LOOKING BACK: Step into home of wounded

Heritage Officer Katherine Buckland
Heritage Officer Katherine Buckland

The new Summerdown Camp Exhibition opened at the Pavilion on Eastbourne seafront earlier this month.

Eastbourne Heritage Service is running the expo about the camp and the people who worked and convalesced there.

The project offers a vital opportunity to reflect and commemorate the lives of the soldiers briefly resident in Eastbourne during the First World War.

Summerdown Camp opened in April 1915 and was the first, and at the time the largest, of three purpose- built convalescent camps designed for rehabilitation of the wounded from the many horrific theatres of the First World War.

The camp was dismantled in 1920 and most of the land has since been redeveloped as housing.

The only existing reminders of the camp are in the street names Summerdown Road and Old Camp Road.

The soldiers being cared for at the camp were known as ‘Blueboys’ because of the coloured, and often ill fitting, uniform they were required to wear.

They became a familiar sight around Eastbourne and brought home the terrible realities of war as well as some much welcomed soldierly cheer to the town’s residents.

The exhibition is open daily until November 15 and admission is free.