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Hurdcott Camp in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Hurdcott Camp

26th Sep 1915 Sheffield City Battalion arrive at Hurcott Camp  The 12th York and Lancs Battalion arrive at Hurcott Camp for their final training before deployment to the front. Col Mainwaring stood down as CO being replaced by Lt.Col. J.A. Crosthwaite.

29th Oct 1915 13th East Yorks leave Ripon  13th East Yorks leave Ripon on 29th of October 1915 for Hurdcott Camp.

16th Nov 1915 Sheffield City Battalion move to Larkhill  The 12th York and Lancs Battalion move from Hurcott Camp to Larkhill for parts 3 and 4 of the Musketry course. Each man was issued with his own SMLE Rifle and the course included firing from trenches as well as on the traditional ranges. A few days after arriving at Larkhill an order was received to prepare to proceed to France.

30th Nov 1915 Half of Sheffield City Battalion complete musketry course  With the musketry course at Larkhill completed, the Sheffield City Battalion marched to Hurcott Camp.

2nd Dec 1915 Half of Sheffield City Battalion on leave  The War Diary of the Sheffield City Battalion records that the order to prepare to proceed to France has been withdrawn and half the battalion was given leave, until late evening on the 3rd. The other half was on leave from the morning of the 4th until late evening on the 5th.

5th Dec 1915 12th York & Lancs ordered to Egypt  Orders arrive for the Sheffield City Battalion to prepare to move to Egypt and tropical kit was issued.

14th Dec 1915 13th East Yorks leave Hurdcott Camp  13th East Yorks leave Hurdcott Camp at 8am on December 14th for Salisbury then left Salisbury at 1.15pm arriving at Devonport at 9.15pm.

20th Dec 1915 A & B Coys 12th York & Lancs leave Hurcott Camp  A & B Coys, Sheffield City Battalion marched out of Hurcott Camp and entrained for Devonport at Salisbury Station, the train left at 5am. C & D Coys marched out of the camp at 2.30am with their train leaving at 6.25am. The Battalion transport left the camp at 5pm.

The trains were shunted onto the dockside at Keyham Docks and the majority of the Battalion boarded the SS Nestor. A small party from the Battalion transport boarded HMT Malakoota to travel with the Divisional Artillery.

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Those known to have trained at

Hurdcott Camp

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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Pte. Martin Joseph Purcell 33rd Btn.

Martin Joseph Purcell was born on 9th June 1881, the son of Martin and Catherine Purcell of Orundumby, Walcha, New South Wales. He was working as a labourer in Kootingal when he enlisted on 13th March 1916. He left Sydney on the Anchises and after a few months of training in England was injured on 26th October 1916. Martin then transferred to France on 21st of November 1916 landing at Rouelles.

On 23rd July 1916 he was shot in the head and rejoined his unit until he was granted leave. While in England he became ill with rheumatism and after rest was sent back to battle. On 19th August 1918 he suffered severe gas burns to both buttocks and his left side and was left with a bad cough. After spending time in Sutton Veny and Hurdcott he was finally shipped home on 20th December 1918, discharged as medically unfit (could not see well in the dark). Martin Joseph Purcell died in Walcha on 27th January 1959. He was not married and had no children.

He was one of eight children - seven boys and one girl. All of his brothers enlisted. Three saw war - one made the supreme sacrifice, one returned and three suffered health irregularities. His cousin Frederick Arthur Roper also enlisted into 33rd Battalion 9th Brigade D Company as well as my great grandfather James Hickey 4/33rd from Tenterfield.

Karen Payne


Pte. Arthur Leolin Bellenie 13th Btn. East Yorkshire Regiment

My grandfather was named Arthur Leolin Bellenie. He enlisted at Hull on 18th November 1914 into 13th East Yorkshire Regiment. He went to Ripon and left there Oct 29th 1915.

His diary records: Left Hurdcott Camp 8am Dec 14th for Salisbury then left Salisbury at 1.15pm arriving at Devonport at 9.15pm. The troopship Simla set sail at 5.30 am March 1st from Port Said to sail to Marseilles. Passed the Med Fleet at 2am Mar 4th. Passed Malta at 11.30pm. Passed Island of Pantellaria at 2pm Mar 5th an Italian convict settlement.Mar 8th arrived Marseilles 7pm. The place is full of ships. Mar 9th disembarking from S.S. Simla at 2pm.'

I have not had any luck in finding his name in any ancestry records. I believe he was taken prisoner on 14th November 1916 as that is the last date in his diary. When he returned, at the end of the war, he was amongst the ex-prisoners met by Queen Mary and we have a photograph of him in the background with the Queen. It is a photograph in the Royal Collection

Vivienne Mabbott

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