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Doncaster Racecourse in World War One
Doncaster Racecourse contributed heavily to the war effort. At first it was ‘business as usual’ but by the end of September 1914 the Military Authorities had taken over the Grandstands and stables postponing any further race meetings. Military platforms for mounting guns were set up and soldiers were camped on the racecourse. However, not everyone was entirely happy about this. The horse trainers were unable to use the race common or training course due to this encampment and the Spring Meeting was cancelled in May 1915. Substitute races were run at Newmarket from 1915 to 1918. In May 1915, Doncaster Council made a claim to the military for ‘dilapidation and damage’ done to the race stands by these soldiers.
The Royal Engineers raised at Doncaster in 1915 were based at the racecourse. They were given extended use of the racing grounds and military kitchens and a dining area was set up for them.
The Commanding Officer of 3/5th K.O.YL.I. requested permission to dig practice trenches in Glasgow Paddocks in July 1915, but this was refused.
It was home to a runway for military planes and by February of 1916 the Racecourse had become a key runway for the Royal Flying Corps with aircraft taking off regularly.
Lakeside, where it has naturalized edges, supports two main reed beds, which play a part in maintaining healthy water conditions. The reed beds are important habitats for water birds, especially at nesting time.
Coots, Moorhens and Great Crested Grebes are known to nest and rear young every year in these areas. Swans do build nests in these areas, but usually too close to the paths, so subject to interference and failure. Plants in the Lakeside reed beds include Phragmites and Bulrushes.
The content of this trail has been developed by the Doncaster Lakeside Wildlife Action Group. Visit their website at: http://lakesidewildlifeactiongroup.weebly.com/ or follow them on Twitter @WildlifeLakeDN4.
Can you find a statue near the Keepmoat Stadium? What is it of?
Answer: Two figures: a man holding a woman in the air