Ashley Walk – Line Target

The Line Target is still visible today as a straight line cutting through the natural vegetation of the old range live impact zone.  Lorry loads of chalk were needed to form the target and this chalk has prevented the native species recolonizing the targets path. 3m wide and some 1800m long the target lays northeast –southwest terminating just short of the ‘Bulls Eye’ target with a cross beam.

The target was used to trial different techniques, ordnance, and equipment used to attack railway tracks and roads.  Strafing runs with all guns firing as well dropping bombs were used and tested using this target.

Further Reading

On this site the Ashley Range Overview page has links to pages about the other targets on the range.

Ashurst Camp 1914

There is still much more research needed but it is understood that this modern camp site was once the camping area for the Indian troops before they moved to a camp in Lyndhurst once the 7th Division had left.

All Photos are credit: Imperial War Museum for Non-Commercial Use



Badminston Common

In this area are three standalone air raid shelters of brick construction with concrete roofs. As yet we do not know why they are all out here but one was nr a (now demolished) house.

The shelters are all to the south of the Common.



Balmer Lawn Hotel during WWII

During World War II, Balmer Lawn Hotel was used as a HQ for various units based in the area. War diary research indicates that it was initially used as a HQ for a Royal Marine Division (this may have been the artillery brigade of the division (Royal Marines Museum) and was later occupied by the HQ of the 3rd Canadian Division (WO 166/10967). In Hollands Wood immediately north of the hotel, there are several features that may be ancillary parts of the HQ.

BARTLEY – Second World War radio mast

The Bartley BBC Radio Site was set up in the war and known as an “H group transmitter”. The purpose was to act as a relay station to improve reception of the Home Programme in the Southampton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth areas.

Five weeks before D Day it also became an ABSIE (American Broadcasting Station In Europe) site transmitting programmes to troops and the enemy as a source of propaganda. This service closed at the end of the war however the Home Programme Service was retained to transmit regional radio programmers to the BBCs South Region. In Sept 1978 the BBC ceased regional radio broadcasting with the introduction of Radio 4 on 198 kHz Long Wave and the Bartley site closed and demolished.

Group H: The synchronization of the Home Service transmitters on to just two frequencies caused many interference problems for domestic listeners, with one Home Service transmitter interfering with another on the same frequency – this caused reception to sound very “mushy” in many areas. To overcome this problem the BBC initially installed a network of 61 low power relay stations around the UK using 203 meters (1474 kHz) called ‘Group H’, and which was later expanded. This network of low power relays filled in the coverage gaps (the mush areas) from the main transmitters. All of the Group H stations were manned 24 hours per day so that any single transmitter could be quickly closed down should there be an air raid.

  • Brookmans Park (Southern Group)
  • Droitwich 5GB (Southern Group)
  • Washford (Southern Group)
  • Moorside Edge (Southern Group)
  • Bartley (Southern Group)
  • Norwich (Southern Group)
  • Swains Lane – Reserve TX (Southern Group)


  • Stagshaw (Northern Group)
  • Westerglen (Northern Group)
  • Lisnagarvey (Northern Group)
  • Burghead (Northern Group)
  • Ottringham (Northern Group)
  • Penmon (Northern Group)
  • Redmoss (Northern Group)
  • Fraserborough (masking)

American Broadcasting Station in Europe (ABSIE) began five weeks before D Day, established by USA’s Office of War Information (OWI) with the help of CBS and was operated by the OWI and Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force’s (SHAEF) Psychological Warfare Division. The aim of American Broadcasting Station in Europe was to provide “…the truth of this war to our friends in Europe — and to our enemies”. Like the BBC, ABSIE provided news, talks, music and propaganda and also broadcast information for the underground movement. Broadcasts were made in various languages.

ABSIE used twelve transmitters situated in the UK using two frequencies plus some additional short-wave transmission facilities provided by the BBC.

Information contributed by John Wingham

Blast Pressure Group. Armaments Research Test Range – Millersford Range

John Robinson, now living in Santa Monica, California, USA, heard the extracts of an interview with Betty McCarthy – Memories of assistant photographer at Millersford, who also worked at the Millersford range. He wrote to use with his memories and a few photos.

