A Lasting Memorial
The Christmas Truce

The Ridgeway is one of the oldest roads in Europe. It brought pilgrims from the East to the sacred complex of Avebury, Silbury Hill and West Kennet. Among the many interesting places it passed is the Vale of the White Horse, where White Horse representations have  danced for thousands of years. These sacred images of the Goddess of the Land are said to be a potency of the land itself.


Fourteen miles to the South of the Vale of the White Horse lies Hurdcott Hill where Anzacs were encamped during WW1. As the native people of Britain did thousands of years before, the Anzacs also left lasting images of the things they held dear.

The medals  face North on the ridge that runs East West just to the South of a little village called Compton Chamberlayne on the A30 road. The distance from Salisbury is about 6 miles to the West. I don’t know if they are easy to spot from the road, you may have to buy a 1:25000 Ordnance Survey map and take footpaths. Bob Gauld-Galliers.

Aerial photos courtesy Bob Gauld-Galliers.

These memorials, built by the soldiers themselves are maintained by
The Fovant Badges Society.

It is an on-going job, well deserving of your support. Browse their site
, HERE. or Click on the' friends' logo above to make a donation to the society.

Postcard courtesy of Mrs. Elaine Campbell of Queensland.

Approximately 20 Barrack huts are to be counted in this postcard from 1917. The trees have not grown much since then, possibly because of the chalk underlay. The constructions have not seemingly aged at all and will no doubt outlast any of the hundreds of memorials around Australia.

A closer look. It has been said that the diggers made the carvings to keep warm and it was necessary to melt snow for water because the pipes were frozen. Could this be happening here?

  When I posted the above pictures, I was unaware of the Fovant Badges Society. This is a group of volunteers dedicated to the maintainence and restoration of these memorials. They need financial support to do so. See link above right.  

Obviously the YMCA took an active role in supporting the training and rehabilitation facilities of the Salisbury Plain. The YMCA must have made a lasting impression on the diggers. The carved logo certainly has. (above & left)


  Why the Salisbury Plain? This was the training destination for Australian troops bound for war in late 1914. According to historian Charles Bean wooden huts could not be improvised in time; training became a fight against the weather for bare health and existence and the camps (mainly tents) turned into archipelagoes of mud. Canadian troops, coming here, had little expected these miseries and reckless breaking of camp and disturbances in the old cathedral city of Salisbury were the result. The Australian contingent was diverted to Egypt to a rapidly constructed tent city at Mena in the shadow of the pyramids. Obviously, Anzacs later found their way to Salisbury after it had been constructed, for convalesence and training .