United Kingdom / Battlefield
Camps C18, C19, C20 & C21, Southampton Common were positioned around the northern end of the common. The marshalling areas were prepared for the arrival of Allied troops who would embark for Operation Overlord in June 1944. Southampton Common, where the four camps were located, is accessible to members of the public.
The camps which formed the marshalling area around Portsmouth and Southampton were intended to conceal the troops that would participate in Operation Overlord. From here they would eventually move on to embarkation points along the coastline in the Southampton area.
The camps could accommodate around 8,500 men and 1000 vehicles. The men camped out under canvass and had access to kitchen and ablution facilities. The camps also enabled the men to keep training as they prepared for the liberation of Europe.
Camps were usually built in covered areas, such as woodland, to prevent opposition observations from above and reduce the risk of being observed by the public. When the time for embarkation for Operation Overlord drew nearer, the Marshalling Camps were sealed and guarded. This happened at the end of May 1944.
Men of the 1st Special Service Brigade camped here prior to embarkation at Warsash. These Commandos they later landed on Sword Beach, Normandy. A sad incident took place on the common prior to D-Day. This involved the Reverend Derrick Williams, who took his own life, according to Lord Lovat Simon Fraser, following a poor sermon. He is buried at Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton.
Burgess Road, SO16 7AP