Photos of Bexhill available online from Library and Archives Canada
A range of photos are available from Library and Archives Canada here. A blog post, written on 28 February 2013, which gives a brief analysis of the photos and situates them in the context of how the operations at Bexhill fitted within the Canadian wartime experience can be accessed here.
Visit of the Duke of Connaught, Former Governor-General of Canada, to Canadian Training School (CTS), Bexhill, Friday 8 June 1917
The Duke of Connaught visited Bexhill to inspect the CTS on 8 June 1917. The Duke inspected a march past and parade in Egerton Park, where a large crowd of general public had gathered. He later witnessed a bombing demonstration at the Trench Warfare School. The Duke gave an address in which he referred to the CTS as a “First Class Institution.”
Duke of Connaught photos taken from “Chevrons to Stars: Official Organ of the Canadian Training School Bexhill.” October 1917.” Available from Library and Archives Canada, RG9-III, Vol 5078.
Visit of Lieutenant-General Richard Ernest William Turner, Chief of the General Staff, Overseas Military Forces of Canada, to Bexhill, 22 March 1918
Chevrons to Stars, April 1918.
Cartoons and Drawings of Bexhill
There are some interesting cartoons and drawing contained within the Canadian magazines which depict the landmarks of Bexhill and how the Canadians interacted with the local inhabitants of the town. Below are two examples. The latter example shows some key landmarks of Bexhill, some of which remain today like the Clock Tower and Collonade and others which are sadly no longer standing, such as the Metropole Hotel and the Kursaal (later the Bexhill Pavillion). The former cartoon is a humorous insight into some of Bexhill’s ‘distractions.’ Yet, it underscores a very real phenomenon of the First World War. It was estimated that 20 per cent of Canadian soldiers would bring back British born women to Canada at the conclusion of the war. Bexhill-on-Sea was described as a ‘matchmakers’ paradise.’ (Toronto Daily Star, 12 November 1917: 13).
Instructors of Canadian Training School, March 1918
Chevrons to Stars, April 1918.
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital (PPCRCH), Cooden Camp, Bexhill
Entrance to Cooden Camp
Princess Pats Post, July 1918.
Officers and Sergeants of PPCRCH
Princess Pats Post, August 1918.
Canadian Trench Warfare School, Bexhill
Below is a photo of the participants of the Seventh Course of the Canadian Trench Warfare School, Bexhill held between 11 August and 2nd September 1918.
Below is a list of the Commanders of the Canadian Trench Warfare School, Bexhill
Canadian Trench Warfare photos taken from “Chevrons to Stars: Official Organ of the Canadian Training School Bexhill.” October 1917.” Available from Library and Archives Canada, RG9-III, Vol 5078.
Chevrons to Stars, June 1917.
Bexhill housing development (Cooden Close), 1960s: WWI Canadian swimming pool
Below is an architectural drawing of a proposed development of regency houses on Cooden Close in the 1960s. The houses, which are still there today, were built by Parker & Cole in 1964 on land that was once the site of the Cooden Camp, home of the Canadians during the First World War (WWI). The interesting anecdote about this drawing relates to the rectangular box across houses 4, 5, and 6. I have marked this out more clearly on the second drawing. The rectangular box shows a swimming pool constructed by the Canadians during WWI which disrupted the development and led to the reconfiguration of the foundations for the affected houses. I am told by Peter Cole, whose company built the houses and who kindly supplied the drawing, that the construction equipment could not penetrate the pool in order for it to be filled in. The foundations were therefore modified and the houses built on top of the pool. I found this to be a fascinating story of how the Canadians left an unintended legacy in Bexhill.
Peter Cole is Vice-President of the Bexhill Hanovarian Study Group (BHSG), a group committed to the study of the Kings German Legion in Bexhill. For more on the BHSG please click here.
Map of Bexhill c1940
Below is a map of Bexhill circa 1940. The map clearly shows the Cooden area, where the Canadians were based during the First World War. The specific parameters of the camp are not outlined but it gives an idea of the general Cooden area. The area marked Seafield, refers to Seafield school on present day Collington Lane West where Canadian soldiers were based during the Second World War. Again, thank you to Peter Cole for supplying this map.
Catholic Army Huts
Below is a link to a page of photos from the book “For God and Country: War Work of Canadian Knights of Columbus Catholic Army Huts” published in 1922. There are three photos which depict Bexhill and five overall. The first (photo one) is of the ‘Lady Workers of the Knights of Columbus (K.C)’ Catholic Army Hut (C.A.H) Bexhill ; the second (photo four) is of the ‘K.C Entertainers’ at C.A.H Bexhill; the third photo (photo five) is a group photo of soldiers and lady workers outside C.A.H Bexhill. This book, which is available online, provides a brief overview of the specific C.A.H’s in operation during the First World War, including Cooden and Bexhill. This is a helpful resource as it gives an insight into the work undertaken by the K.C and can be brought together with other primary sources such as the ‘Princess Pat’s Post’ and ‘Chevrons to Stars.’
Chevrons to Star, November 1918
Sport at the Canadian Training School, Bexhill
Below are various sports photos from the C.T.S. The term ‘rooters’ refers to supporters of the sportsmen. It was noted that quite a few locals became rooters of the Canadian sports teams. The two photos directly below are interesting for the way that they show the distinctive houses that surround Egerton Park.
Chevrons to Stars, June 1917; April 1918; October 1917
Below are two photos depicting the sports that were played by the Canadians during their time in Bexhill. Both these photos are available online from Library and Archives Canada.
Baseball Team, O.T.C. Bexhill Capt. T.W. Macdowell, V.C.,
seated third from left and Cadet G.H. Mullin, V.C., seated 6th from Left. 1914-1919
(Track & Field) Lt. R.R. Swann (C.T.S. Bexhill)
winning first cross country championship. 1914-1919