The Building of a Garrison at Bordon
At the end of the nineteenth century the War Department decided to build new military encampments at two places about five miles apart on Crown lands at Woolmer Forest. The land for Bordon Camp, which was approximately 1 mile long and ½ mile wide, was laid out in the summer of 1899 by the Highland Light Infantry under direction of Royal Engineers, as described by Rev. Laverty in his scrapbook. However, work was interrupted by the Boer War and did not proceed. Efforts were concentrated on completing the camp at Longmoor, where occupation began in 1901. 140 huts were to be erected on each site, which would give accommodation for 5,000 men. Building material was conveyed to the sites by traction engines from Bentley Station. These caused tremendous damage to the roads and produced a large number of complaints from civilians. As a result, in 1901, trials were made using various types of self-propelled lorries from Aldershot. This was to ascertain their value as a means of transporting military materials and stores, and also to find the best type of engine. The steam ones proved very successful.
In November 1902, the War Office bought from Sir David Miller Barbour for £20,000 the Broxhead Warren estate of some 550 acres on which to build artillery barracks and stables. In 1903 other land was also acquired in the area at a cost of a further £18,000.
The officer responsible for the development of Bordon was Lieutenant Colonel W. S. Gordon RE, who had been seconded for a number of years to the Sudanese Army and was posted home to be in charge of the construction. After taking up his appointment in August 1901 his first responsibility was for the building, between 1901 and 1903, of Quebec and St. Lucia barracks. This construction was on the east side of the A325. The barracks in Longmoor had been named after battles of the Boer War and the Bordon barracks were given the names of battles in North America during the Seven Years War against France (1756 – 63). The principal officers’ residences were named after commanders in that campaign, Amherst and Wolfe.