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New memorial to be built to remember soldiers at First World War training camp

PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:19 12 January 2018

An artist's representation depicting the position of the memorial on a grassed area, Main Road, Gidea Park. Photo: Royal British Legion.

An artist's representation depicting the position of the memorial on a grassed area, Main Road, Gidea Park. Photo: Royal British Legion.

Archant

A new memorial will be installed at the site of a First World War camp in Gidea Park to remember the soldiers who trained there.

The consecration ceremony in November, 2017 at the Royal Libery School. Photo: Royal British Legion. The consecration ceremony in November, 2017 at the Royal Libery School. Photo: Royal British Legion.

The memorial has been commissioned and will be installed at the location of the old main gate of Hare Hall Camp this year to mark the centenary of the end of the conflict.

The Artists Rifles First World War training camp in Gidea Park was part of the site where the Royal Liberty School on Upper Brentwood Road now stands.

On November 23, 2017, a short service was given by Rev Weston from St. Michael’s Church to consecrate the land on Main Road where the new memorial will stand.

A member of the Royal British Legion Brussels Branch, who is also part of the team who have been trying to get the memorial installed, explained that they have been planning the memorial for a couple of years now.

The camp's main gate once stood in thia area on the Main Road in Gidea Park. Photo: Royal British Legion. The camp's main gate once stood in thia area on the Main Road in Gidea Park. Photo: Royal British Legion.

He said: “We were pleased to welcome the head teacher, Mrs Saunders with six students who were a credit to the school with their behaviour and attitude.

“We were delighted to be invited to tour the school and were very interested to see Hare Hall and lay a wreath in respect of those who have died in WWI and other conflicts, in the quadrant gardens before the stained glass window.”

The ceremony was attended by students from the class of 1982, members of the Royal British Legion, Artists Rifles Association, and the Royal Air Force Association members.

The camp saw 10,000 men pass through the officer training programme in the First World War and many men marched out of the main gate, and across to France and Belgium.

These soldiers included Wilfred Owen and Edward Thomas, both well known poets who died on the battlefields in 1918.

Their poems, Futility by Wilfred Owen and Rain by Edward Thomas, will be written on the memorial.

In addition, the painting, Over the Top by John Nash, which depicts the first Artists Rifles at Marcoing, France on 
December 30, 1917 will be on the memorial.

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