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Bodmin Keep War Stories

Aug 6, 2020

Two world wars, intelligence training, an influx of Americans and a mishap with a hungry dog and a crocodile handbag - all part of the rich history of Bodmin Keep.

When the building was first erected in 1859 it was a blueprint for a modern and healthy training centre. Since then, thousands of troops have come here to ready themselves for duty, before being despatched to all corners of the globe. It's been a depot, a training centre, a spy school and a home for 100s of GI's.

In this episode, we'll find out why Winston Churchill raised eyebrows when he paid a visit to Bodmin Keep, we'll hear what impressionable posh boys learned from their more streetwise room mates, and we'll discover exactly how much a typical soldier could tuck into for breakfast at the barracks.

Two men whose fathers served here during the years of National Service recall how the barracks could be a Boy's Own adventure for those not forced into lengthy drills. And Bill Stevens, who was adjutant in the 1950s, recalls what could have been a very expensive and embarrassing mistake.