Exbury Gardens: HMS Mastodon, HMS King Alfred and HMS Hawke

HM LCT 574: En Route for Normandy
Author: Gareth Owen

Exbury Gardens played an important role in the strategic planning of D-Day. Exbury was designated as HMS Mastodon from May 1942 to July 1945, subsequently HMS King Alfred January to June 1946 and then HMS Hawke from Aug 46 to 1955.  ‘She’, for all ships are traditionally called she, was responsible for the administration of victualing, arming and training of crews for the landing craft that were used in the amphibious assaults against occupied Europe, D-Day.

Exbury Veterans Association has very kindly donated a range of material including photos, documents and artefacts.

List of Key Words for the photographs included in this collection:

  • Exbury House. Spring 1944
  • LCT 629
  • LCT 574
  • Crew Photos. Can you help name any of them?
  • Badge: Combined Operations Command Badge

Crew members identified:
Exbury Image 006 – Crew Photo: Peter Laker – back row 3rd from left.

Can you add anymore details or name anyone else in these photo?

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.

The King (King George VI) visited Exbury on Wednesday May 24th 1944 for a brief visit and Royal Salute shortly before D-Day. Find out more about the Kings visit.

You can also find out more by visiting Exbury Garden’s website: Exbury during WWII.

Date: 1942
  1. Sallyann Sines

    we think that 3rd from left 4th from right back row picture no 6 from begging of photos is peter laker who we are trying to chase the history of his records he also served on hms Alfred fox copra could you give us any details thankyou

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