Verwood UK - Heritage Centre
Kings Soldiers

Verwood Museum Trust - Dorset UK. (Registered Charity No. 1067952)


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   Soldiers of the King.  

(A selection of stories, paraphrased from 'Verwood at War' presented by members of the Verwood Evening Womens' Institute in 1984)

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From quite early in the war there were soldiers in the village. They were expected in October, 1939, and the Womens' Institute could not hold their meeting there that month "the hall having been commandeered for the soldiers who did not come.'

Soldiers returning from Dunkirk came through the village, the old village hall being used as a canteen for them.

The arrival of the Americans made a great impact. Literally, in the case of one boy, who was knocked over by a U.S. Army truck in Manor Road . The corporal concerned was based at West Moors and billeted in The Albion.

Negro soldiers are remembered as having had wonderful voices and singing beautifully in church.

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When the Second Searchlight Regiment, Royal Artillery, was reformed after Dunkirk, it was posted to Dorset and Hampshire. Regimental Headquarters and the Regimental Training School were located in Cranborne, the former in Boveridge House.

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A U.S. field hospital was set up at Kingston Lacy Park. It was extensive, with huts in the parkland. British troops were billeted in the town early in the war, including the 10th Hussars of the 1st Armoured Division. After Dunkirk , two infantry regiments were based in the area. There was a searchlight unit in Cowgrove and an anti-aircraft gun emplacement in front of 55 West Borough. A large Italian POW camp was set up near Tollard Royal.

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41st and 45th Anti-Tank Regiments, Royal Artillery, were stationed here in 1940 and pre D-Day there were many troops and much equipment hidden in the forest. The West Moors petrol depot was the most important military unit in the area, while the sand-pits at Stephen's Castle were quarried to build the Mulberry Harbours.



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