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World War One memorial tells story of Morn Hill Camp

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image copyrightBritish Pathe
image captionTwo million people passed through the Morn Hill camp during World War One

A memorial dedicated to one of the largest World War One camps in the UK has been unveiled in Winchester.

The Morn Hill Camp is now a butterfly sanctuary, but had two million soldiers pass through it and other Winchester camps between 1914 and 1918.

In an American Red Cross book of 1919 a promise was made to create a memorial to the men who had been there.

A memorial and exhibition telling the camp's story were unveiled at an event outside the city's Great Hall.

Project chairman David Harrison said: "When we learned about the promise, we felt it was our duty to fulfil it and extend it to honour the two million British, American and Canadian soldiers who were based at Morn Hill to prepare for battle on the front line.

"I hope that when people see the memorial – both local residents and visitors to the city – they will reflect on the men who were based here during the World War One, many of whom will have made the ultimate sacrifice."

'Dwarfed population'

From 1917 the Morn Hill Camp was the UK base for the American and Canadian armies.

It opened in the autumn of 1914 and by December there were 50,000 troops under canvas in the snow.

Their numbers dwarfed the population of Winchester, which was just 22,000 at the time.

By end of the war, four years later, Morn Hill had been temporary home to more than two million men, including some 750,000 Americans.

The exhibition in the Great Hall will be open to the public from Tuesday.

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