Prees Heath Camp

Prees Heath Camp

At the start of WW1 Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War, instigated a mass recruitment campaign. There were not sufficient barracks in existence to train the new recruits and so purpose-built training camps were developed. One of these was at Prees Heath, the Camp opened in 1915 as a training base for the British Army, it had a capacity for 30,000 men for training in trench warfare.

As the war progressed it additionally acted as a store for supplies, with its own railway depot feed by a 1 mile branch line from the LNWR’s Crewe and Shrewsbury Railway. As casualties mounted, it became a hospital with a fully fledged barracks. The scale and size of the camp brought about the appointment of the first female police officers in the Shropshire Constabulary, to manage and restrain local women from heading to the camp

This project aims to document the history of Prees Heath Camp from the planning stage in 1914 through to the last soldier to leave in 1920.

Information has been included on the many aspects of life experienced by both the military personnel and the civilians on site.

Descriptions of buildings, staff, entertainment, training, regiments & battalions have been included. These will take the form of photographic evidence, oral history reminiscences, diary excerpts, official documents and newspaper articles.

John Bernard Coggins

Information received from Mike Coggins 03/03/2021 My father, John Bernard Coggins b 5 June 1899 in Blackburn, 6 Bn South Wales Borderers (Pioneers) attended an Instructors Anti-Gas course at Prees Heath between 12 Sep 1918 to the 20 September 1918. …




Your Voice Sings Not So Soft

Your Voice Sings Not So Soft
Young people use creative and digital media to retell first hand accounts from WW1 to a contemporary audience

As part of MediaActive’s response to the WW1 Commemorations Shropshire Remembers, a team of twelve young people, working with filmmaking mentors, produced this animation based on the history of Prees Heath Common.

For more information about MediaActive please visit:
For more information about the Shropshire Remembers Eyewitness project please visit

Women Police Officers

Photograph of Staffordshire policewomen in the early 1900s, courtesy of West Midlands Police Museum

Patrolling the streets of Whitchurch, Shropshire during the Great War, Emily Stephings and Isabella Hardy were amongst the first police women in the country. They say there’s something about a man in uniform. The uniformed men certainly acted as a …


Postcard to Walter Fowkes

This postcard was sent to Walter Fowkes who was the landlord at the Talbot Inn at Gretton, Northamptonshire from a soldier stationed at Prees Heath Camp. Images reproduced with permission of Roger Fowkes …


Building work

This postcard is an example of what the first soldiers at the camp could send to their friends and relatives.