WW2 New Forest graves - why were they needed?

New Forest graves at St nicholas Church Brockenhurst

St Nicholas' Church Brockenhurst

New Forest WW2 graves at Brockenhurst

WW2 New Forest Graves

WW2 New Forest graves were seen by the government at the time to be absolutely vital.

As well as seeking to protect and provide a safe home for the living, the government also had to realistically address the outcome of a sustained bomb attack on the New Forest.

The New Forest was successfully hiding thousands of troops who were being trained and billeted for a sustained attack on mainland Europe to repel the ever increasing threat from Hitler.

If there were successful poison gas attacks by the enemy then mass graves would be needed.

7,800 grave spaces were found and 10 churches in the area were prepared to use their buildings as mortuaries. Luckily, these measures were not needed for civilians.

However, churchyards were used extensively for war time casualities from the services. Airmen in particular suffered heavy casualties, often daily.

St Nicholas' Church Brockenhurst

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Brockenhurst, Boldre and Bransgore churchyards all have memorials to these fallen men. Although many of these casualties were the result of active combat some unfortunately were caused on take off or landing. These were still attributed to "killed in action" but what a horrible irony to die in this way?

When we see old films of the airmen during WW2 it all seems quite exciting but I don't think we ever get the full picture of just how much danger these brave men were putting themselves through each time they flew their aircraft.

New Forest WW2 Poster


As you will have seen if you have visited my New Forest Airfields page these airfields were quite close to each other and collisions were inevitable. According to John Leete and his wonderful book The New Forest at War, from which much of my information has come.

Sometimes an aircraft was simply ploughed into the ground where it landed, as the damage and impact was so extensive on touch down.

Today we tend to forget this and it is only if we encounter an airmen and are lucky enough to hear of their wartime exploits do we really have any idea what it was like to live and work in the New Forest during this time.

It really is no surprise that the government were trying so hard to find land for those unlucky enough to lose their lives during World War Two.

Traffic Speed

A other reason WW2 New Forest graves were needed was because of road traffic accidents!Traffic speed - nothing really changes does it?

Today I find myself going around the New Forest and becoming ensensed by the speed of some drivers.I feel very protective of the animals and feel it is their habitat and that we should respect it and drive slowly and with care.

New Forest WW2 Gas Mask

It was only when I was researching the impact of World War Two on the New Forest that I realised, in fact nothing has really changed!

Speed was a huge issue during WW2 and I can imagine there were some pretty nasty accidents both to humans and animals on the roads and off during this time.

Apparently the army had a tendency to ignore the civilian speed laws as they had their own set of rules and regulations, although notes were passed to drivers regarding speed. Whether they were implemented or not is a matter of conjecture as no real records have been kept.

No wonder there was such a need for WW2 New Forest graves!

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New Forest Canadian War Memorial Cross

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