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Pembroke Lodge



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Now a wedding venue and tearoom, Pembroke Lodge situated in Richmond Park, was once the headquarters of the General Headquarters Liaison Regiment, also known as ‘Phantom’. This special reconnaissance unit took part in both Operation Overlord and Operation Market Garden.

Conveniently located just 4.8 kilometres from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in Bushy Park, Pembroke Lodge was the home to the General Headquarters Liaison Regiment, otherwise known as ‘Phantom’. Phantom were a special reconnaissance unit tasked with gathering intelligence on the position of Allied units during Operation Overlord, reporting back to headquarters using wireless communication. Phantom recruited highly skilled individuals, especially those with proficiency in languages and communications given the nature of the work, including renowned actor David Niven.  

During Operation Market Garden, a Phantom Unit was responsible for ensuring communications between Allied troops at Arnhem and HQ, working alongside 30 corps. Each squadron were equipped with motorcycles, Jeeps and communications equipment to enable them to provide vital real-time information on the positions and status of Allied troops, work which led to the awarding of two military crosses for exemplary acts of gallantry in the operation. 

A palatial residence throughout the nineteenth century, Pembroke Lodge did undergo some minor alteration during its time as the Phantom headquarters, but altogether retained its original charm being well-situated in the picturesque Richmond Park. The park itself was an excellent location for somewhat inconspicuous training and vehicle movements, but still close enough to central London. Tanks and military vehicles could be seen traversing the grassy banks in the park in preparation for operations in Europe. The Hearsum Collection, held at the Lodge, contains some artefacts and photographs of this important part of its history.

Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, Richmond, Surrey