It was only twenty years after the last conflict, but everything at Park Hall had either been removed or left to decay. However, in May 1939, the land was earmarked once more for military use, with the expectation of four battalions being on site by the following July. As a result, construction crews moved in and within a very short time, the camp began to take on the shape that it was to retain for many years.
Park Hall Camp was huge in those days. At that time there were fifty-four infantry regiments in the British Army (severely reduced following the re-organisations of the late sixties) and all were represented at IJLB. The camp itself sprawled over a huge area and had at least four parade squares, one, Wingate Square, named after General Orde Wingate of WWII Burma Chindits fame, was the main parade square and reputedly the largest square in a UK barracks.
At its peak, Park Hall Camp housed nearly two thousand ’boy soldiers’ plus all the training and admin staff needed to keep the place functioning. Goodness knows how many boys entered training there and left as young men over the years of its existence as IJLB and later the additional Junior Soldiers Wing.
Memories of Park Hall Camp
(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)
Park Hall Camp, in 1966
Written by Malcolm Thomas Austin
Known as Camp cripple, always in trouble for fighting, did car repairs on the side inside Camp for Officers, when our Billet was posted to Senerlager Germany I was asked to fall out & was sent to HQ, where I did Special Forces Training, since being recognised as SAS.
Still active with The British Legion & SSAFA