This is the last post of the many Museums and Historical sites that I was lucky enough to visit on my recent holiday to Dorset. Fort Henry is a secluded and very poorly signposted National Trust property overlooking Studland Bay near Swanage. It has a huge historical significance because it was here that the final 'live fire' exercises were conducted in preperation for the D-Day landings in Normandy. A full scale mock invasion was conducted on the beach across the bay and Fort Henry was an excellent observation position for the organisers and dignatories to watch the unfolding operation.
Indeed the greatest figures in goverment and the military were gathered here for the test just six weeks before D-Day and included Winston Churchill, King George VI, the Supreme Allied commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery and Acting Admiral Louis Mountbatten.
|The view from the Fort is clear acorss the bay towards the beaches upon which the mock invasion would take place.|
|Inside there are four compartments allowing a relatively safe position from which to watch the live fire exercise|
|The structure is massive and of course built from reinforced concrete.|
|A view of one of the blast partitions seperating the four sections of the bunker from each other.|
|A memorial to the six Valentine Crewmen that lost their lives during this Exercise.|
This site is incredibly hard to find. There are no road signs indicating its presence and no signage even in the nearest car park just 250 yards away. I only found it because I had seen pictures of it before and had a reasonable idea where it should have been sighted. I then left the car and headed in what I hoped was the right direction, finally finding one small stome marker on a footpath indicating the fort was ahead. This meant that I had the site to myself and could happily get some great pictures without other people in the way but its a terrible waste of what should be a much better celebrated site, especially given its illustrious combo of visiors during the Exercise.
If you want to visit Fort Henry you need to park in the South Beach Car Park and walk south (right when looking out to sea) until you find a waymarked coast path. Fort henry is just a few hundred metres along this route at OS Map ref SZ037828.