Shorncliffe Army Camp

Shorncliffe Army Camp is a large military camp near Cheriton in Kent. Established in 1794, it later served as a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front during the First World War. Its closure was announced in 2016.

Shorncliffe Army Camp
The First Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, Shorncliffe.jpg
Shorncliffe Army Camp
Shorncliffe Army Camp is located in Kent
Shorncliffe Army Camp
Shorncliffe Army Camp
Location within Kent
Coordinates51°04′33″N 01°07′53″E / 51.07583°N 1.13139°E / 51.07583; 1.13139Coordinates: 51°04′33″N 01°07′53″E / 51.07583°N 1.13139°E / 51.07583; 1.13139
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
Operator British Army
Site history
Built forWar Office
In use1794-Present


Map dated 1801 showing Shorncliffe Redoubt on the left and the camp ground on the right

The camp was established in 1794 when the British Army bought over 229 acres of land at Shorncliffe; it was then extended in 1796 and 1806.[1] It was at Shorncliffe that in 1803 Sir John Moore trained the Light Division that fought under the Duke of Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars.[2]

Shorncliffe was used as a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front during the First World War and in April 1915 a Canadian Training Division was formed there.[3] The Canadian Army Medical Corps had general hospitals based at Shorncliffe from September 1917 to December 1918.[4] The camp at that time composed five unit lines known as Moore Barracks, Napier Barracks, Risborough Barracks, Ross Barracks and Somerset Barracks.[3] On three occasions there were German air raids which killed soldiers on the camp.[5]

During the Second World War Shorncliffe was again used as a staging post and Queen Mary visited the camp in 1939.[6]

From 1967 the camp was home to the Junior Infantryman's Battalion (JIB) and later, the Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion (IJLB) until the dissolution of junior soldier recruitment in 1991.[7] In 2011 the camp consisted of Burgoyne Barracks, Sir John Moore Barracks, Napier Barracks, Risborough Barracks and Somerset Barracks.[8] The Royal Gurkha Rifles have been based at Sir John Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe since 2001.[9] 2 (South East) Brigade was also based in Sir John Moore Barracks until January 2015.[10] In November 2016 Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced in the House of Commons that Somerset Barracks is to close.[11]

Shorncliffe Military CemeteryEdit

The Shorncliffe Military Cemetery serving the camp is also property of the Ministry of Defence. Three Victoria Cross recipients are buried here:[12]

It contains more than 600 Commonwealth war graves from the World Wars.[5] There are 471 from World War I, including more than 300 Canadians,[5] and 6 members of the Chinese Labour Corps.[13] There are buried 81 from World War II, including one unidentified British soldier and a Polish war grave. A screen wall memorial lists 18 Belgian soldiers who were originally buried in a now-demolished mausoleum.[5]


  1. ^ "Folkestone History". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Proposed Memorial at Shorncliffe Camp to Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Formation Of The 2nd And 3rd Divisions". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Royal Military Hospital, Shorncliffe Camp". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d "Cemetery Record, Shorncliffe Military Cemetery". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Queen Mary Visits Shorncliffe Camp". Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  7. ^ "History". The IBB and IJLB Association. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Shorncliffe Garrison masterplan". Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Gurkhas in Kent". BBC. 31 January 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Dover ceremony marks army's 2 (South East) Brigade closure". Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Latest MoD site closures remove job security for thousands". PCS. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Burial Locations of VC Holders in Kent". Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  13. ^ The University of Hong Kong Libraries. "Stevens, K., "British Chinese Labour Corps labourers in England", in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, Vol. 29, 1989, p. 390" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-04-10.