New Forest National Park

The New Forest National Park, on the south coast of England, was an important base of operations in the build up to D-Day. The natural camouflage afforded by the woodland and its location on the English Channel made it an ideal place to construct Mulberry Harbours and to hide troops preparing for the invasion.

The New Forest in Hampshire, England, was a key site in the prepara-tion of D-Day. Close to the English Channel and covered in natural woodland, the area played a key role in ensuring that the invasion of Normandy was a success. It was home to several clandestine bases, including centres for the Hydrographic Survey and Commandos, as well as, at times, a meeting point for the War Cabinet. The Balmer Lawn Hotel at Brockenhurst was used as a staff headquarters, then as a divisional headquarters and finally as a meeting place for the key Allied commanders in the build up to D-Day.

The New Forest was also a key site in the physical preparations for the Normandy invasion. The natural camouflage was used to hide the huge levels of organisation on the ground. Troops that would be in-volved in the operation were stationed and readied there. Their equip-ment, vehicles and stores were also hidden under the trees. Each day 12,000 tons of stores and 2,500 vehicles were handled ready to be shipped.

Furthermore the New Forest, particularly at Lepe, was important for the construction and launch of the Mulberry Harbours, which were crucial for the landing of the immense amount of troops, equipment and stores needed to secure Allied success. It was also important as the mainline base for Operation Pluto, that provided the Allies with sufficient fuel to operate in France.

During the invasion the New Forest was important for the care of those who returned injured, with hospital facilities provided, just a short trip across the channel from the beaches of Normandy.

New Forest National Park

Related Experiences