|Shorncliffe Army Camp|
Shorncliffe Army Camp
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Built for||War Office|
Shorncliffe Army Camp is a large military camp near Cheriton in Kent. Established in 1794, it later served as a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front during the First World War. Its closure was announced in 2016.
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. It was at Shorncliffe that in 1803 Sir John Moore trained the Light Division that fought under the Duke of Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars.
Shorncliffe was used as a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front during the First World War and in April 1915 a Canadian Training Division was formed there. The Canadian Army Medical Corps had general hospitals based at Shorncliffe from September 1917 to December 1918. The camp at that time composed five unit lines known as Moore Barracks, Napier Barracks, Risborough Barracks, Ross Barracks and Somerset Barracks. On three occasions there were German air raids which killed soldiers on the camp.
From 1967 the camp was home to the Junior Infantryman's Battalion (JIB) and later, the Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion (IJLB) until the dissolution of junior soldier recruitment in 1991. In 2011 the camp consisted of Burgoyne Barracks, Sir John Moore Barracks, Napier Barracks, Risborough Barracks and Somerset Barracks. The Royal Gurkha Rifles have been based at Sir John Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe since 2001.2 (South East) Brigade was also based in Sir John Moore Barracks until January 2015. In November 2016 Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced in the House of Commons that Somerset Barracks is to close.
It contains more than 600 Commonwealth war graves from the World Wars. There are 471 from World War I, including more than 300 Canadians, and 6 members of the Chinese Labour Corps. 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.