A hundred years ago, the rural parish of Sutton Mandeville hosted thousands of soldiers in camps either side of today’s A30. Between 1915 and 1918 several different units were based here, preparing soldiers for service on the Western Front.
There are few signs of these camps today, but soldiers from two regiments also left carvings of their cap badges cut into the downs: the 7th (City of London) Battalion of the London Regiment (known as the ‘Shiny Seventh’); and the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
After the First World War the two badges at Sutton Mandeville were periodically maintained for about 70 years. From the 1990s onwards they became quite overgrown and almost lost from sight. With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and others we are finding out about the soldiers who once lived here, and working to ensure that the Sutton Badges take their place in the landscape once again.