We occasionally get asked where Ogbourne Camp was. Mainly by folk whose father or grandfather had served there. Ogbourne Camp was never a holiday destination run by Butlins or Pontins. But it did contribute to Britain’s war effort (during WW2) and then briefly before the Suez Canal episode when Signals Engineers were based there.
It doesn’t appear on any current Ordnance Survey maps, as the whole site has long been demolished. But there are old maps that show the extent of the camp.
The best reference point is the top of the short hill west of the Church. After turning right towards Chisledon, and passing the left-hand turn towards Barbary Castle, there is a farm yard on both sides of the road. The camp site starts there, on the left. From there, it extends about a mile north towards Chisledon.
Which military units were based at the camp and when?
Wiltshire Auxiliary Units, 1940 (lest we forget, this would have been the local Resistance had the Germans invaded)
79th Armoured Division, 1943 (with thanks to Linda Wood for the prompt)
The 79th Armoured Division was a specialist armoured division of the British Army created during World War II. The division was created as part of the preparations for the Normandy invasion of 6 June 1944, D-Day.
US Army Combat Engineers were based at the Ogbourne Camp, while engaged with work at the Savernake Forest Ammunition Dump.
70th Tank Battalion (US) Nov 1943 to Feb 1944
17th Airborne Division (US) 1944
16th Independent Parachute Brigade, 1947
Royal Warwickshire Regiment/Fusiliers, 1953, before sailing for Korea
10th Air Formation Signal Regiment, formed in 1954, before moving to RAF Goch in Germany.
1st Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, July 1955
Army Press Communications Unit (Royal Corps of Signals), summer 1956 (before Suez)
We’ll add to this list as we find details. If anyone needs an excuse to visit the pub, they do have a collection of pictures of the camp on display.
Other Sites to check out
An intriguing site. These guys explore all those places hidden in and around us. Some great photos of the camp. http://www.oblivionstate.com/forum/topic/4529-ogbourne-st-george-army-campvisited-1978-2013/
Comments transferred from old website
Well you have not mentioned 79th Armoured Division and the Northampton Yeomanry. My father, Joseph Watkinson was based at Ogbourne camp in the 79th Armoured Division during WW2. He was born in Lincoln and met my mother Ruth Bush who lived with her family in Ogbourne St. George, married her in 1943 and after the war ended brought her back to Lincoln. I still have family living in the village and when I go to Ogbourne I go to the camp which is now of course just a field. He did damage the bridge at Amesbury going over it in his tank when visiting my Great Aunt Doll.
Feb 27, 2017 at 12:58 am
Father was at Ogbourne St. George as an American soldier with the 18th Airborne Corps in August 1944. Can anybody give me details as to what kind of work was being done there at the time. Thank you. Mitchell Leon
Jul 30, 2017 at 9:23 pm
Hello Mitchell, Although my father was billeted at Ogbourne camp he as mentioned above, was in the 79th Armoured Division, driving and practicing in tanks on Salisbury Plain ready for D Day but he actually left 3 days after. The tanks were fitted with flails, flame throwers and other equipment to enable obstacles to be overcome I don’t think any wartime activities took place on the camp other than firing weapons but mainly a large number of huts (do have some photo’s taken after the war) for sleeping quarters. So that is all I know, possibly sleeping quarters ready for the big airlift as not far from Brize Norton. Best wishes, Linda.
Jul 30, 2017 at 10:25 pm