Bexhil Museum walkers remember Lowther’s Lambs & Cooden Camp

The cooks at Cooden Camp
The cooks at Cooden Camp

A large intrepid group braved strong winds on Sunday 11th May to encounter the First World War at Cooden Camp on one of Bexhill Museum’s guided walks.

The camp has mysteries which arise from there being no known existing plan of the camp. For example the site of camp’s main gate is not known.

Neither is the status of Caledonia private school on the south east boundary which ought to have provided excellent accommodation for officers.

Instead they used nearby Cooden Beach Golf Club’s Dormy House and a nearby premises called The Chalet which so far has not been identified. Along with these mysteries the walk covered the experience of Lowther’s Lambs, the Southdown Battalions created by Colonel Claude Lowther. The life and times of the Lambs received lots of newspaper coverage and so the walk was able to outline a variety of details such as food [armies always march on their stomachs], accommodation and such details as bathing parades going down to the beach. This in October 1914. The walkers agreed that the Lambs were a hardy lot. There were many images shown that gave the flavour of the tented camp that was established and along with excerpts read from Colonel Lowther’s speech to his men, a sense of a happy co-operative band of brothers was portrayed. The camp’s story after the departure of the Lambs in the summer of 1915 was outlined with more images of the Artillery Depot and the later Canadian Red Cross hospital, which has left us the legacy of Maple Avenue and Maple Walk. Look out for the next Museum guided walk when we join forces with The Highwoods Preservation Society for a family ramble in the Highwoods on Wednesday 28 May at 10:30am.