenic point of view the new camp was in beautiful country, but after 14 days of regarding the view boredom set in. An Institute was therefore built (where One Stop shop is situated now) at a cost of £1,500 (from a grant of £1000 from the Church of England Soldiers and Sailors Institute Association) and a further £1000 until it was self-supporting. It was to be open to all soldiers and sailors wearing the King’s uniform regardless of religion.

The building was opened in August 1904 by Princess Alexander of Teck, who, with the Prince, had motored from Aldershot. She arrived at 3.45pm, was shown over the building and presented with a bouquet. Afterwards tea was provided for the visitors. The Institute was of corrugated iron, boarded all round inside and put up in 7 weeks. There was a refreshment room, a reading and writing room where concerts could be held, a billiard room, a large devotional room with a harmonium and 5 bedrooms with 2 bathrooms.

Church of England Soldiers Institute

In September 1906 a large new hall was added to the back of the Institute. It seated 500 and was used for services and entertainments. The entertainments platform was at one end and at the other, shut off by shutters, was the Chancel, only opened during services.

In 1908 the Brownlow Hall was added and named after Major General Brownlow, who was president of the C. of E. Institutes. This was used for dances and many other activities including a cinema, until one opened at the Empire Club in 1938. During the Second World War the two world billiard champions, Joe Davis and Sidney Lee, frequently came down to give exhibitions and to play billiards with the Canadian troops. The building was closed in 1960 and demolished.

Wesleyan Soldiers Home

The Wesleyan Soldiers Home was opened in 1905, 300 yards behind the C. of E. Institute, overlooking a valley of heather and pines. The cost of the building was £2,500 and it was of wood covered by a roof of corrugated tin and painted dark green.

Wesleyan Soldiers Home

A garden surrounded the Home, which was laid out with flower beds and seats all along the front. It was declared open by the Rt. Hon. Earl of Donoughmore, who said that now Bordon and Boredom were not synonymous terms! There was a games room, a billiard room, a reading and writing room, in which daily papers were provided, a devotional room and a lecture hall seating 300. There were 10 bedrooms together with 3 baths and a suite of rooms for the chaplain. It was closed and demolished in 1960.

Garrison activities enjoyed by the local population

The King’s Birthday

On a very wet 1 st July 1905 the Trooping of the Colours for the King’s Birthday took place. There was a salute of 21 guns from Broxhead Common and hearty cheers from those assembled. General Pitcairn-Campbell took the salute at the march past.

A Torchlight Tattoo

Final tableau of Torchlight Tattoo

During an evening at the end of August 1905 a Torchlight Tattoo was held at Bordon Camp by kind permission of Major General E.T. Hutton. Thousands of people attended on Broxhead Common. It started at 9pm with gunfire, massed bands and figure marching by torch bearers. The formation of the Royal Cipher was cleverly done. After the Last Post and Lights Out all the torches were dashed to the ground and the spectators were left in the dark. 1400 soldiers took part and the arrangements were made by General Pitcairn-Campbell.

Church Parade on Broxhead Common.

On the last Sunday in August 1906 there was a church parade. All Church of England troops of the 3 rd Division of the Aldershot Army Corps took part and it was held on Broxhead Common. Crowds came by foot, in motor cars, or carriages, and innumerable cyclists arrived from Alton, Farnham and Petersfield. The Rev. Harry Blackburn, Chaplain to the Forces and Bishop Taylor-Smith officiated. The salute was taken by Major General Hutton as the parade returned to barracks.

Church Parade on Broxhead Common.

Entertainment in Camp

A dance was held weekly in the gymnasium situated in St Lucia Barracks, each regiment taking the organisation of it in turns. Concerts were also held there, along with amateur theatricals. The gymnasium was also used for roller skating evenings, when a band was present and card tables were also set up.

Membership card for the Club held in the Gymnasium, St Lucia Barracks

The coming of the railway to Bordon and the Military Extension

(for more detail see Longmoor Military Railway on the main menu)

On 11 th December 1905 the Bentley and Bordon Light Railway was opened to passengers and goods traffic. Eight trains ran from Bentley to Bordon on weekdays and seven from Bordon to Bentley, except on Saturdays, when there were eight. Two trains ran each way on Sundays.

8 th (Railway) Royal Engineers Company arrived in Longmoor the same year to survey a route for a standard gauge line from Longmoor to Bordon and this link was begun immediately.

Whitehill Police Station and railway line alongside the main road.

Problems arose over the construction of a level crossing at Whitehill where the line had to cross the main road. Objections came from the various councils, and it was not until 1907 that these were resolved. The crossing was eventually completed in 1908. Meanwhile the construction of a bridge and cutting was carried out and completed in 1910 and the line finished a year later. This relieved the necessity of having an attendant present to ‘warn or assist traffic’ every time a train used the crossing.

There was another road crossing for the military railway situated at Station Road and this continued to have an attendant on duty.

Crossing at Station Road with attendant

After World War One a full railway service was installed from Liss in the south through Longmoor and Bordon to Bently. In 1935 the name was changed to LMR (Longmoor Military Railway, and the trains were run from Longmoor to Waterloo for leave purposes.

At the outbreak of World War Two Royal Engineer troops ran trains in Europe, Palestine and in other countries. After World War Two the railway carried on and locomotives and running stock were transferred from British Rail to LMR. All tracks were removed by 1971.

The construction of brick built barracks

In 1906 the first brick built accommodation was initiated. Louisburg Barracks, together with the riding school was built to house two regiments of Field Artillery, one in Louisburg East and one in Louisburg West.

Louisburg Barracks

At the northern end of Central Road in Louisburg Barracks was a veterinary hospital with 24 loose boxes and 20 stalls, to care principally for the sick horses of the two artillery regiments. After the 1939-45 War these sick lines were occasionally used to stable horses taking part in nearby horse shows and similar events, and were demolished in 1971.

Louisburg Stables

RA Institute

Along Station Road a soldiers Institute for the Royal Artillery in Louisburg Barracks (now the Garrison Church) and a Junior School (now Barbados House) were built.

Sergeants’ Mess

Next to the RA Institute a Sergeants’ Mess was erected. In 1906 a photo was taken from Station Road of a group of soldiers outside the main entrance. In the front row one soldier has a hat brought back from South Africa and a civilian and four dogs are also included. This building is now painted white, but can still be seen from Station Road behind a barricade of sandbags.

In 1907 work began on the Royal Engineers Barracks and stables on the other side of the main road to accommodate the 26 th Field Company Royal Engineers. They were opened in March1909 and admired for all the fittings, which were far in advance of anything yet introduced into the camp. They were provided with recreation rooms, a regimental institute and other suitable conveniences. Since then they have been put to many uses. The hut on the corner was used as a bar and recreation rooms for troops immediately prior to the Falklands war in 1982, and subsequently as training rooms by the British Red Cross. Other huts were used by the Garrison Play School, a Youth Group, the 1 st Bordon Garrison Scouts and a Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. The old stables were used as a store for building, painting and electrical contractors. The area has been known for a long time as the old R.E. lines, until recent demolition in April 2004.

RE Lines taken from Broxhead

Between the wars, the Royal Army Service Corps lines (since demolished) were built between Western Road and the old Garrison Theatre in Louisburg Barracks to accommodate 9 th Company RASC, which came under the command of Officer in Charge RASC Service Companies, Clayton Barracks, Aldershot.