Exhibition to tell the tale of life in Mansfield during First World War

Pauline Marples of Forest Town who is putting together an exhibition on Clipstone Camp
Pauline Marples of Forest Town who is putting together an exhibition on Clipstone Camp

A Forest Town historian is putting the finishing touches to a planned exhibition celebrating the life of Clipstone Camp.

The bustling camp housed in excess of 30,000 men during the First World War, with soldiers being trained in the art of trench warfare before they were shipped off to the front.

Now the story of how the camp affected life in and around Mansfield is to be told during a special exhibition at Mansfield Museum in October and November 2014.

Pauline Marples, who has been researching the camp since 1993, said she had been delighted to work alongside the museum to bring the project to life.

Said Pauline: “Having so many people in the area made a massive difference to Mansfield and surrounding villages.

“It gave the economy a big boost and helped fill villages which lost men to the Army.

“Churches supplied meals to the soldiers, everyone wanted to make the soldiers feel welcome.

“It is a really interesting period and I have loved researching the effects the camp had on our area.

“It is a different angle to what we normally hear about the First World War and it is really interesting to see the affect the war had on the home front.

“I have worked with the museum for many years, they have always been very supportive and encouraging.

“It is great to see the interest that exhibitions like this generate and is always amazing to see how far away people come from.”

Soldiers began to arrive at Clipstone Camp in May 1915. Each camp line could hold a battalion of men.

The lines were self sufficient and contained sleeping quarters, mess rooms, cook houses, parade grounds and a guardhouse .

The area which now forms part of Sherwood Pines to the south of the camp saw rifle, pistol and machine gun ranges constructed, some of which still exist to this day.

Additional recreational activities included swimming in nearby Vicars Pond and in the Spa pools to the northwest of the camp.