Defence Boom – Calshot Anchorage and Pier

The Calshot anchorage is the best preserved structure of the former defence boom circa 1910-1914.

I have created a representation of a Boom defence using linked cables (hawsers) that stretched across Southampton Water between Calshot and Hook. The aim was to defend the port and shipping in Southampton Water from waterborne attacks. This development replaced some old ships/hulks that were anchored in a line. The original plans dated 1907 give clues as to how the boom operated which is described in the annotations.

Part one of the representation shows the six main structures, two anchorages, two piers and two dolphins. The latter however need to have their living accommodation, winches and guns added. This I hope to complete by this time next year!

A credit is due to Captain Sir Mansfield George Smith Cumming, KCMG, CB (1 April 1859 – 14 June 1923) for pioneering this development. Subsequently he became the first director of what would become the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6.

3d Model via Sketchfab

The Calshot Anchorage is sometimes covered in shingle but this photogrammetry is representative of the site during 2018.

3d Photogrammetry via Sketchfab

Hythe Pier

Hythe Pier is a 640 metre long Victorian structure of cast iron and timber. It was built between 1879 and 1881 at a cost £7000.

The pier allowed safer and easier access  to the ferries running between Hythe and Southampton.

A 2ft gauge railway was added in 1909 on the northern side for hand propelled trolleys and this was later replaced with the current railway on the Southern side (1922). Brush locomotives were acquired from the Avonmouth gas factory just after WW1.

The cast iron structure has remained mostly intact. The timber moorings and decking have been renewed and modified many times over its life. This link is a 3D model of the pier end support structure detail as it was originally designed.

Hythe Pierhead 1880s

This 3D model represents the intricate infrastructure of a local Victorian pier at Hythe. Unfortunately the real thing is not looking so pristine at the moment due to its age. Some of the diagonal struts are now missing and there is much corrosion. A programme of restoration will start once funds have been secured.

Hythe Pierhead (1880s)
by f1xer
on Sketchfab

You can find out more about the history of the Pier on the Save Hythe Pier webpage: here

Ibsley HF-DF layout

The Ibsley HF-DF site consists of a number of objects. The bunker and building base (centre) are a few hundred yards from the blast wall (top right). The debris (lower middle) consists of rubble, a small concrete base (with pipe ends) and some wire ropes.

The bunker is covered in soil and some vegetation but there are steps down to the entrance. Behind the bunker there is a conctrete foundation with 3 metal and thread mount points. The adjacent building base defines a number of seperate areas.

The pentacon blast wall protects another foundation for a wooden tower .(The shadow on the wall is from the kite used to lift the camera). The blast wall is surrounded by some small blocks (highlighted in red) which seem to be positioned at each compass point (every 22.5 degrees). These were possibly used for calibration though some blocks are  now missing.

The wire ropes are formed into a loop at one end which would have originally gripped the top of a wooden post several metres tall. The base of the pole would have been very close to the concrete with the pipes. The position of the foundations and tensioners for the wire ropes suggest that a suspended cable ran from the top of the post to the bunker or buiding base (top right). The HF-DF blast wall is on the horizon.

The 3d model/representation of the site I have built on Sketchfab can be explored below.

You can find out more about Ibsley Airfield and the HF-DF associated with it in this overview article, which has links to other articles relating to Ibsley Airfield.


Lepe caisson launch slipway and support foundations.

The D-Day landings in June 1944 were reliant on the Mulberry Harbours.  These were made up of many components including six type B2 phoenix caissons (2861 tons) that were built and launched at Lepe.

The concrete foundations at this location were a key part of the method of launching caissons at Lepe. The foundations shown are the points at which the weight of the caisson is transferred from a continuous rail (the production line) to the launch slipway.

The following links include a representation of the caisson launches, a site video showing the remains of the foundations (May 2017) and also some photogrammetry of one foundation (where the weight of the caisson was transferred from rail to slipway).

3D Interpretative Model of the Phoenix Caisson launching via my Sketchfab

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 Beaulieu Letters

Between 1910 and 1916, the word ‘BEAULIEU’ was carved into the heath at East Boldre, in letters approximately 4.5 metres (15 feet) high, making the whole word spread over 33.5 metres (110 feet).

The letters were covered up during WW2 and do not appear on any aerial photographs of the day.

The following link includes a 3D model of the Beaulieu letters at East Boldre.

If you have any more details, documents or information about the aerodrome/airfield do add a comment, post a new article or get in touch. We are constantly adding to our main article: East Boldre Airfield Overview