VOLUNTEERS have restored a historic chalk badge in Compton Chamberlayne which was 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 was formed by Helen Roberts, James Davis, and Tim Butler with the aim of restoring the badge before Armistice Day.

Helen said the trust is "thrilled" to have completed the restoration, adding: "I personally am so proud that the Map of Australia is back on the hillside. It was wonderful seeing the map emerge from the hillside after every session.

"When I first started the project back in 2015, I had no expectations that I would be able to achieve anything, but with the help of my fellow trustees James Davis and Tim Butler, we have formed the Map of Australia Trust and have become a registered charity. Our aim is to maintain the Map of Australia and tell future generations about Hurdcott Camp and the significance of this area to the war effort. Nothing remains of the camp today, so the restored map acts as a lasting memorial to those Australian soldiers who came from the other side of the world to help us when we needed it."

Volunteers started working at the site on June 24 and over the past four months they have dug out more than 300m of turf and soil, then backfilled with fresh chalk.

Helen said: "Many of these soldiers never made it back to Australia, we owe it to that generation to never forget the sacrifice they made."

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

"We have had fantastic support from a small but very loyal group of volunteers, some of whom travelled quite some distance to be with us. Our numbers ranged from 6 to 20 on each working date, with an age range of 5 years to 82 years," added Helen.

"We are very grateful for the support of the landowner, allowing us to access the site and use the farmyard as a meeting point. We also had vital help from another local farmer who stored and delivered our chalk up to the map in advance of our working dates."

The trust received a grant from South West Wiltshire Area Board to start the project and also set up an online fundraising page to boost funds for the project.

The Map of Australia Trust has another project in the pipeline to tell the story Hurdcott Camp via its map-of-australia.com and have information boards in a viewing area if planning permission is obtained and enough funds are raised.

Two minutes of silence will be observed on Armistice Day at the map.