On 6 June 1944, thousands of troops with their vehicles and supplies left Britain via locations such as Lepe beach in the New Forest National Park for the beaches of Normandy. This was D-Day, the start of the great campaign to liberate Europe and to bring World War Two to its end. View the remains of the launch site at Lepe from a different aerial angle in this short clip and get the full story here: D-Day at Lepe Beach
In this film you can clearly see the embarkation area first including the wooden Dolphins that formed part of the pier head used to load ships departing for Normandy. You can also see the iron Bollards used to tie up the ships that were being loaded for the invasion and the Beach Hardening Mats which resemble huge bars of chocolate, were held in place by a series of iron hooks. They were laid out to strengthen the beach enough to take the weight of the tanks and other vehicles being driven onto landing craft.
The flight then moves over the Mulberry Harbour construction area. First you will see the concrete slipways run from the rolling track walls to the sea. These were used to launch the caissons at high tide. You then see the impressive construction platforms where the caissons were constructed. Today, although parts are storm damaged and some have been deliberately destroyed, the platforms run for 374 metres and are 11m wide and 1.3m high. The platforms were large enough to construct all six caissons simultaneously, reflecting the urgency of the work.
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.