VB Summer training camps in Essex

Camps were seen as important parts in the training of the Volunteer Battalions.

The problem was that officers could not make the men go to camp as they were volunteers and even a seven day camp would use up the annual holiday allocation of most of the men.

Camps at garrisons like Colchester were most rewarding from the training viewpoint but if held at seaside locations then more men tended to attend as there were opportunities for pleasure when not on duty.

Below are a few snippets to understand what life was like in the  VB camps

Essex Brigade Camp 1904 at Seaford near Eastbourne attended by all four VB Battalions.

A total of 2,938 men attended the camp. 711 in the First Battalion under Major Christie, 773 from the Second Battalion under Lieut-Colonel Colemen, 700 in the Third  under Lieut-Colonel Brooker ward and 720 from the Fourth under Lieut-Colonel Benningfield.

The star attraction was the YMCA tent 100 x 40 feet in size with free games and magazines and singing every evening.

Pictures taken of the camp were turned into postcards and by the end of camp 1,400 of these cards had been posted.

Reveille sounded at 5am when the troops breakfasted after which they exercised until 1mid afternoon. Exercises included convoy duties, carrying blankets, field transport, advance, rear and flank guards and attack procedure.

The cyclists also had training involving a route of 60 miles which included a sham fight with another cycle brigade.