The 1944 invasion of Europe was the largest amphibious assault ever undertaken in history. It required meticulous preparation in advance of D-Day, and significant logistical support in the following months.
The Solent was at the heart of this activity. Its sheltered waters were used to moor the bulk of the massive invasion flotilla, its low beaches provided ideal locations to build embarkation hards and its docks and quiet waterways provided ample space to build key components of the famed Mulberry Harbour.
The Solent 70 project has been exploring the role of the Solent in the build-up, execution and follow-up of this momentous event, in particular the role of purpose-built embarkation points, the construction of sections of Mulberry Harbour and the use of the underwater fuel pipeline PLUTO.
Thanks to the kind support of Hampshire County Council through their Hampshire Commemorates grant scheme and the New Forest National Park Authority through the New Forest Remembers: Untold Stories of World War II project, volunteers have been able to further research these elements of the Solent’s history.
Research has been conducted at the National Archives in Kew, London, Hampshire Records Office in Winchester, Portsmouth Records Office and Southampton Archives. By researching a number of historic documents, most of which were once classified at the highest levcel of secrecy, volunteers have been able to identify numerous maps, memos and photographs that have revealed previously unrecorded Second World War heritage.
Find out more about each element of the project with the following links:
You may also be interested in the Landing Craft project.