Bordering the counties of Hampshire and Berkshire, lying in the north west corner of the County of Surrey, is the town of Camberley just a few miles north of the M3 motorway. Camberley sits in the Thames Basin with its expanse of natural heathland and with its easy access to the motorway links to the West Country, London and the South Coast; it is not surprising that the town has grown to become one of the largest in the district.
Camberley is possibly well known for its military connections but many will be surprised to learn that in the 19th century the town was known as Cambridge Town. However, to avoid confusion with the other Cambridge, it was decided to change its name to Camberley in 1877.
In Victorian times it was also considered by army officers to be a desirable place to live in retirement due to its clean air and, therefore, became what was commonly known as a health resort. Camberley continues to retain strong links with the military and an example of this is the Bisley Ranges owned by the Ministry of Defence. The village of Bisley which lies to the west of Camberley and is surrounded by open heathland and woods, hosts the UKs National Rifle Championships. Another example is the village of Deepcut just five miles to the south which is home to the Princess Royal Barracks which belong to the Royal Logistics Corps.
The most famous, of course, is the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst which was built in 1812 and later enlarged in 1912, and lies to the north west of Camberley. The Academy was formed from two older institutions namely the Royal Military Academy and the Royal Military College of Camberley. The Royal Military Academy trains Officer Cadets for the British Army, some of which are from our royal family, and Officer Cadets from overseas.
Camberley also has an airport, namely Blackbushe, which is situated three miles west along the A30. However, today it is mainly used by the business executive, although it was originally known as RAF Hartfordbridge when it was opened in 1942 and during the Second World War squadrons of Spitfires and Mosquitos were based here. It was at the end of the war that the airport was renamed and transferred to the RAF Transport Command before it finally passed into civilian ownership in 1960. British Car Auctions redeveloped the site and today is the home of not only aviation but a car auction and market.