Millyford Bridge – Logging Camp Sawmill (Portuguese Fireplace)

Portuguese Fireplace - Front View
Author: Gareth Owen

The site of a Canadian sawmill setup to increase the production of timber during the First World War. Key uses for this timber was pit props – to support the roofs of subterranean tunnels (e.g. for cool mining or military tunnels at the front) and for trenches e.g. flooring, sides and buried ‘bunkers’. Canadian lumberjacks were then also sent to war leaving a shortfall is the workforce.  The sawmills employees were then supplemented with Portuguese timber workers, Portugal being neutral.

The  Portuguese timber workers left nothing behind after the war, other than the chimney and fireplace of their mess hall and this has become a memorial to them.

Some features are still visible today 9as well as the fireplace) and were also seen on aerial photographs of 1945 and on the Lidar survey. Features include earthworks, trackways, bare soils marks, possible spoil heaps and buildings.

Date: 1914

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