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HEALTH &WELLBEING The Poppy Pod village


Hampshire County Council’s legacy to Armed Service personnel


Nestled in the heart of the New Forest, is Hampshire County Council’s Tile Barn Outdoor Centre, which many don’t realise has aunique and special military history.


For over 100 years, Tile Barn has proudly held aconnection to supporting the Armed Forces from the UK and overseas.


Now,thanks to great collaborative work across the region over the past five years, Tile Barn’s historic role of offering respite for the Armed Forces has been renewed with the construction of 20 wooden camping pods –the Poppy Podvillage – near Brockenhurst.


History


The WarOffice chose the Tile Barn site in Brockenhurst as aWorld WarIhospital centre due to its proximity to south coast ports and railway connections.


In 1915, almost 3,000 soldiers from the Indian Army Corps were treated


at the site’s Lady Hardinge Hospital, a500 bed tented and galvanized hospital known to the locals as "Tin Town".


In January 1916, the hospital site became the No.1 New Zealand General Hospital where over 21,000 New Zealand casualties were treated until 1919. Sadly,93New Zealanders, 3Indians and 1Australian died, and their graves in the churchyard of nearby St Nicholas’ church are maintained to this day by the Commonwealth WarGraves Commission.


Inspiration The creation of the Poppy Podvillage was inspired by the BBC programme ‘The Choir’with Gareth Malone, which provided an insight into the fears and isolation of military wives as their husbands and partners served in Afghanistan. The Military Wives attracted national attention, propelling them to a Christmas number one record in 2011.


Many were inspired by their journey including Enda Ryan, Head of Hampshire County Council’s Outdoor Centres. Enda explains: “What struck me the most about


36 Envoy


Spring 2017


www.raf-ff.org.uk


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