We pieced together our WW2 family history during a previous caravanning trip, part of which wound its way through Dorset. Here’s what we discovered:
Tarrant Rushton Airfield
Formerly RAF Tarrant Rushton, it was an Airborne hub during the Second World War and launchpad for the famous glider assault at Pegasus Bridge, Normandy. An original hangar remains and sits alongside the memorial. There’s a public right of way around the 3-mile perimeter road which makes for the perfect evening walk.
In 1943, the War Office placed a requisition order upon the entire village and the area was subsequently used to train troops. Originally a temporary measure, a Compulsory Purchase Order was placed on the village after the war and it has remained a ghostly reminder ever since.
Weymouth & Portland
During the D-Day build-up, the area was awash with troops and equipment. Weymouth was an embarkation point for Omaha Beach and the harbour was filled with ships of varying sizes. Mulberry Harbours can still be seen from Portland’s shore and Nothe Forth and Portland’s D-Day Museum are worthy attractions.
617 Squadron is best known for the part played in the Dam Buster raids, but did you know that Sir Barnes Wallis used Chesil Beach to conduct Bouncing Bomb tests? This location also features in the 1955 Dam Buster film.