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Blandford Camp

 

HISTORY OF BLANDFORD CAMP


The history of Blandford Camp is portrayed in a number of Museum displays.
There are numerous prehistoric sites within the camp boundaries, but the first recorded use of the site was as a racecourse. Race meetings began in the late 16th century and an annual race week was held until the end of the 19th Century.

The military use of the site began in the 18th century when local volunteer units used it as a training ground. In 1806 a Royal Navy Shutter Telegraph Station was built near the racecourse on the site now known as Telegraph Clump. This signal station was on the London to Plymouth route and was closed after the Napoleonic War, though the site remained occupied until 1825.
There is an interactive display of the Shutter Telegraph in the Museum.

 

BENBOW LINES IN 1917


 

In November 1914 the Royal Naval Division (RND) established a base depot and training camp on the site and a German POW camp was set up alongside it.

The RND moved out in 1918 but was replaced by the Royal Air Force Record Office, Equipment and Personnel Depot and Discharge Centre. At the end of 1919 the camp was closed and both the wooden huts built for the RND and the camp's railway line were removed.

The site returned to agricultural use.
 

Benbow Lines
 

At the end of 1919 the camp was closed and both the wooden huts built for the RND and the camp's railway line were removed. The site returned to agricultural use. 

In 1939 the camp was reactivated as a mobilisation and training centre for reservists called up to meet the threat from Nazi Germany.

Later anti-aircraft units of the Royal Artillery also trained on the site and it became a Battle Training Camp.

The Royal Corps of Signals Memorial

The Royal Signals Memorial was moved from Catterick when the training organisation moved to Blandford Camp in the early 1990s.
 

Blandford Memorial

The Home of the Corps


Under the Government's 'Options for Change' initiatives of the early 1990s the face of Blandford Camp changed considerably.

30th Signal Regiment moved to Bramcote to make way in 1995 for Royal Signals soldier training to be moved from Catterick Camp. The Headquarters of the Corps also came to the site from London.

Blandford Camp is now the 'Home of The Royal Corps of Signals'


US  22ND GENERAL HOSPITAL


In April 1944 the first of five US Army hospitals was established in the camp ready to receive the wounded from the invasion of Europe. These hospitals were closed after VE Day, having treated some 20,000 patients.

DDay US Hospital

The Roosevelt Garden and Memorial werededicated on 30th May 1945 in the camp and a memorial service is held there annually in November in remembrance of those who died.

From 1946 until 1962 Blandford Camp was used to train National Servicemen by the Royal Artillery, the Royal Army Service Corps, REME and the Army Catering Corps. The camp was also used as a venue for motor cycle racing until the circuit was adjudged unsafe.

In 1960 the 30th Signal Regiment moved into the Camp to be followed in 1967 by the School of Signals which moved South after over 40 years in Catterick. The School (now the Royal School of Signals) was responsible for management and technical courses for Royal Signals Officers and Non-commissioned Officers.

The School came to Blandford Camp in 1967 so that its students could take part in joint exercises with other Corps in the South of England and its engineering officers would be close to the centres of research and development. 

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