THE HEATH AT WAR! (1914 - 1918)
Training and Defence
The Heath was an ideal place for soldiers to train and exercise. It was used by The "Hampstead Howitzers" (183rd Royal Field Artillery), The "Hampstead Heavies" (138th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery), 9th Batallion (County of London), Queen Victoria's Rifles and The Royal Engineers (Signal Service)
When German troops began bombing London from zeppelins, weapon systems were placed at the highest point in Hampstead Heath, among other places as defence against the nightly raids.
In November 1915 a mobile brigade of anti-aircraft gunners was based in Kenwood’s stable yard.
Anti-Aircraft Guns were placed at the rear front of Kenwood House (above) and also beside Whitestone Pond following the air raids which commenced in 1915.
"CLICK HERE to see an old Pathe News Film of soldiers playing on Hampstead Heath, 1914-1918."
"CLICK HERE to see an old Pathe News Film of soldiers having a snowball fight 1914-1918"
During The First World War, allotments were permitted on The Heath, near Gospel Oak Station on The King's Meadow, on a small piece of land near Vale Of Health Pond known as "Soldiers' Allotments", on the slopes facing Highgate and on The Heath Extension.
Sand was also dug up at Sandy Heath and used for sand bags.
The 138th Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (The Hampstead Heavies) was formed in 1915. Many local Hampstead people made up their ranks, being billeted at home. They trained on Hampstead Heath from October 1915 to March 1916 and were equipped with 60-pounder field guns.
They served in France and Belgium
Of the 200 officers and men who landed in France with the original Artillery only one officer and thirty other ranks were left at the end of The War.