In May 1940, the RAF were operating and further developing radar at their newly established base in Worth Matravers. It was known as the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) in November 1940 – and was situated 4 miles west of Swanage.
*This was part of the technical infrastructure which led up to the preparations for D-Day
It is agreed by basically all – that the most significant developments in radar – were developed at Worth Matravers, 2 miles from Swanage. But after 2 years of phenomenal and frantic work – it was believed unsafe to stay there any more – as the Germans had reached the coast of Northern France. It was feared that there would be raids – radar equipment captured – and bombings from being detected – and this caused an immediate and urgent need to move back from the coast to a safer and far less obvious area. Thus the whole elaborate TRE establishment – with so many very best young scientists fresh from universities – alongside older and very experienced scientists – at Worth Matravers and the surrounding areas – felt that they had no other choice – but to move from the absolutely beautiful, idyllic small town and surrounding areas of Swanage. The Germans arrival at the North Coast of France was very rapid – approximately one day – from breaking through the Maginot Line. Absolutely striking rapid advance – which took everybody by complete surprise. It was then immediately agreed that the whole intricate and elaborate by then complex establishment – should immediately move to Malvern in Worcestershire England. Later of course – this idyllic area of Swanage and its surrounds – would be occupied by many from the American 1st Infantry Division – who had come over from fierce fighting in Sicily and Italy – arriving in November 1943 – battle hardened and being prepared for their next destination – completely unknown to them at the time of course – The Normandy Landings.
I will be going into this – in very extensive and intricate detail – focusing especially upon the times in Swanage and the surrounding areas, Dorset.
If one visits Swanage today – it is just such a peaceful calm and idyllic place with beautiful high rugged hills where one can look over a vast area of the English Channel – the peacefulness and natural beauty – are such that one could never imagine – that this was vast military base – right across the county – with a purpose so great – that of the liberation of Europe from tyranny.