Memories of the build-up of troops and equipment leading up to D-Day

Lady Belinda Montagu
Author: Gareth Owen

An oral history interview with Lady Belinda Montagu.  Interview Date 22/11/13

Lady Belinda Montagu was a young girl at the start of the war but old enough to remember and witness the build-up of troops and equipment leading up to D-Day. Before going off to boarding school she was free to cycle or ride her pony with others across the Forest and thus able to observe the military activities close to her home on the Cadland estate. This included operations at Fawley, Calshot and Lepe, including the preparatory work needed for the D-Day invasion. Like many others of her age, she recalls the air raids and bombing of Southampton, rationing and meeting American troops. Altogether a realistic account of what life was like for a youngster living in the New Forest during the war years.

Interview Quick Clips

  1. B1M007_02A1 – D-Day at Cadlands
  2. B1M007_02A1 – D-Day Practise
  3. B1M007_02A1 – Evacuees and Guests at Cadlands
  4. B1M007_02A1 – Rationing and Wartime Food in the Forest
  5. B1M007_02A1 – Pigs at Stone Farm
  6. B1M007_02A1 – Air raids
  7. B1M007_02A1 – German Escapees at Lepe
  8. B1M007_02A1 – Mother in the ARP
  9. B1M007_02A1 – Calshot and Brave Pigeons

All material is © New Forest National Park Authority.

Full transcription of interview recordings.
Download transcription (PDF)

Interviewed by: Sue Jackson
Transcription by: John Martin
Audio Editor: Cosmic Carrot  www.cosmiccarrot.co.uk

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.

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