Over the years there have been many connections made between Horsham and Canada. This feature is intended to guide interested visitors to those locations. Migration from Horsham to Canada is recorded many times but is not the subject of this feature. However, it is interesting (if not disturbing) to note that many World War I veterans were required to relocate to Canada after the war, the other ‘choice’ being Australia.
The Canadian troops were part of the allied forces in both world wars and one casualty is buried in Hills Cemetery; Corporal Arthur Woods serving in the Canadian Garrison Artillery lost his life on the 4th of January 1916.
Harold S Gamblin, in his memories of the First World War recalls a siege training camp just four miles from Horsham where the troops slept in new wooden sheds. The 131st (Cdn) Siege Battery were based there before going to France on 30th July 1916.
On July 15th 1915 a baseball match was staged between the 165th and 167th Canadian Siege Batteries. The game took place at 2:30 in the football ground in Brighton Road and cost 3d [2007: 72p] to enter. It was to raise money for ‘Patriotic Purposes’.
Up to 100 convalescing Canadian casualties, along with those from Australia and New Zealand, were accommodated in nearby Sedgwick Park. This was at the behest of the then owner Emma Henderson.
In a letter home to his family on August 31, 1917 H R Porteous spoke well of Horsham:
“We left Shorncliffe Camp yesterday morning at 9 a.m., and entrained at 10:30; had a nice little ride in the dinky little cars, and arrived at Horsham at 1 p.m.; had to march about two miles to one of the prettiest camps in England. It is not a very large camp, and as there are some Imperial troops here, we couldn’t all get in huts, but 10th and 11th Batteries got in huts, and the 12th had to take to the tents. We were detailed off 30 men to a hut, and each of us had a real bed with springs and straw mattress. We have electric lights throughout all the huts with the switch at the power house, and at 10:15 they don’t ask you, but just switch off the juice and leave you in darkness.”
“Horsham is a fine town and not very large, about 12,000 population and most of them are girls, and I understand they think a lot of the Canucks.“
There are many letters from Canadian troops sent home that have been transcribed by the Canadian Letters & Images Project. A link to the Horsham search results is provided here. There will also be some Horsham photographs in the results.
Later, during World War II many Canadian Forces were posted in and around Horsham. Many troops were based in the grounds belonging to Denne Park House on the Worthing Road.
Canadian tanks were directed through Horsham ready for mainland Europe deployment. Unfortunately they were routed through Middle Street and some became lodged between the kerb stones of this narrow (now predestrianised) street.
The old workhouse in Forest Road was given over to the Canadian forces for the duration of the war. It served as a 600 bed hospital for those recovering from injuries.
The Canadians were also generous towards the residents of Horsham; a catering van for the fire crews was gifted to the town in 1941.