(A selection of stories, paraphrased from 'Verwood
at War' presented by members of the Verwood Evening Womens'
Institute in 1984)
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
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
. 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
When the Second Searchlight
Regiment, Royal Artillery, was reformed after
Dunkirk, it was posted to Dorset and Hampshire. Regimental
Headquarters and the
were located in Cranborne, the former in Boveridge House.
field hospital was set up at Kingston
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
, 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.
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