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Hampshire, England

Portuguese Fireplace

This unlikely memorial honors the Canadian and Portuguese laborers who felled trees for the Allies in World War I. 

A fireplace left at the site where Canadian and Portuguese foresters camped out during the first World War is now a memorial to the wartime lumberjacks.

During the beginning of World War I, Canada supplied timber for the Allies in Britain. But by 1916, its logging industry was unable to keep up with the increasing demands. Britain had a problem: it needed to start using its own trees, but all the local foresters were fighting in the war.

Over the next several years, the Canadian Forestry Corps sent 1,500 men and equipment overseas to the New Forest lumber camp, which encompassed about five acres of land. In 1917, as the demand continued to climb, the Portuguese government started sending laborers to help out with the efforts.

The stone fireplace in New Forest National Park is located between the village of Emery Down and the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary. It marks the site where the foresters lived in a small village of huts and memorializes the efforts of the Canadian Forestry Corps and Portuguese Army.

A plaque explains its significance: “The Forestry Commission have retained the fireplace from the cookhouse as a memorial to the men who lived and worked here and acknowledge the financial assistance of the Portuguese government in its renovation.”