To mark the centenary of the signing of the Armistice on 11th November 1918, Horsham Museum & Art Gallery have chosen to highlight the story of Roffey Camp. Using contemporary photography, film footage, the camp newspaper, and locally-produced posters, the display aims to highlight the life of the camp and its relationship to the local area.
The outbreak of war saw around 1,500 young soldiers from London arriving in Horsham. The population of Horsham in 1914 was a mere 11,500, and therefore the addition of 1,500 young men would have been a major event. By early March 1915, work was completed at the new Roffey Camp and the battalion were moved into new, purpose-built accommodation. Roffey Camp stretched from the Norfolk Arms to Forest Road, with the main entrance on Crawley Road. The camp was home to numerous groups of soldiers and remained in use until 1919.
The human cost of the First World War was enormous, and is still felt to this day. The photographs and ephemera in the exhibition demonstrate the duality of the war. Lively, active young men signed up to do their bit for King and Country, with the support of the nation. Gradually, as the reality of the brutal conflict became clear, the joy and national pride so visible in these images began to fade. The First World War serves as a reminder of the devastating impact of war, and the tragedy of these young lives cut short in their prime.