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Demobilisation and clearing the site

By Willis Fleming Historical Trust on June 11, 2010
In January 1919 - as at Remount Depots across the country - the horses at Swaythling were offerered for sale to the public. The photograph shows the auctioneer Mr Stiles King, of Walter & King. The cart is marked 'D. Squadron / Swaythling'.

The accounts of the Fleming Estate show that in 1921, substantial compensation was received from the War Department: #11,500 (about #406,000 at 2007 prices).

Willis Fleming Historical Trust, WFHT 70

The Estate also received payment for materials removed from the site, for instance #300 for the sale of concrete to Osmond & Co.

Willis Fleming Historical Trust, WFHT 70

A small part of the compensation monies (#100) was donated to North Stoneham Church.

Willis Fleming Historical Trust, WFHT 63

Meanwhile the site of the Remount Depot still had to be returned to pasture. The tenant farmer Theodore Theoliphus Green was paid for undertaking this work - over several years. Harry Clifford, the Estate carter, was employed carting away the materials. This process wasn't completed until 1927, by which time Green and Clifford's costs to the Estate had amounted to #3875.

Willis Fleming Historical Trust, WFHT 63

Willis Fleming Historical Trust, WFHT 70

Harry Clifford's personal fieldbook for the years 1922-27 survives, and records the days spent at the vanishing camp, interspersed with other work on the Estate.

Willis Fleming Historical Trust, WFHT 84

In 1932, the site was used for the Royal Show, obliterating all traces of the Depot.

James Nathaniel Gunn (1867-1926), Squadron Sergeant Major

By Willis Fleming Historical Trust on June 11, 2010
James Gunn at Swaythling. Photo courtesy of Barry Carpenter.

James Gunn was a local man, born in South Stoneham in 1867. Aged eighteen, he enlisted in 11th Prince Albert's Own Hussars in 1884, and went on to serve overseas in Africa, India, and Egypt. He was discharged from service in 1905.

On 7 September 1914, he re-enlisted in the Special Reserve of his old regiment, the 11th Hussars. By this time he was 47, married, and had a young family. In May 1915, he was posted to Swaythling Remount Depot, where he remained for the rest of the war, rising to the rank of Squadron Sergeant Major.

When James was demobilized in 1919, he was commended for the "good control of his men and thorough knowledge of the care and management of horses".

James Gunn during his first period of service.
Photos and information courtesy of Barry Carpenter.

Location of the Remount Depot

By Willis Fleming Historical Trust on June 11, 2010
By 1915, the Remount Depot had three large sites, surrounding Hardmoor Copse at Stoneham Park. (Link to Google Maps.)

Site plan superimposed on 1908 OS Map.

Site plan superimposed on satellite image (Google Earth)

North Camp

The North Camp occupied 51 acres, mostly within a portion of the Park known as 'the Lawn' (which was later the showground for the 1932 Royal Show). This view is looking east along the M27, with Junction 5 in the distance, showing that the motorway now bisects the site of the North Camp. The white arrow on the bottom left of the image indicates the position and site-line of a 1915 photograph (below) which was taken from the roof of a barracks hut.

North Camp site plan superimposed on satellite image (Google Earth).

The South Camp

The South Camp was built on fields on Underwoods Farm and Swaythling Farm (both on the Fleming Estate), each side of Bassett Green Road, stretching from Stoneham Lane to Bassett Green village. At the centre were two vast forage barns, from which a light railway network spread out. The Camp also contained the Officers' Quarters, a large electricity generating station, and a men's hospital. The area is now covered by housing (Leaside Way - Brading Close - Bonchurch Close - Ethelburt Avenue - Poppy Road - Lobelia Road - Lupin Road).

South Camp site plan superimposed on satellite image (Google Earth).

The Veterinary Hospital

The Veterinary Hospital occupied 14-acre Hardmoor Close, on the northeast side of Bassett Green Road, northwest of Bassett Green village. There were also loose boxes placed along the southwest side of Bassett Green Road. As well as being crossed by the M27, the site is today mostly covered by housing (Monks Wood Close). The bridge in the foreground leads to Stoneham Golf Club.

Site plan superimposed on satellite image (Google Earth).

Major Henry Thomas Timson (1869-1928), remount officer

By Willis Fleming Historical Trust on June 10, 2010
'Tommy' Timson commanded a squadron at Swaythling at the beginning of the war, and later served as a remount officer in Egypt. He had a chronic fear of the sea, but still had to accompany conscripted horses on long voyages. The whisky he took to cope with these journeys earned him the nickname 'Cold Tea' Timson.

Timson came from a well-known Hampshire family, of Tatchbury Mount near Southampton. He was renowned as a fine horseman, and before the war bred horses and livestock, and was joint master of the New Forest Buckhounds. He had previously served with the Lincolnshire Regiment, being first commissioned in 1888.

The Wareham sisters and the Forage Corps

By Willis Fleming Historical Trust on June 10, 2010
These three photographs show Emily, Edith, and Anne Wareham, daughters of Mr & Mrs Alfred Wareham of North Stoneham, with other members of the Forage Corps.