Exploring the history of Cannock Chase's WW1 camps
People are being invited to learn more about the role Cannock Chase had in housing and training soldiers during the First World War.
The Story of WWI on Cannock Chase project, the Friends of Cannock Chase are running a series of free workshops.
Everyone is invited to share their stories at one of three Memories of the Camps workshops that will be held in local libraries, starting on the 31st of May.
Together the two camps were capable of holding up to 40,000 men which probably trained upwards of 500,000. The camps had their own church, post offices, a bakery, amenity huts, and even a theatre.
Early in the war the camps were used as transit camps to accommodate Service Battalions travelling to the Western Front; the camps later became a training facility, with the creation of practice trench systems similar to those on the Western Front to train the troops. (One of these trench systems still survives on the Chase.)
At the commencement of hostilities, Lord Lichfield (the owner of the land) had been adamant that no German prisoners of war would be located on Cannock Chase. However, by 1917 the War Office had allocated a Prisoner of War camp at Brocton camp (located in Brocton Coppice).
The New Zealand Rifle Brigade later made Cannock Chase their UK headquarters.
Trevor Warburton, from the Friends of Cannock Chase, said: "We hope plenty of people will join us to share their memories of Cannock Chase's wartime past.
"You may remember seeing remnants of the Great War huts while playing as a child, or you might have lived in the old Brindley village or recall a family member who talked about working on or servicing the camps.
"We'd love to hear your memories and see your pictures or postcards from the past, so please do join us at one of the workshops."
The first Memories of the Camps workshop is on 31 May between 3pm and 5pm at Cannock Library.
The second workshop is on Saturday 25 June between 10am and 12 noon at Penkridge Library.
Then the third workshop will run on Wednesday 6 July between 2pm and 4pm at the Museum of Cannock Chase.