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Shorncliffe Army Camp


Shorncliffe Army Camp

Shorncliffe Army Camp
Shorncliffe Army Camp
Shorncliffe Army Camp is located in Kent
Shorncliffe Army Camp
Shorncliffe Army Camp
Location within Kent
Type Barracks
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator  British Army
Site history
Built 1794
Built for War Office
In use 1794-Present

Shorncliffe Army Camp is a large military camp near Cheriton in Kent.

Map dated 1801 showing Shorncliffe Redoubt on the left and the camp ground on the right


The camp was established in 1794 when the British Army bought over 229 acres of land at Shorncliffe; it was then extended in 1796 and 1806.[1] It was at Shorncliffe that in 1803 Sir John Moore trained the Light Division which fought under the Duke of Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars.[2]

Shorncliffe was used as a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front during World War I and in April 1915 a Canadian Training Division was formed there.[3] The Canadian Army Medical Corps had general hospitals based at Shorncliffe from September 1917 to December 1918.[4] The camp at that time composed five unit lines known as Ross Barracks, Somerset Barracks, Napier Barracks, Moore Barracks and Risborough Barracks.[3] On three occasions there were German air raids which killed soldiers on the camp.[5]

During World War II Shorncliffe was again used as a staging post and Queen Mary visited the camp in 1939.[6]

After the War the camp was known as the Sir John Moore Barracks and when The Light Infantry moved out in October 1986 the name was retained. At the same time a new Sir John Moore Barracks was established in Winchester. Currently, Sir John Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe is home to the Royal Gurkha Rifles.[7][8] Shorncliffe Camp was also the home of 2 (South East) Brigade until January 2015.[9]

Shorncliffe Military Cemetery

The Shorncliffe Military Cemetery serving the camp is also property of the Ministry of Defence. Three Victoria Cross recipients are buried here:[10]

It contains more than 600 Commonwealth war graves from the World Wars.[5] There are 471 from World War I, including more than 300 Canadians,[5] and 6 members of the Chinese Labour Corps.[11] There are buried 81 from World War II, including one unidentified British soldier and a Polish war grave. A screen wall memorial lists 18 Belgian soldiers who were originally buried in a now-demolished mausoleum.[5]


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