Gallipoli Music Memorial 2015

Blandford Forum & the Royal Naval Division

Too many men wanted to serve in the Royal Navy in 1914, so Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, made them into a land army, the Royal Naval Division.

They had naval ranks, ‘went ashore’ rather than ‘going out of camp’, organised their day with bells and could grow beards with permission.

By Christmas 1914 the RND had moved to Blandford Camp, Dorset, to complete its training, and used the camp as a base for most of the war.

On 27th February 1915 four battalions of the RND marched, wearing pith helmets in the pouring rain, across the downs to Shillingstone Station on the first stage of their journey to Gallipoli. This journey was recreated on 1st March 2015, mercifully without the rain.

The ensign (flag) of the Hood Battalion, RND, hangs in Blandford Forum Parish Church. The project will restore and conserve the ensign. Local embroiderers will create a large banner to hang in the parish church to tell the stories of creative artists at Gallipoli within the theme of peace.

The Blandford Forum community recognises the need for young people and adults to understand the extraordinary events that engulfed their town in 1915 and the stories of the extraordinary people involved: nine schools, two museums and the Parochial Church Council are working together on this initiative.

Hood Battalion ensign, Blandford Church