‘Amazing’ open day at Fort Brockhurst attracts hundreds of visitors as Fort Cumberland Guard put on musket demonstration

HUNDREDS of visitors gathered at Fort Brockhurst for its first open day in two years.

By Emily Jessica Turner
Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 11:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 11:53 am

Volunteers at the English Heritage site shared the history of the Gosport fort with visitors as the Fort Cumberland Guard put on a display.

Jo Forbes, territory volunteer manager at English Heritage, said: ‘It was an amazing day.

‘We had almost 250 people visit us on Saturday, which was absolutely fab.

Kason (5) and Marc Jr Lovlock (8) on the drums of Tamsin Coster and Scott Taylor of The Fort Cumberland Guard.

‘We haven’t been able to open Fort Brockhurst since 2019 - so to have our first open day outside of Covid was amazing.’

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A group of 11 members of the Fort Cumberland Guard met with visitors at the open day, which was held on Saturday.

Derek Gleed, the guard commander, said: ‘Today we had the members of the Fort Cumberland Guard meeting and greeting people, and we had a musket demonstration.

The Fort Cumberland Guard on parade.

‘We have greatcoats which we used during the rain to save our scarlet tunics.’

The guard members ranged in ages from 22 through to 88, and Derek said it was nice to have female guards also in attendance.

Derek said: ‘It was an excellent day, they were very nice people - the audiences were very attentive so we were very pleased.

‘We had new members doing their first display in front of the general public, and they did well - a good day all around. Lots of children, which was nice to see.

Fort Brockhurst open day. Paul Collins/Portsmouth News

‘As the CO, I was pleased with the efforts of all members - they all interacted well with the general public.’

Fort Brockhurst will be open to the public on the second Saturdays of August and September.

Jo added: ‘We were really lucky to be joined by the Fort Cumberland Guard so that made it extra special on the day.

The Fort Cumberland Guard on parade at the Fort Brockhurst open day.

‘The site is only open one day a month. The day would not have been able to happen without the support of the volunteers.

‘I would like to say a really huge thank you to all our volunteers and the Fort Cumberland Guard, who really supported our open day - it was their first opportunity to do a display so it was special for them as well.’

The next outing for the Fort Cumberland guard will be at the WWI Remembrance Centre at Hilsea on July 25 when the museum reopens.

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Julie Baines and Sally Smith greeted visitors.