Codford Camp and Australian soldiers
Number 1 Camp at Codford St Mary's
With its easy rail and road access to Warminster and Salisbury, during the First World War, there were no fewer than 15 different camps built in and around Codford. Initially this was to accommodate British troops before their deployment to France but after 1916 for New Zealand troops. The Australian No. 4 Command Depot (for the men who had been evacuated from the front line and were not yet fit to return to the front) arrived from Wareham in Dorset, remaining at Codford until November when it moved to Hurdcott.
During World War I large training and transfer camps were established in the surrounding area for the tens of thousands of Australian troops waiting to move to France. Codford also became a depot in 1916 for the men who had been evacuated from the front line and were not fit to return to the front.
The remains of rows of temporary wooden huts can be seen to the north of St Mary's church stretching along the eastern side of the Chitterne Road. Also clearly visible are the earthworks associated with the Codford Camp Railway that linked the civilian station with the camp sites.
Codford's 'Anzac Badge' was the idea of an Australian Brigade Commander during World War I, who wished to leave a visible memento of his brigade when it departed. This consists of a gigantic Rising Sun badge (measuring 53 x 45 metres), carved in 1916 into the grass of a hillside to expose the underlying bright white chalk. The soldiers of 13 Trg Bn AIF who maintained the badge as a form of punishment named the site 'Misery Hill'.
The meticulously maintained Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery nearby is the second largest New Zealand War Grave Cemetery in the UK, and contains the graves of 97 Anzac troops, 66 New Zealanders, and 31 Australians.
Soldiers who passed this way
- William Francis Cohn 20 Nov - 20 Dec 1916 - Codford General Hospital
- Charles Blunt 3 Dec 1916 - 24 Jun 1917 - 13th Training Battalion
- James Edward Grabham 16 Nov 1916 - 9 Dec 1918 - 13th Training Battalion & 12th Training Battalion cadres.
- Victor Emanuel Durling 18 Nov - 1 Jul 1917 - 13th Training Battalion
- Patrick Francis Fitzgerald 29 Dec 1916 - 14 Feb 1917 - 12th Training Battalion
- Robert Prior Bailey 11 Jan - 4 May 1917 - 4th Training Battalion
- George Mouatt Dow 4 Mar - 28 May 1917 - 12th Training Battalion
- James Peter Henderson MM & Bar 27 Mar - 30 May 1917 - 4th Training Battalion
- Henry (Harry) Butcher 30 Apr - 10 May 1917 - 51st Battalion reinforcement cadre
- Alfred Gittins 26 Aug - 2 Oct 1917 - 4th Training Battalion
- Victor Norman Chandler MM 3 Sep - 10 Oct 1917 - 13th Training Battalion
- Eugene Anthony Gillespie 15 Sep 1917 - 22 Jan 1918 - 4th and 13th Training Battalions
- Victor Norman Chandler MM 11 Oct 1917 - 29 Jan 1918 - Instructional staff
- George Emanuel Harber 4 Jun 1918 - 18 Mar 1919 - Instructional staff