Summerdown Camp Eastbourne

Summerdown Camp Project

Wounded Soldier Postcard

Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances

After recieving funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Heritage Eastbourne started a project to uncover the stories of one of the most pioneering convalescent camps in the First World War. 

The Camp opened in April 1915 and was the first, and at the time the largest, of three purpose built convalescent camps designed for rehabilitation of the wounded from the many horrific theatres of the First World War. The camp was dismantled in 1920 and most of the land has since been redeveloped as housing. The only existing reminders of the camp are in the street names Summerdown Road and Old Camp Road.

Summerdown Camp

Soldiers at Summerdown Camp

Discover their untold stories...

Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter for more stories from Summerdown Camp
Military Massage Corps

Find out about the pioneers in Eastbourne

Discover the inspiring stories of brave soldiers and valiant women as well as the pioneering medical treatments carried out at the camp.

Soldiers on journey back to the front

Revealing realities of war...

Find out about the tragic tales of the soldiers suffering from shellshock or the effects of gas attacks and the fleeting romances between convalescing soldiers and local women.
Wounded Soldiers Marching from Summerdown Camp

Wounded Soldiers in Eastbourne

The soldiers being cared for at the camp were known as ‘Blueboys’ because of the coloured (and often ill fitting) uniform they were required to wear. They became a familiar sight around Eastbourne and brought home the terrible realities of war as well as some much welcomed soldierly cheer to the town’s residents.

These untold and unheard stories of Summerdown Camp and exciting revelations about the medical treatments can be found in the Summerdown Camp Archive. 

To discover these stories, contact us

 

 

Summerdown CooksUncover the untold stories of the camp From the soldier from South Africa injured 5 times before being send to recover at Summerdown to the heartbreak felt by the W.A.A.C cooks when the soldiers returned to the front line.

Find out about the cook leaving her home for the first time to work with heroic soldiers from all over the world convalescing in Eastbourne, the tales of revolutionary medical treatments of the Military Massage Corps or the postman awarded the military medal, received experimental treatment at hospital before arriving to convalesce at Summerdown Camp.

 

Stories from the camp

Mary Wells WAAC Cook

We’ve discovered some incredible stories. From the soldier at the camp who enlisted at the beginning of the war aged 15, met a girl from Old Town and married in St Mary’s Church in 1919 to the heartbreak felt by the W.A.A.C cooks when the soldiers returned to the front line.

 

Revealed after 100 years

Kings Shilling

We have unearthed some incredible artefacts from the only surviving piece of land from Summerdown Camp.  Perhaps the most poignant finds are the two silver shillings dating to 1914 and 1918. Could they be 'King's Shillings' kept as mementos from joining up?  Either way, they are tangible reminders of the soldiers who fought in the First World War and evidence of one of the largest convalescent camps in the country.

 

Contact

A lines at Summerdown Camp

We’re still looking for any information about Summerdown Camp and the people who convalesced and worked there. So if you have any stories or objects from Summerdown Camp no matter how small or trivial it may seem or would like to get involved in the project, please email Katherine Buckland or telephone 01323 415641.

 
 

Did You Know?

More than 150,000 soldiers were treated at Summerdown Camp

Heritage Eastbourne

Did You Know?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle saw one of the Blue Boys drama productions!

Did You Know?

Jacob Epstein a renowned sculptor was one of the wounded soldiers treated at Summerdown Camp

 
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