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MONUMENT NO. 1400540


A system of perpendicular practice trenches associated with First World War military training within the interior of Old Oswestry hillfort is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs.

In the First World War the hillfort was used for training troops stationed at Park Hall Camp circa 1 kilometre away. The size indicates it may have been for a division (approximately 16,000 men). Witness accounts recall training included trench digging, practice in the use of rifles and mortars and explosives, resulting in the creation of wide shallow craters. The remains of the reserve, support and fire (front line) trenches are all evident, together with communication trenches and associated defensive postions. The size and layout of the trench system suggest it was used by a battalion of about 700 men. The remains of other trenches suggest several phases of military activity on the site. Much of the interior of the hillfort has been affected by this activity.

Wilfred Owen, the First World War poet, was born in Oswestry, and returned to the area in 1916 as a Second Lieutenant with the Manchester Regiment. He was stationed for a month at Park Hall Camp and trained his men in the use of rifles. Some of this training is likely to have taken place at Old Oswestry.

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