A British conservation officer has uncovered a replica World War I battlefield in Gosport, Hampshire. And one researcher told the BBC the mock battlefield is very realistic.
“It’s a very accurate model of what the frontline was like in France. It almost mimics the 1917 trench textbook on warfare.” (Via BBC)
The Telegraph describes the replica as “two sets of opposing trench systems, each with a [660 foot-long] front line, supply trenches and dug outs with a No Man's Land between the two sides.”
The officer who discovered the practice battlefield told the BBC he was looking for World War II objects and features when he stumbled across the trench system.
“I found myself walking along a ditch and realised it was part of an elaborate trench system … I looked around and there were trenches everywhere.” (Via BBC)
These mock battlefields were used to train soldiers about to leave for war. They were made to be very realistic, and closely mimicked the conditions found in real warfare.
A writer for Daily Mail says experts have determined the site is the best preserved battlefield site in the UK. Soldiers would have learned “how to run quickly along the trenches … go ‘over the top’, put on gas masks and face live fire.”
The discovery comes as part of the Home Front Legacy project, led by the Council for British Archaeology and English Heritage. The project aims to record the physical remains of the First World War on British soil.
According to ITV, the President of the Council for British Archaeology is asking volunteers to find and record sites like this one in order to preserve them for years to come. He said of this discovery, “[it] will further entrench the hugely important role that Gosport played in supporting Britain’s Armed Forces throughout World War One.”
Daily Mail says experts are mapping the battlefield and trying to find out who might have trained there.