John Robinson was a lab assistant at the Armaments Research Test Range, Millersford – between February 1943 to June 1944.

I was born in Hull, East Yorkshire in 1925. Shortly after the outbreak of war, I was evacuated (together with most of my school mates) across the Humber to Brigg in Lincolnshire. We all returned home for Christmas and most of us including myself, did not return to Brigg. I was part of another evacuation in the spring of 1940; this time to Holme-On-Spalding Moor, E.Yorks. Later in the year most of my school mates and I again returned to Hull, just in time to experience the start of heavy air raids. I believe that Hull was second only to London in the number and severity of raids.

I finished secondary school in June 1942 and later wrote to the Ministry of Food hoping to get employment as a lab assistant in one of their establishments. I was very interested in chemistry, especially organic chemistry, at the time. I was surprised to receive a reply from the Ministry of Supply, asking if I was interested in radio. As I had built a simple one valve short wave receiver, I wrote back saying “Yes”. The upshot was that I was sent to the South West Essex Technical College in Walthamstow on a three month course in basic electronics. This was the start of my 45 year career in electronics. In January 1943, I started work at the Armaments Research Test Range at Millersford.

I worked in the Blast Pressure group. We occupied (I think there were four) bunkers as described by Betty McCarthy, in a circle, surrounding ground zero. Our job was to record the blast pressure of (mostly 500 pound) bombs. This was done by using 8 quartz crystal sensors (gauges) spaced at various distances from the bomb, connected to a blast pressure recorder via long co-axial cables. Each bunker had one REDIFON blast pressure recorder. Switching was done by the same switching device described by Betty. The recorders were large light tight metal enclosures about the size of a wardrobe; they each contained a rotating drum around which photographic paper (about 5ftx3in) was wrapped. There were 8 cathode ray tubes mounted in 2 sets of 4 each surrounding the drum, fed by 8 amplifiers which were connected to the 8 co-axial cables. Each bunker was equipped with a darkroom used for developing the records.

At the end of each roll there was a piece that was too short to go around the drum. I saved these and used them in an ancient Kodak camera which happened to be the right width. This gave me paper negatives. Prints were made by shining light through the back onto another piece of paper. The quality was pretty awful, but film was virtually impossible to come by during the war. One of the girls working in the main building assembled the gauges – she was known as “Crystal Packing Momma!”.

I remember the plane crash; as Betty said, no one saw it happen, but we all heard the noise. I came out of my bunker and saw a mob of people rushing to the plane.

It was definitely a Lancaster, because I remember it had oval shaped tail fins; Halifax’s had rectangular ones. Amazingly, no one was killed, although, as I recall, the bomb aimer had a broken nose and two broken legs – the rest of the crew suffered only minor injuries. Because of the highly secret nature of the project, a detachment of the RAF Regiment was detailed to guard the wreckage. A day or two later, one of the men was sitting on the tail with his leg bent upwards, his mate was fooling around with his rifle which discharged. The bullet entered his mate’s leg twice – first in the shin, and then in the thigh, resulting in injuries more severe than those of the crew.

I joined the RAF in June 1944, about a week after D-Day and served in the RAF, and Army (Royal Signals), during which time I spent 2 years in India -1 was in New Delhi on Indian Independence Day – Aug. 15th. 1947.

It’s strange the tricks memory plays; I don’t remember Betty McCarthy; in fact I only remember the names of 8 people – Chadwick, Miss Fazakerly, Rimmer, Soady (who wanted to join the Fleet Air Arm), Stride, Trott, Raymond Gyton (who shared digs with me in Redlynch), and Victoria, (one of the Welsh twins -1 don’t remember her last name). I wish my memory was as good as Betty’s!

Blast Pressure group outside bunker Armaments Research Test Range, Millersford. John Robinson (3rd from left).
Four of my colleagues standing outside our bunker. I seem to recall it was taken by someone with a Rolleiflex camera – maybe Betty McCarthy? The tall chap on the left is Mr. Trott.

