Following an enquiry from a member of the public looking for the location of Marshalling Camp B.9, where his father was camp prior to D-Day, we are now able to confirm the location of this D-Day Camp as Stanswood Bay. Marshalling Camp B.9 (B9 B-9) which was probably in Nelson’s lodge Plantation.
Though not officially marked on any of the Overlord maps two pencil circles on “Overlord Administrative Map 1944 – Area B, Traffic Plan” (just above EA.B2 near Lepe Country Park) show the location of this camp which was established early in May 1944.
National Archives: WO 166/14367 – HQ Marshalling Area B, Mar-July 44.
Marshalling Area Routine Orders, Serial No. 23. 4 May 1944.
B9 is noted as a new camp located at “Stanswood Bay (MR905208)” and on 4 May 1944 a Major McWhor was in Command under ‘Y’ Sub Area.
Information from Son of a Sapper
On 31st May 1944 at 1200 hrs. 280th assault parties move to Marshalling camp B9 in the New Forest. Later, on 3rd June, 1300 hrs. the first two craft loads left camp B9 and proceeded to Q2 hard (now Lepe Country Park) where they embarked in LCT’s (Landing Craft Tank) 2412 & 2413 at 1500 hrs. WO 171/1619 280th Field Company Royal Engineers war diary 1944.
Private Papers of S C Donnison (held at the IWM) serving with 280th Field Company, Royal Engineers (RE) reveal that there were troops from the Green Howards & the Nottingham Yeomanry also in the “transit camp” on the evening of Friday the 2nd June.
Some background information for those interested.
The 153 sappers, NCO’s & officers of 280th Fld Coy RE assault team embarked onto their allotted 6x LCT at Q2 hard which is at the western end of Stanswood Bay.
They had been training in this area for the preceding couple of weeks. That is blowing up replica beach obstacles & having them towed off with AVRE’s as was their assigned tasks for H hour.
It was 3 Platoon of 280th that embarked onto LCT’s 2412 & 2413 including Son of a Sapper’s father. The LCT’s were to transport the “Funnies” of 81st squadron 6 Assault Regt RE & flail tanks of C squadron Westminster Dragoons along with the sappers.
Their destination was Gold, King area of the Normandy beach & they took along with them two folding boats and two box carts upon each craft which contained additional PHE, rations, etc. including their rifles. Sapper 6151340 (Son of a Sapper’s father) was assign Green section of King breeching gap, either 1 or 2.
As far as Son of a Sapper is aware Saturday 3rd June was the FIRST time Sapper 6151340 had been on board ANY landing craft. There is no mention in 280th Fld Coy RE war diary for 1944 of any training involving landing craft. The Company only learnt that they were to be used in the invasion on 4 May a month before! Up to this point in time their main purpose & training was in bridge building. However, they were familiar with mines & explosives.
The assault team had 12 days training & on day 13 (21 May) took part in “a rehearsal for the assault landing”. This took place at Stanswood beach & afterwards it was deemed 280th Fld Coy RE training was completed. Landing craft were not specified in this rehearsal. They were ready to go!
You can find out more about the New Forest’s vital role in D-Day from Mulberry Harbour, to holding camps, road widening, advanced landing grounds, PLUTO and Embarkation by visiting our main page on D-Day in the New Forest.