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Wiltshire - Salisbury Plain: Sling Camp

The YMCA building at Sling Camp, England. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-014006-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23221067
Sling Camp, Salisbury Plain, England, during World War 1. Ref: PAColl-6129-02. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23086358

Sling Camp on Salisbury Plain was where Bernard Sladden of the New Zealand army spent some of his war-time career.

Sling Camp was created in 1903 as an annexe to Bulford Camp; it was originally named "Sling Plantation" after the nearby woods.  Soon after the beginning of World War I, New Zealand troops started work on building wooden huts. They were later joined by Canadian troops, joiners, bricklayers, and civilian workers.  The word "Plantation" was then dropped from the title and it simply became Sling Camp.  After building was completed, it was said that if each hut were placed end-to-end they would measure 6 miles.

In 1916, the camp was occupied by New Zealand forces.  Bernard Sladden is thought to have arrived there some time early in 1917. It then comprised four main sections: Auckland, Wellington, Otago, and Canterbury Lines. It was officially called the 4th New Zealand Infantry Brigade Reserve Camp, and trained reinforcements and casualties who were regaining fitness.

Bernard Sladden was repatriated in February 1918, which meant that he was not at Sling at the end of the war when a riot took place due to the delay in demobilising troops.  In order to occupy them, the New Zealand soldiers were put to work carving the shape of a large Kiwi in the chalk of the hill that overlooks the camp. The Bulford Kiwi, as it is known, is still there today.

Much of the original camp was demolished in the 1920s and replaced by newer buildings.

A description of Sling Camp appeared in The War Effort of New Zealand, by Lt H T B Drew, 1923.


Letters mentioning this place: