Thursday 17 July 2014
During World War 1 Berkhamsted was an important centre for troop training, and a new information board has been installed on Berkhamsted Common, with support from the Chilterns Commons Project, describing the trainees’ lives and the practice trenches they dug on the Common.
The board outlines the history of troop involvement in the Berkhamsted area during the World War 1 and includes a sketch showing the location of the trenches in the area, some of which you can still see today.
During the course of the War 12,000 troops passed through the training camp at Berkhamsted. They dug 7.5 miles of trenches to train in on Berkhamsted and Northchurch Commons. At the end of the War most of these trenches were filled in. However, some escaped the shovels and approximately 500 metres of trenches remain today.
Between October 2012 and April 2013 more than 50 volunteers from Berkhamsted and the Chiltern Society spent nearly 1000 hours clearing scrub and surveying the remaining trenches. They were helped by volunteers from the RAF and from the Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry, the regiment known as ‘The Devil’s Own’ which trained here during the First World War.
New finger posts have been installed which direct people to the cleared trenches and the information board, from the car park by the war memorial at the top of New Road and from the footpath off New Road near Well Farm.
On Saturday 26 July, the Inns of Court & City Regiment will parade from Berkhamsted Golf Club to the war memorial at the top of New Road at 11 am for a commemorative ceremony. The public are welcome to watch.
The Chilterns Conservation Board, which runs the Chilterns Commons Project, is grateful to the Berkhamsted Golf Club Trustee Company which owns this part of Berkhamsted Common for their support over the last few years, and to volunteers from the town, the RAF, the Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry and the Chiltern Society for their hard work with this project.
Read more about the history of troop trainking in Berkhamsted and the project to map and clear the trenches here.