Wartime relics at Studland

1940 - 44

Public access inaugurated 18 April 2002

 Fort Henry

This extract from the article on Studland in Dorset Page gratefully acknowledged.

" The landings on French soil in the Second World War were rehearsed on the lovely sandy beaches of Studland. It was a training ground for invasion forces in the months before D-Day.

The lasting legacy of this activity, built by Canadian engineers in 1943, is Fort Henry, over looking Studland Bay from the sycamores of Redend Point. It is owned by the National Trust and extends along the seaward side of the grounds of the Manor House Hotel.

One of Britain's most important relics of World War Two, it is 90-feet long, with concrete walls almost three feet thick, and a recessed observation slit 80 feet in length. Behind this, on the exceedingly noisy 18th April 1944, were the field-glasses of King George VI, General Sir Bernard Montgomery, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower; the future President as Supreme Commander Allied Forces Western Europe."

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View from the fort of Middle Beach Studland

View of Studland Beach - note the outline of the Bankes family boathouse, now submerged at high tide.

An observer's view (courtesy of Neville Newnham)

An artist's impression of Operation Smash that took place in April 1944 at Studland Beach.
To view the original visit 'The Manor House Hotel' who have generously permitted us to use this photograph

On the 18 April 2002 the National Trust celebrated the opening of public access to this wartime relic
and here is Bill Chutter, 87, a veteran of the 18 April 1944 exercise relaxing in the sunshine.

The Chairman of the local (Purbeck) Association of National Trust members and sergeant Geoff Hann ( National Trust countryside headwarden) welcome the wartime Prime Minister.

E Company 2nd Btn, 16th Inf.U.S.1st Infantry Division
(An allied unit of the WORLD WAR II LIVING HISTORY ASSOCIATION
click on the link above for more information)
did the honours.

Complete with staff car.

and tracked infantry vehicle.

Our generals were well protected.

A less well preserved relic is this pillbox from the earlier years of the last war.

Still visible are these Project Fougasse pipes that pumped oil onto South Beach.

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Bibliography:

Colin A.Pomeroy - Page 78 - "Military Dorset Today" - Silver Link Publishing Ltd - 1995 - ISBN 1 85794 077 6
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Postscript



Six decades have passed but, for the 88-year-old widow Joan Brunt, memory lived on when on April 4, 2004  a memorial stone overlooking the scene of the tragic loss of a Valentine tank and six  servicemen who drowned during the doomed pre D-Day Exercise Smash in Studland Bay on 4 April 1944 was unveiled. More information courtesy of The Bournemouth Daily Echo
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G.E.Thomas

06/04/2004

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