100 years after the town’s Garrison mobilised at the start of World War One, The EBB Lounge holds a special illustrated talk on Monday 18 August at 7pm which follows the troops’ fateful journey to the Western Front.
Hosted by Paul Vickers and Tim Ward, librarians at the Prince Consort’s Library, From Aldershot to the Western Front looks at the story of how Aldershot went to war and the enormous contribution it made to the First World War. It also looks at the experiences of individuals which help to illustrate the human side of the story of Aldershot in the Great War.
The largest and most important Army camp in Britain, Aldershot Command contained 20 per cent of the country’s entire home force at the outbreak of war. General Officer Commanding, Lieutenant General, Sir Douglas Haig’s telegram, received on 4 August 1914, put into operation well-laid plans to bring hundreds of reservists into Aldershot as resident battalions were put into operation.
In just one week, the entire Command was ready and, between 12 and 15 August, without any pomp or ceremony, the Aldershot Divisions left to go to war. The town they left behind then became a vast training centre, which doubled in size from its pre-war strength, as it struggled to cope with the task of making up the losses from the terrible fighting.
Renowned authors and military historians, Vickers and Ward bring this vital chapter in Aldershot’s history vividly and poignantly to life.
Admission to the talk, held in the EBB Lounge, is free. Doors open at 6.30pm.