Actions

Weymouth

From Our Contribution

Monte Video Camp.jpg
Monte Video Camp - shared with New Zealand
Monte Video Camp 2.jpg
Post New Zealand use
Littlemoor camp.jpg
Littlemoor Camp
Westham camp.jpg
Plan of Westham camp
Monte Video bath house.jpg
Monte Video bath house

Remarks

On the outbreak of war Weymouth was a popular seaside resort made fashionable as a watering-place by King George the Third. It also had military connections with the nearby naval base of Portland and several army camps & forts from the Napoleonic period. Following the landing of Australian & New Zealand troops, the Anzacs, at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915, casualties mounted rapidly and were initially transported to their base in Egypt, which was soon unable to cope, with wounded being sent on to England.

Here the troops found that there was no Australian base to which they could report once they had been discharged from hospital; what was needed urgently was a base in England where troops could be sent to convalesce. So on 31st May 1915 a command depot was set up at Monte Video House in Chickerell, some two miles from Weymouth.

The depot was the joint Australian and New Zealand depot until the NZ depot opened at Hornchurch in Essex in April 1916.

Unfortunately, not all men could be restored to fighting fitness and 600 had been invalided home as unfit for further service. From this time those troops who were likely to remain unfit were sent to another camp which had been opened at Westham, then on the outskirts of Weymouth (see map on right courtesy of Weymouth Library & drawn by Andrew Bryant, where present day roads are shown dotted).

After April 1916, Weymouth became the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) Command Depot No.2 which accommodated those men not expected to be fit for duty within six months, therefore, most of the Diggers repatriated as a result of wounds or sickness passed through Weymouth. During the years 1915-1919 over 120,000 Australian and New Zealand troops passed through Weymouth.

While the general training in the new unit concentrated on toughening-up, the individual training a soldier received was governed by medical inspections under which he was categorized weekly according to fitness.

As casualties mounted further on the Western Front, it became necessary to open a third camp at Littlemoor on a greenfield site to the north east of Weymouth. This was probably the prettiest camp with views of the Bincombe hills, well known for its flower beds and vegetable gardens tended by the Anzacs.


Soldiers who passed this way

All postings were to the No. 2 Command Depot unless otherwise noted.

1916


1917


1918


1919

Notes


External Links