John Robinson in the GHQ Royal Signals Transmitter Hall, New Delhi in 1946
Me in the GHQ Royal Signals Transmitter Hall, New Delhi in 1946 and

Uploaded on behalf of John Robinson

You can find more memories of Millersford Experimental Work Below

Armaments Research Department – Millersford Overview

Group Photo with names – SAE Millersford – 1945

Vera Storr – Memories of a secret blast tester at Millersford Range

Barbara Smith – Memories of the secret work at Millersford Range

Betty McCarthy – Memories of assistant photographer at Millersford Range


Bomb storage and preparation

North of the main airfield at RAF Beaulieu is Hawkhill Inclosure. Hidden in these woods were the bomb storage and the bomb preparation areas.  Bombs would be taken from the storage bunkers on trolleys. Fuses, fittings and tail sections were installed with all the safety pins put in place prior to taking them via trolley to the main airfield and loading onto the planes.

The roadways where these trollies once travelled are still very visible. The platform like brick wall structures are the preparation areas and these were divided by earthen banks, some of which still survive today.

An interpretation panel has been installed at the location now which can be seen by those using the cycle network. You can see it here

For further reading and articles on Beaulieu Airfield please visit: Beaulieu Airfield Overview

Bombing of New Milton

This collection of photographs, held at St Barbe Museum, show the damage caused by the bombing raid on New Milton in August 1940. These photographs were taken along Station Road between the junctions of Ashley Road and the turning to Parkview Mews.

It was August 23rd, I remember it so well, I was 12 years old. I was standing on the corner of Station road & Old Milton road, with my friend John Hutchings, who was 9 at the time. All of a sudden a lone Heinkel 111 bomber flew over incredibly low, letting go of what we thought were propaganda leaflets. Seconds later we realised that these we not leaflets, but a stick of bombs—three 250-pounders, and nineteen 50 pound anti-personnel and incendiaries. Much of the shopping centre was devastated, with 20 civilians and 5 soldiers killed. I was amongst those injured as shrapnel ripped through my leg, whilst John got a clip round the ear from his Dad.  (Ivan Bryant, WW2 People’s War)

You can read Ivan’s full account on the BBC’s WW2 People’s War archive.

(W2 People’s War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at

Other bombing raids also occurred in August 1942 and January 1943.


Brockenhurst – 70th Anniversary of D-Day Commemoration

70th Anniversary of D-Day Commemoration

Residents and visitors joined together on 21 June to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings with a full day of activities and entertainments in both Brockenhurst and Lymington.

For this event a walk through history was created taking you to nine locations around Brockenhurst to find out more about what heppened here during WWII.  You can download this walk leaflet here.

Brockenhurst high street, Brookley Road, was the site for some very imaginative WWII window displays encompassing a children’s history treasure hunt. Vintage vehicles lined the road and many local organisations set up stalls to sell WWII memorabilia and local produce. The ladies of Scarlet Swing and the Friday Girls sang songs from the era and Lindy Hop dancers kept everyone enthralled with their Jitterbug Jive and other moves. Children from Brockenhurst Primary School dressed as evacuees and, accompanied by Cadets from Brockenhurst College, travelled by train to Lymington to view the WWII boats berthed there for the day.

At Brockenhurst Railway Station the Lymington-Brockenhurst Community Rail partnership had organised a fine display including many vintage vehicles, local producer’s stalls and a variety of singers and dancers. The Lymington Band, performing on Platform 4, was enjoyed by those departing and arriving by train to and from Lymington. The occasion was completed in Brockenhurst with a showing in the Village Hall of the 1962 film ‘The Longest Day.’

In Lymington, HMS Medusa, a boat used in the D-Day landings berthed at Berthon Marina and enabled visitors to view the only remaining example of a harbour defence motor launch vessel. At Lymington Railway Station a day of events included live music performances and a display of vintage motor vehicles There was a guided history walk to Lymington Yacht Club and a ceremony at Lymington Quay commemorating the wartime role played by the Essex Regiments’s 2nd Battalion. A blue plaque was unveiled to mark the departure from Lymington of the Regiment on 3 June 1944 when they sailed to join the main fleet waiting in Southampton Water for Operation Overlord to begin.

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.