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John Jolliffe – Author and administrator of this website

See also ~

http://www.thedorsetcoast.com

https://www.johnjolliffe.quest

https://www.facebook.com/john.jolliffe

Churchill and Montgomery
US troops – Weymouth seafront

* D-DAY-DORSET WILL BE HAVING A MAJOR UPGRADE, with a separate additional site, with significant new content.

WILL BE READY July 19, 2022

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY / VETERANS DAY/D-DAY  REMEMBRANCE ~ events in Dorset, are published on the page ‘DORSET JOURNAL’

on this website

(see menu – at the top of this page).

A close relative of mine – told me of his dramatic experiences as a child that took place some time before D-Day, including that of telling me about his later earnest heartfelt modest contribution to the troops, handing out water supplies, as they were making their way to their vast numbers of assault crafts on the quaysides, preparing for D-Day.

A fair number of those troops  – around 30 or more – had been billeted on the upper floors of their rather grand and spacious abode – where he had lived as a child in Weymouth, not far from the coast. The presence of the troops there may well have been the very reason why it was strafed, and then destroyed by bombing.

He was telling me this for the first time – while we were sitting having a meal in the restaurant area of a public house in Poundbury in Dorchester, so very, very many years later.

The details that he in fact told me of – about when he was a child of seven years old (and I might add that for a moment it looked like in his face that he was imagining that he was back there in that very time, and where I could detect the occasional alarmed tone make an appearance in his story), ~ anyway as I was saying – the details that he told me – were that they were at home living on the lower-ground floor (having windows looking out over the gardens, with the troops living on the upper floors), when all of a sudden there was this huge roaring sound (which much later he realised was that of a line of fighter-bomber aircraft flying very low overhead), ~ and the sudden roaring was simultaneously  accompanied by lines of machine gun bullets whizzing literally just inches over his head. Later it could be seen that there was also a line of bullet holes along the wall – right over and just above where his baby brother had been sleeping in his cot. The machine gun firing was then followed by some massive bombs which destroyed almost all of the building. Quite amazingly and almost miraculously, he and his little brother were completely untouched, but unfortunately though, four wardens who had happened to be upstairs on the first floor at the time, were all killed outright.

The US troops themselves had in fact left very much earlier that day to go on exercises.

So, that was my close relative’s dramatic, and very personal introduction to the actual stark realities of  World War II.

He, his little brother and his mother, then had to seek somewhere else to live – and my mother and my older brother were also seeking secure accommodation at that time – and as two families together – they fortunately managed to rent a house in Westbourne, Bournemouth ~ where they stayed till the end of the war.

I myself had not yet been born ~ and our fathers ~ at that particular moment in time ~ were engaged in military training exercises elsewhere in the country.

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ARTICLES – see details of THE AMERICAN 1st INFANTRY DIVISION – based in Dorset in the massive build up to D-Day – in the section ‘ARTICLES’
(the Americans were a very major presence in Dorset – with more than 2,000,000 troops from the US registering in Bournemouth – primarily at The Royal Bath Hotel & The Carlton Hotel).

PART OF THE FORMING STORY OF THIS WEBSITE

*As well as the themes about Swanage and the surrounding areas – which had had such an amazing role to play in the preparations leading up to D-Day – I’m also developing a further interesting picture – about the wide ranging activities regarding the continuing and most significant developments (as I see them) of radar, based around Worth Matravers, ahead of D-Day.

These developments at Worth Matravers played a very major role in the ultimate success that was to be eventually brought about in World War II.

*As well as seen in the descriptions above – this will be accompanied by some personal – and extremely moving true stories that have never been told before – of both men and women who had devoted and dedicated their lives to this cause.

Many thanks for reading, John Jolliffe.

 

INTERVIEWS: In terms of interviewing people regarding their stories – I will sometimes be accompanied by an extremely well-informed and knowledgeable co-interviewer (described in the team above), who is an ex-serviceman. He was also witness as a child to many events, including air attacks and dogfights over Bournemouth during World War II. Later – as stated above – he was promoted to the position of Alderman (next in status to the Mayor) for Bournemouth Borough Council.  *It is not commonly known – that Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth – were subject to very many serious and dramatic air attacks during the war – which included the strafing of the streets with people fleeing for their lives, and the bombing of large numbers of properties. On one particular raid, approximately 4000 properties were damaged in Bournemouth alone – with very many deaths. There were also a few significant raids at Swanage.

