Liphook, Bramshott and the Canadians
Laurence Giles

Cover of Liphook, Bramshott and the Canadians

The story of Canadian troops in Liphook and Bramshott during two World Wars

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Front cover: Charlie Edwards and Aubrey Rumbold at Bramshott Camp, 1916.
Back cover: Priest's Stall in Bramshott Church with Canadian Arms and 'beaver' canopy.

Paperback - 36 pages
Bramshott & Liphook Preservation Society; ISBN: 0-9511829-0-0; 1986

Associated titles: All Tanked Up by John Owen Smith; Growing up in Griggs Green by Joe Leggett


Foreword . Contents . About the Publisher . Further information


Foreword

Bramshott and Liphook is a parish on the eastern side of Hampshire, on the main London-Portsmouth road (the A3). Bramshott, though now much smaller than Liphook, is the 'mother' village, with the parish church of St. Mary's (the oldest part dating from 1220). Canadian troops were based on Bramshott Common, astride the A3, in both world wars; in World War I at least the camp became "one of the largest training areas for Canadian troops in the U.K.". In Bramshott churchyard lie 318 Canadian soldiers, who died here during or soon after World War I (many of them victims of the murderous influenza which struck the world in 1918/19). A plan of the Canadian graves, with a list of names and the plot no. of each grave, will be found at the end of this booklet.

In the church the visitor will find stained glass (in the 13C end windows of the chancel) and a priest's stall, desk and lectern (in the nave), presented in 1945 and 1954 to commemorate the Canadian Forces' association with Bramshott. At the rear of the nave, to the left of the door, hangs the Canadian Red Ensign "flown over the last Canadian Camp (Huron)" in 1946, with a Canadian Veterans banner (Brighton and Hove) and a British Home Guard flag (Liphook).

Between the wars the Liphook Women's Own, led by Mrs. Bleach, went to the parish church every year on July 1st, Canada's National Day, or on the Sunday nearest to July 1st, with great baskets of red, white and blue posies - which they had made themselves from local flowers - and placed one posy on each Canadian grave; this custom was kept up until the 1940s, if not later. The same Sunday has been marked from the 1930s by a special service at Bramshott church. Ever since 1942, with one short break after the war, the service has been attended by representatives of the Canadian authorities, the Canadian Veterans' Association, and the local branch of the Royal British Legion, with their banners. Wreaths are laid at the Cross in the Canadian section of the churchyard and the Canadians lunch with the village afterwards. In 1985 members of the congregation began working new kneelers for the church, in 'needlepoint', to local designs; a number of them are being embroidered with the flag of Canada or with the names of Canadian Provinces and the flowers associated with them. The first two of the 'Canadian' kneelers were dedicated at the Canada Day service in 1986.

This booklet outlines the story of the Canadian connection with Bramshott and Liphook. It is hoped that it will be of interest to our Canadian visitors and also that it will remind the local community, most of whom were born since the war years, of our debt to the thousands of Canadian volunteer soldiers who crossed the Atlantic to fight for freedom in two world wars.

Note: Ninety-five of the Canadians who died here during World War I were Roman Catholics; their graves will be found in St. Joseph's churchyard, Grayshott, two miles to the north off the A3.
There are no World War II Canadian graves at Bramshott. Canadians dying here during World War II were usually buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey.

 Contents

About the Publisher

The Bramshott and Liphook Preservation Society have published a series of booklets on the local history of their area. They may be contacted at 12 London Road, Liphook, Hampshire GU30 7AN – Tel: 01428 722162.


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