Roffey’s role in the First World War features in new exhibition

Roffey Camp mentioned in a 1919 article in the County Times
Roffey Camp mentioned in a 1919 article in the County Times

The important role of Roffey Camp during the First World War is highlighted in a new exhibition at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery.

To mark the centenary of the signing of the Armistice on November 11 1918, the museum has focused on the story of Roffey Camp.

A snapshot of life at Roffey Camp. Photo courtesy Horsham Museum

A snapshot of life at Roffey Camp. Photo courtesy Horsham Museum

Using contemporary photography, film footage, the camp newspaper, and locally-produced posters, the display aims to highlight the life of the camp and its relationship to the local area.

The outbreak of war saw around 1,500 young soldiers from London arriving in Horsham.

The population of Horsham in 1914 was a mere 11,500, and therefore the addition of 1,500 young men would have been a major event.

By early March 1915, work was completed at the new Roffey Camp and the battalion were moved into new, purpose-built accommodation.

Roffey Camp stretched from the Norfolk Arms to Forest Road, with the main entrance on Crawley Road.

The camp was home to numerous groups of soldiers and remained in use until 1919.

The human cost of the First World War was enormous, and is still felt to this day.

The photographs and ephemera in the exhibition demonstrate the duality of the war.

Lively, active young men signed up to do their bit for King and Country, with the support of the nation.

Gradually, as the reality of the brutal conflict became clear, the joy and national pride so visible in these images began to fade.

Home from Home: Life at Roffey Camp in WWI runs until January 19 2019.

Admission is free of charge.

Horsham Museum and Art Gallery is open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm.

For more information see www.horshammuseum.org.

See also: Horsham’s Remembrance Sunday Service - the schedule for the morning

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