During the First World War, thousands of British and Australian soldiers were camped in temporary huts in the fields to the south of Sutton Mandeville, undergoing training and preparation for the battlefields of France and Belgium.
Soldiers from various regiments were present between 1915 and 1918, among them the 7th Battalion of the London Regiment (known as the Shiny 7th) and The Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Soldiers of the Shiny 7th and the Warwickshires carved their regimental cap badges on the chalk downland of Sutton Down. These were cared for by the Fovant Badges Association until the 1990s, after which they became overgrown.
The badges are now looked after by the Sutton Mandeville Heritage Trust, formed in 2014 to promote the conservation and protection of the natural and historic environment surrounding Sutton Mandeville. And also to learn more about and raise awareness of the soldiers who trained in the area during WW1.
In 2017 a project to uncover the badges and restore them to their former condition began, with further renovation work carried out in 2018-19.
The main focus of activity since has been a series of presentations at shows and festivals as well as ‘working picnics’, when members go onto the badges to cut vegetation and carry out other tasks.
More information about the project, membership of the Trust and volunteering opportunities can be found at their website: