Monte Video Camp - shared with New Zealand
Post New Zealand use
Plan of Westham camp
Monte Video bath house
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.
- Arthur Charles Cam 20 - 23 Jun 1916
- Leonard Henry (Lennie) Buckingham MM ? - 5 Jul 1916
- Victor Emanuel Durling 23 Oct - 17 Nov 1916
- Henry Thomas Cockram 28 Nov 1916 - 12 Feb 1917
- Albert George Bullock 13 Feb - 16 Mar 1917
- Aubrey Cecil Dawson 10 Apr - 8 May 1917
- James Henry Davidson 14 Apr - 3 May 1917
- William James Allen 2 Mar - 8 May 1917
- James Candish 3 Mar - 3 Jul 1917
- Richard Beattie 10 Apr - 22 May 1917
- Victor Emanuel Durling 2 Jul 1917 - 4 Feb 1918
- George Henry Aspinall 4 Jul - 9 Sep 1917
- Leonard Henry (Lennie) Buckingham MM 6 Jul 1917 - 9 Mar 1918
- William Arthur Green 31 Jul - 27 Aug 1917
- Alexander Donald 10 Aug - 9 Sep 1917
- Alfred Gittins 2 - 9 Oct 1917
- Charles Fancote 22 Dec 1917 - 31 Jan 1918
- Thomas Henry William Denny 14 Feb - 11 Mar 1918
- Aubrey Cecil Dawson 29 Apr - 19 Aug 1918
- William Wright Casterton MM 3 Oct - 11 Dec 1918
- Gordon Edgar (George) Bennett 11 Oct - 11 Dec 1918
- Francis William Swann 20 Nov - 8 Dec 1918
- David Forbes Abernethy Dec 1918
- Charles Fielder 1 Dec 1918 - 3 Jan 1919