VETERANS and wounded servicemen from Help for Heroes were given the chance to pay a visit to a recently discovered Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Tidworth.

The veterans from the Help for Heroes recovery centre in Tedworth House were showed work by archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology, including work in progress and some of the finds from the site as well as discussing their significance.

Giles Woodhouse, head of Recovery South for Help for Heroes, said: “For so many of our wounded, injured and sick community, heritage plays a crucial role in their recovery. To have the opportunity to do so on our doorstep is an added benefit and something we are extremely thankful for.”

Many of the visitors from Tedworth House had previous experience of archaeology through Operation Nightingale, a military initiative which utilises the technical and social aspects of field archaeology to aid in the recovery and skill development of service personnel and veterans who have been injured in conflict, including the excavation of a 6th century Angle-Saxon cemetery at Barrow Clump in partnership with Wessex Archaeology.

Richard Bennet, formerly of 40 Commando, who served 17 years with the Marines, said: “I naturally jumped at the chance to take part in the visit and it was a good opportunity to compare and contrast some of the graves at this site to some of the graves we had been excavating over several years at Barrow Clump, which is not too far away and dates to a similar period.”

The cemetery, comprising around 55 burials and of late 7th to early 8th century AD date, was discovered ahead of building works associated with a £70 million housing development to provide 322 new homes for army families by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) in partnership with Hill, an award-winning housebuilder.