A GROUP of volunteers are on a mission to restore a historic chalk badge in Compton Chamberlayne which has been fading from view

The Map of Australia was carved into the downs during the First World War by Australian troops who were stationed at Hurdcott Camp.

The Map of Australia Trust has been formed by Helen Roberts, James Davis, and Tim Butler and hopes to restore the badge before Armistice Day.

Helen said:”It is a unique monument created by Australian soldiers staying at Hurdcott Camp during the First World War and we feel that it should be restored and maintained in memory to all those who gave so much during the First World War.”

The trust is aiming to do the digging by hand just like the Australian soldiers did in 1917.

Helen said: “I grew up in Swallowcliffe and used to see all the badges on trips to Salisbury. When my own children became interested in the badges, I started looking at them again in more detail and was sad to find out that some of them including the Map of Australia were no longer being looked after and were being ‘allowed to fade’ ."

In early 2015 she started making enquiries about the Map of Australia chalk badge and discovered there were no plans to restore it. The trust was then set up which has been working closely with the landowner and Historic England, who have been providing expert advice.

The chalk badge is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and currently on the Heritage at Risk Register.

“When I began work on this project it was very much a dream and I had no expectation that anything would happen. I was thrilled when I was given the permission and I am very passionate about this project,” Helen added.

The trust received a grant from South West Wiltshire Area Board to start the project and is exploring options for further funding.

More volunteers ate being sought to help with the restoration work which is taking place during the weekends this summer. For more information email ww1australiamap@gmail.com

Helen said: “All volunteers need is energy and a spade.”

A fundraising page has been set up for donations towards the project, go to uk.gofundme.com/map-of-australia