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Armour & Embarkation. Dorset 2010


As the title suggests, the event is based around armour and embarkation for D-Day. This is event or more to point, this experience has never been undertaken here in the UK since WW2. It has been inspired by Tanks in Town in Mons. Is open to US and British armour and soft skins.



Maiden Newton – Dorset. (more about why Maiden Newton later).



Why Dorset? Because it was one of the embarkation and marshalling counties. For example, the 1st Division – the Big Red One and the 29th were based here and left from Weymouth for Omaha. The Rangers left for Point Du Hoc and elements of the 2nd Armoured also left from here. We must also remember that the above ‘big 3’ names weren’t the only ones to leave from here. Thousands of others aboard mine sweepers, Coast Guards and a whole host of special vessels.

With Dorset being a marshalling and embarkation county it became a massive camp and a supply dump. The fields and woodlands of Dorset where filled with all of the American armour and soft skins that you can imagine, you may of seen the famous pictures of the vehicle park full to the horizon of half tracks and Shermans. Dorset became a massive fuel, ammunition and food dump.

There is more to Dorset WW2 history than you can imagine and below are some point of interest:


·Tarrant Rushton was known as Station X as it was used by the SOE and is most known for the airfield where Major Howard and his men left for Pegasus bridge

·The Big Red One where here - the Rangers, 2nd armoured left from here

·Commandos trained here

·DD tanks trained for D-Day on the beaches around Studland bay (some of them on still on the seabed…)

·Blandford Camp - the army base was a hospital for the US forces - it was a hospital for the battle of bulge - with up to 500 GIs coming into it a day, flown in by C47s into Tarrant Rushton

·Dorset was an invasion zone for Operation Sea Lion –

Army Group B…

The landings would be broken up into waves, the initial wave to land on Army Group B's beaches would comprise no less than ten infantry divisions made up of 120,000 infantry soldiers, 4,650 horses, 700 tanks, 1,500 army vehicles. Each side of the landings would be supported by some 30,000 paratroopers whose job it would be to cut communications, secure bridges, railways and small villages.


Of course the list goes on and on.


To go back to why Maiden Newton, I will explain. I had previous talked myself out of thinking of Dorset because I though that no one would come this far. I then had a call from a tank owner, an HMVF member telling to get a grip and get it sorted for Dorset and that I should talk with Ian Hambidge. Ian was one of the organiser of the massive success that was Maiden Newton at War. They turned the village back to 40’s back in the summer and I didn’t go. From what I have been told ever since, it was the show of the year.



Maiden Newton works because of its little known but big significance it played during the war and its build up to D-Day. The village was a Stop Line – it was meant to hold back the might of the German Army Group B that would of landed along the Dorset coast. The Stop Line was designed to funnel men and armour in to a killing ground and still has over 100 tanks traps in place, Spigot mortar pits. It also had guns that where to fire down on to the Dorset beaches at the invasion. ( it is like Normandy but in reverse). It was home to the 3225th Quartermaster Service Company. POW camps were in the area, Pillboxes are still in place and railway station became a rail head for the build of suppliers for D-Day. Again the list goes one and but it is safe to say that this a very historic place.



Here is the point. At their event back in the summer they had Jim Clarks Sherman there so may be they would be open to having another take or two their. I called Ian and ran the idea past him and as fate would have it – they were wanting to have another Maiden Newton at War event again in 2010. Perfect timing. Ian came over to see me and invited me to pitch the concept to executive committee which I done and today we had the green light. So we are going to bolt the two events together.



This would mean that Armour & Embarkation – the tanks are coming, will be a Pathfinder Events - event and Maiden Newton at War is still the villages event. This way we both get the best of both worlds. We get a prime area for our event – historic, relevant, good access and in the heart of historic WW2 Dorset. Maiden Newton get the first ever tank event in the UK! We are all excited by it.


Dorchester was full of armour and soft skins ready to move down to the embarkation ports of Weymouth and Portland. What is known as Top ‘o’ Town in Dorchester was stacked sky high of coffins waiting for the aftermath of the D-Day invasion.

The Sky invasion – just off Portland was the rendezvous point for both airborne divisions of the 82nd and 101st paratroopers. As Victor Swatridge of Dorchester Police noted at 00:15 June 6th – a huge armada of human cargo flying over head. It was clear that the invasion of Europe had commenced, yet the whole population of Dorset was still sleeping ….




19 – 20TH JUNE 2010.



What are we going to do?


There is so much that we can do and we are working on that. In a summary this whole event will revolve around the armour and the armour road run.



Friday– soft skin runs to place of interest (we have so many so will finalise that). We will have a couple of teams in WW2 vehicles that will be at designated points along the convoy route. These guys will being supplying the brew for when we stop. When we move out they will follow on with us whilst the second group are in front setting up for the next brew stop. I want to get the media involved in this from the very beginning so that they will know where we will be and when – we can then get the public involved all along the routes and villages.


Saturday is the historic armour day. Our destination will be the capital town of Dorset which is Dorchester! We will again let the village and public know when we are leaving so that they can witness this historic event, meet us at the stops, the soft skins will be carrying reenactors and as many folks in OD as possible. We need to yet plan the route and we need to work closely with the tanks owners/drivers at this point so that we can get it right. I would like to make the offer of showing the drivers around the route way before the event so that you are happy and willing to put you up for the night if needs be.



We will build in a long stretch of road so that the tankers can open up their tanks to the max. We will arrive in Dorchester. That weekend is carnival weekend so we are hoping that we can attach the column to the back of the procession – I think driving up through thousands of people would be great fun. There some historic pictures of armoured lined up in Dorchester, camo netted up waiting to go down to Weymouth – I would like to see if we could recreate that.



Then we would travel back to the village. Rest and then get ready for nights entertainment (again we may have something rather historic up our sleeve for this).



Sunday is public day where the public come to see the tank and the reenactors with a massive tank battle…..

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