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Fenn’s Moss was owned by the Hanmer family from Bettisfield Park. In 1915 the Park became a Royal Field Artillery School of Gunnery. It also hosted a Cavalry Remount Station, where horses were gathered to be trained before deployment.

The War Office built a factory to mill peat from the Moss for bedding for the horses. Peat was also sent away by rail for use as smokeless fuel in the trenches and bog moss was used to make absorbent sterile field dressings.

Cutting peat was a reserved occupation during both World Wars.

The extensive flat unpopulated expanse of Fenn’s Moss, well serviced by troop transport trains, became an important site for training Kitchener’s New Army. Four new rifle ranges were constructed on North- east Fenn’s Moss. The ranges were primarily used by soldiers from Prees Heath Camp (20,000 men) and Park Hall Camp (4,000 men), including from the Royal Welch Fusiliers, Cheshire’s and Highland Light Infantry.

A tented camp (1,000 men) at nearby Fenn’s Bank provided a base for troops training on the ranges. The 2,500 men from Bettisfield Park Camp walked by road and along the canal to four new rifle ranges at the Batters.

The Moss would have resounded with the noise of thousands of soldiers shooting Lee Enfield Rifles and Vickers and Lewis Light Machine Guns. Many of these men subsequently went to Gallipoli, the Somme and Passchendaele.

Whixall History

World War One