Rollestone Camp

apparently this is where we are going for annual camp this year. (although this is the 3rd option i have heard in the last week or so since we were told we had otterburn taken away from us so who knows what will happen tomorrow!)

last time i went there it was manky as hell...i remember they had put it forward as a potential POW camp just prior to Gulf War 1, but the UN had said it was unfit for purpose. so instead of putting iraqis in they put in the artillery!

please tell me it has at least had a lick of paint since 1994, or i may decide to be unavailable for the fortnight!


Book Reviewer
Blimey, Rollestone Camp, that's a name from the past. Originally a WW1 prisoner of war camp. I Did my JNCO cadre there in about 96, middle of winter and we all froze our tits off. Place was a bloody hole then. Thought it would have been levelled by now!!
I spent 8 months at Rollestone Camp in 1988 when it was turned into HMP Rollestone housing 360 cat C civi prisoners!!
Rollestone got a refurb a few years ago - since the turn of the century though.

The cookhouse hasn't changed, that's still a dump. And the showers... well... to say the least last time I went there for a week, we chipped in and got a B&B in the local area for the night every night, so that we could drive there and get a shower, then drive back to camp. Cost about £20 each for the week, was totally worth it as the showers there are gopping. The floors are permanently a blacky brown colour, and most of the sinks fail to eject water which is see-through. I didn't touch the water supply all week, filled my bottle up from Evian from the local shop. It was that bad.

So, the refurb? The bedrooms are improved. You now have a whole 50% chance of getting a locker as opposed to the old 20% chance, the floors are moppable and you don't have to pick the mud off with a knife, And they have pretty decent heating, modern windows and half decent insulation. So if you get a cold camp, that might be seen an upside.

You will notice the accomodation has it's own fence around it, keeping it seperate from the camp facilities. Why? Because when it wasn't being used as a military camp, it was used as a part time low security prison.

Only upsides are it is RIGHT on the training area, you don't need to bus onto it as it's over the road, and if you're into golf you can play pitch n putt all week long as it has it's own course.

Sorry though, I can't really think of any positives to being there.... none at all. My last memory of Rollestone was a bleep test in CBRN suit with webbing / daysack / weapon / helmet so my opinion may lean a little more towards the negative side... but the place was definitely pretty rough.
I was there in 1967 still had Nisson hut, hell on earth,even worse the Wrenny Letney
I done some pre Bosnia training at Rolleston. I think it was so that any thing we got in Bosnia would seem like paradise.
If you do go please do the world a favour and burn the place to the ground. (Thats if the little darlings don't beat you to it.)


Book Reviewer
Wasn't that where the Iraqi detainees were held, just before/during GW1/Granby?

This stolen shamelessly from the Internets:
"A tented camp-site was established close to Rollestone Bake Farm and east of the Salisbury-Bustard road in 1904 . With the outbreak of the Great War, four hutted camps, part of the thirty-four forming Larkhill Garrison, were erected,with building starting in mid-October 1914. An Army Service Corps supply depot was also established.
Norman Tennant of the Royal Field Artillery noted in" A Saturday Night Soldier's War" that "the area was a vast sea of mud and wooden hutments and it was here that I engendered a lasting hate for the inimical menace of army camps". Others were equally unimpressed with Rollestone.
In 1916 Rollestone was taken over by Australian training battalions. In 1917 an Australian from the camp was the first soldier locally to be accused of assaulting the police; he received two sentences of six and three months' hard labour, to run concurrently. Later that year another Australian was killed when being trained to use a Lewis Gun; one shell in its magazine of dummy ammunition was live.

On the other side of the Bustard road the Royal Flying Corps established Number 1 Balloon School, which continued after the war as the School of Balloon Training and was mainly concerned with training observers.

In early 1919 members of Queen Mary's Auxiliary Army Corps were based at Rollestone. The four army camps were demolished shortly afer the war ended

In other words, it's as close as you'll find to the home of the Women's Auxillary Balloon Corps :)
Also used to harbour the Argie POWs brought back here for a while before the important one or two got moved to The Keep at Rousillon Bks, Chichester I believe.

Spent a couple of very enjoyable nights in the Bustard in the early 80s, a fine bar serving wench if memory serves. Bit on the plump side but up for some man fun.
Horrid place. Went there at easter time last year for 5-ish days.
Crap showers
Crap rooms (20 man)
Crap NAAFI (non existent)
Horrific toilets

You'll be lucky if you haven't killed yourself by the end of your stay.

The graffiti in the toilets are a laugh to read though, if you can stand being in there long enough with a draft coming under the door and onto your arse, and if you can stand the stench.

Have a vivid memory of a great game of toilet tennis there.



Book Reviewer
forgot all about the Bustard. A little bit of paradise after being in that bloody camp being beasted for 12 weeks. Is it still there then?
The_Highway_Man said:
I spent 8 months at Rollestone Camp in 1988 when it was turned into HMP Rollestone housing 360 cat C civi prisoners!!
After considerable improvements, I infer.

I was in Exeter UOTC in 198smallnum, and we were told that our annual camp would be at Rollestone.

Then we were told that annual camp had been cancelled, as, thanks to the incompetence of the government of the day, the prisons were overflowing, and Rollestone was going to be used as overflow accomodation for those detained at Her Maj's pleasure.

Then, haven't you heard? It's all been changed, we were told that it was all on again, because, while the accomodation at Rollestone did not meet the minimum standards required for the temporary accomodation of convicted crims, it was quite good enough for University Officer Cadets.

Mind, we had a fiercely good camp, courtesy of some fine NCOs of 1 D&Ds just back from a very successful tour spanking the IRA in NI. You just have to like a corporal who gives you a GPMG, two hundred rounds of link, and the fire order "Gun, two hundred metres, target to your front, ******* obliterate it!"

Happy days.

All the best,

Spanish_Dave said:
I am very suprised nobody has mentioned the Bustard yet, what a watering hole :soldier:
Indeed it is Dave. It's about the only decent thing there!

I was at Rollestone in 2006 and the camp is not that great to be honest. Still, had a great annual there.
The_Highway_Man said:
I spent 8 months at Rollestone Camp in 1988 when it was turned into HMP Rollestone housing 360 cat C civi prisoners!!
I spent 6 months at Rollestone Camp in 1987 along with the rest of my squadron and several thousand rolls of f ucking razor wire, turning it into a Cat C Civvy prison.... I've still got the scars on my inner forearm from the common injury of "acrow tie puller failiure" resulting in carbon copy self harm injuries to 20 odd members of my troop... which is a fair one considering by the end of this particular "rent a sapper" task we were all pretty much f ucking suicidal.

I can honestly say, it's a bleak f ucking shitehole, and I can't see the passage of time having made it any better

Un-f-ucking lucky, the NAAFI was an upturned dustbin and the local facilities consisted of..... f uck all - is it too late to cancel and book to go away shagging and cramming pills down your nut with your mates to Ibiza?
Had a weekend there in the late 90s. Shocking beyond words that soldiers in the professional army of a G8 member government should be accomodated in that way.

2 weeks? A recipe for wholesale self-harm and rucks-a-plenty!

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