I had driven past these amazing badges cut into the chalk hillside overlooking the village of Fovant many times but had never really had the time to stop, or didn't have my camera with me. As I had some spare time and the camera today, I pulled into the well marked layby and fired off a few shots.
Fovant was a large camp set up at the start of World War One for those troops who were either heading for the battlefields of Northern France, or returning after their tour of duty. The troops were not just from the UK, but also from many of the Commonwealth countries.The camp housed many thousands of military personnel, a very high proportion of which would never return to their home shores and as such, the soldiers in the camp decided to carve the various regimental badges into the hillside here as a permanent tribute to them.
During WW1, the badges were left in full show but with the advent of flight, and the outbreak of WW11, the badges were covered to deter enemy planes from using them as a landmark. The badges were uncovered following victory in WW11 but many had suffered the ravages of time and of the twenty or so original badges, just a dozen or so remained.
A restoration project was started shortly after the ceasing of hostilities and two additional local regiment badges were added between 1945 and 1951, with the final badge of the Royal Signals being added as late as 1970.
Today the badges are maintained by a charitable concern; the upkeep is considerable as the badges sit on open farmland and are constantly under assault from cattle, soil erosion and the weather in general.
More work was undertaken in 2002 and 2003 which finally restored the remaining eight badges to their full and present glory. A fitting tribute indeed.
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