At the start of World War, One much of the timber required by the UK came from Canada. By 1916 Canadian timber could no longer be imported on a large enough scale to meet requirements for the war effort as there were not enough freight ships for all the country’s munitions, food and other essential items. Timber production from English forests and woodlands had to be increased to meet the Canadian shortfall. Labour was short due to the war. To harvest local timber the First Battalion of Lumbermen was formed of 1500 Canadian workers who started coming to the UK. The Canadians brought over their own equipment an initial advance party of 15 Canadians set up in a camp near Lyndhurst. which quickly grew and later received help from Portuguese labourers.
The camp was some 4 to 5 acres in size and surrounded by fences It was like a self-contained village with over 25 huts. Including workshops and even a hospital. At the height of the camp’s usage, there were around 100 Portuguese and 200 associated workers on site. There was also a Light railway that helped speed up timber production. Other camps were set up mainly in Southern England.
Little remains of the timber camp today as most of the buildings were wooden.
Concrete remains of the sawmill.
Now a monument “The Portuguese fireplace” is the chimney of the former cookhouse.
Timber Work in the New Forest is still being undertaken.