*One especially very notable and major attack on Bournemouth has been thoroughly documented in the most incredible detail by my co-interviewer – details about this will be relayed on this site during 2020.

I also have 3 separate stories told to me for the very first time by people regarding their parents on that day – in all cases very narrowly missing being killed, though not all were without injuries – that in some cases stayed with them for the rest of their lives.

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*Viewpoint – overlooking Poole Harbour – is where I often go on a Sunday around 2 PM.

If you want to chat about anything – this is a good place in which to do it.

MY GREY JEEP WRANGLER CAN BE SEEN THERE
usually parked under the trees
It has D-DAY-DORSET  written on the back of it.

 

Sunday – October 7, 2018 – Portland. Me with the US 29th Infantry Division (Blue and Gray Division) – (re-enactment  volunteers from Dorset)

The 29th Infantry Division is an Army National Guard – with their headquarters at Fort Belvoir, in Virginia. Their history – along with The US 1st Infantry Division – was that of being the troops that stormed Omaha Beach, Normandy, France – on the early morning of June 6th, 1944 – the very moment of D-Day itself. 

They embarked from Portland, and adjacent Quays at Weymouth, in Dorset.

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In the following video, I find this true story of Charles Shay very moving.

He was a combat medic in The 16th Regiment of The US 1st Infantry Division.

The 16th Regiment were based in and around Swanage, Dorset.

PVT CHARLES N. SHAY – US 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION – MEDIC – OMAHA BEACH https://youtu.be/Hncn2jYpRf8

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As well as the American, British, Canadian troops, and the Australian Air Force, and with the French & Polish – contribution to D-Day;  we had all the Commonwealth soldiers that also gave their service and so many of their lives – so that Europe could be free.

Britain borrowed $120,000,000,000 in 1945, to fund this and it took 61 years for the British taxpayers to repay this absolutely phenomenal sum.

I HAVE BEEN FOR SOME TIME NOW RESEARCHING SOME OF THE HISTORY OF D-DAY DORSET, UNITED KINGDOM – and of the preparations that took place in this county. I’m relating it to the modern day boundary of Dorset. The border was expanded further to the East in 1974, which now includes Bournemouth & Christchurch. My focus here is primarily on the area of South Dorset (see map below), in regard to the activities and personal experiences of those concerned. This also includes the work that took place regarding some of the most significant developments in radar – in and around the area of Worth Matravers, 2 miles from Swanage, from May 1940 to May 1942, whereupon TRE moved to Malvern for safety. Radar in many ways – was one of the game changers that brought about success in the war. I am looking into some of the stories of the spirit and courage therein those times regarding the troops, and of the goodwill of the population in amongst which these troops were stationed, and also of course, the following great courage, but also the sadness and trauma, involved during those early days of the invasion, which was the start of The Second Front – which we all know of course – ultimately succeeded in its great task.

Many of the US 1st Infantry Division were stationed in Swanage, and various surrounding areas, from November 1943 – having come from carrying out amphibious landings at Sicily, and then Italy.

One of their training grounds whilst in South Dorset was what could now be described as the ‘The Lost Village of Tyeneham’. This village has been preserved – and has just stood still in time – today like a ghost village – just exactly as it was – nothing has changed – from when the very last person had to leave on December 17, 1943. It is so sad – that the villagers lost their village – they they and their forefathers had lived in for generations. But there was a great purpose at hand – and I hope it doesn’t seem disrespectful to the villagers – but even sadder for the troops of the US 1st Infantry Division – who were then – because of their experience in invading Sicily and Italy – were now given the task of playing their role in the Normandy Invasion – and in their case – destined for the infamous landing at Omaha Beach.

DORSET is just partially West of central South England – it played a very major role in the preparations for D-Day – with the main embarkation points on June 6, 1944 from Poole in Dorset and also Portland & Weymouth in Dorset (Portland & Weymouth being contiguous with each other) – Poole & Weymouth-Portland, being the 2 main embarkation areas.

These and other embarkation points from along the South Coast of England – all landed on the Normandy beaches – 73,000 US, 62,000 British, and 21,000 Canadian forces – with in all just over 156,000 troops and 20,000 vehicles, landing on that day – Tuesday, June 6, 1944 – the day of The Greatest Sea Invasion in the History of the Earth.

This was accomplished by nearly 7000 ships – battleships – destroyers – frigates, and all and every kind of variety of other smaller vessels

14,000 sorties by aircraft

and within 5 days having safely landed 54,000 military vehicles

and by the end of June a million troops had landed in Normandy

nevertheless only 12 miles of land was gained after the first month of bitter, hard and gruelling fighting

and on West side – all was being done by those that had landed at the Omaha and Utah beaches – to make their way to securing Cherbourg Harbour, which would ultimately be needed – as the 2 temporary Mulberry Harbours (one which in fact collapsed on the American side after a number of days of severe stormy weather) would not be enough for all that was needed for this almighty war.

and at this point all around the Normandy area – airfields were to be rapidly being constructed.

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In the UK, Bournemouth International Airport in Dorset – was originally purpose built in World War II for defence along the coast. Radar based in and around the small village of Worth Matravers (where key developments in radar took place) – high up on the Purbeck Hills, 2 miles from Swanage – would alert the Spitfires and other aircraft to incoming intruders – and of the many airfields around for these and other purposes. Hurn airport (which is its original name) – provided a valuable highly efficient, and what was for that time a very modern concrete runway.

Bournemouth is linked as a unitary authority with Poole and Christchurch, and this is by far the largest population grouping in the county (around half the population of Dorset as a whole) – with the rest of the county as the other unitary authority. The county town historically, and to this day remains as Dorchester. Dorchester – is in fact the town that was the location for the 1886 novel – ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ by Thomas Hardy. It was in fact his hometown during his youth.

Bournemouth is where very considerably more than 2,000,000 troops were registered in World War II in the preparations for D-Day – mainly in one five-star hotel as it was then, and another hotel not far away. 1,500,000 American troops alone, were stationed in England by the spring of 1944 – with around 100,000 or so of these – as some estimates go – based in Dorset itself. And in the UK as a whole – these military divisions were stationed as follows: US (20 Divisions), British (14 Divisions) and Canadian (3 Divisions)) – with French and Polish having one Division each.


You will find fairly regular posts of varying everyday general interest in the section ‘Dorset Journal’

… such as WWII military vehicles that occasionally park up at Viewpoint on a Sunday – Viewpoint overlooks Poole Harbour (where a vast array of D-Day assault landing craft left from) – also old pictures of Dorset early 1940s – photos and videos taken in 2018 of The 29th Infantry Division re-enactment – such as Medical and Radio tents and so on… .

*See latest post in Dorset

April 4, 2019

‘ONE OF THE REMAINING ARMY RANGERS TO STORM THE SHORES OF NORMANDY’

https://youtu.be/msYPbjFC50w

the above is a short video – about The Rangers on D-Day – and later back in the US – although – this video doesn’t describe what was in fact the truly awe-inspiring courage of those men on that day… who ran up the beaches and then scaled the vertical cliffs – at dawn on 6 June 1944…

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My interest first began regarding D-Day Dorset – after hearing true stories related to me about the trauma that some soldiers had experienced at that time – who had left from the coast of Dorset.

This led me to discovering further the absolutely phenomenal – almost unbelievable story that it all was – and what an amazing role – and in a number of areas a central role – that Dorset undertook.

This will be seen in my further writings.

*As indicated above – on some Sundays – I can be seen with my grey Jeep Wrangler around 2 PM or later at Viewpoint – in Poole – which of course overlooks the historic Poole Harbour – with its Brownsea Island – and where vast numbers of craft and assault craft (Landing Craft Assault) – around 500 – left in the early hours of Tuesday, June 6, 1944 – to land on the beaches of Normandy.

At Viewpoint, there was also an anti-aircraft gun and searchlight operating, not far from where the kiosk for food and drinks stands now.

Any stories that you have of those you knew – that took part – will be very welcome. As well as stories generally relating to Bournemouth, Poole, Weymouth and other areas of Dorset during World War II.

MY JEEP WRANGLER is easy to spot – is a grey two-door version

It has the D-DAY-DORSET  website link on the back at the top – which is clearly visible

(has indented by the manufacture on part of the dashboard – ‘Jeep from 1941′ – and has absolutely superb off-road capabilities – in accordance with the history of the original Jeep)

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 There were of course absolutely vast preparations for D-Day in the UK as a whole. But this website’s focus is on D-Day in Dorset – with the date of D-Day being Tuesday, June 6, 1944.
This story will also be covering the whole period from September 3, 1939 to May 8, 1945 – which were the dates of the start and finish of World War II in Europe. There have been a vast number of stories, books, videos and films – of this period, of course.

I hope – in this presentation – to present some different angles – and information that has never been ‘out there’ before – information that was personal, or just not communicated for whatever reason. And there were very many reasons for this. All confidentially will be kept where it was required.

So for this story – some of this will be taken from my own perspectives in constructing a particular picture – drawn from what I have read and from the numerous personal stories I have been told. I have been privileged to hear stories and to view journals from that time – provided for me by a number of people – who were in some way or other directly involved, or their relatives were directly involved in the happenings of World War II Dorset. I have received and heard invaluable stories from relatives – whose families made major contributions in multiple ways – regarding the development of radar – and other communication systems – in World War II Dorset, including the preparations for D-Day and the landings at Gold, Sword , Juno, Utah & Omaha Beach. Stories have come from people who lived directly around Poole Harbour – the scene of much activity. Stories have also come from outside of the UK and of course from Dorset e.g. the ports, towns and areas of Bournemouth, Poole, Canford Heath, Wareham, Weymouth, Portland, Lyme Regis and many other places.

I’m asking for people urgently

TO BRING WORLD WAR II STORIES THAT THEY HAVE ABOUT DORSET

this is whether you are from Dorset or elsewhere in the UK – or people from abroad such as the USA and Canada, etc. – whose relatives partook in this epic struggle.

Because of the time that has elapsed, these will now be the children of those served that have the stories.
Some have come over from the USA to see where their parents & relatives were billeted – where they worked as they partook in this epic struggle.

*I have helped where I can with information and locations.

Please see the CONTACT section

No piece of information is too small – even just a comment about a ration book – it all contributes to the picture – and we need this information before it is lost forever.

As I think many people will realise who have been looking into this period – there is an absolutely vast amount of information to be read and seen – about what really happened. What I gather from looking into this – is that the details are almost endless – *yet still so many stories are not known – have never been heard before – this is also something I have found out.

This is partly because of the extreme level of secrecy that was operating during that time. A level of secrecy – that will take one by surprise when one looks into it. So secret – that some things have only recently been found out – that were in fact major factors of the war.

And also partly – that people’s personal experiences – were just as it says – they were personal – and only they knew about them – or the relatives that they told – or where it was noted in journals that a few made.

Many thanks – John Jolliffe – MA, MBC-PG Dip. (UKCP – retired 2014)

As a co-founder of a residential therapeutic community in London – I was an organiser member of the Association of Therapeutic Communities, UK. I studied & learnt from RD Laing, who was originally an army psychiatrist. He developed radical alternative communities for treating disturbance and trauma in the 1960s – about which recently there has been a film made starring David Tennant. Later – these communities rapidly progressed in sophistication – from the early initial experiential versions.

In the latter half of my life – my personal background was in working full-time as a registered contemporary relational analyst for 25 years – this included working with people who had suffered from serious traumas of various sorts. This included a number of ex-military personnel. Thus I have had a particular interest in following the personal struggles of individuals and families – from an existential, and yet also spiritual perspective – with a focus on the significant and underlying issues regarding their various situations and conditions.

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