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DDay & Dorset


DDAY & DORSET


This is a special exhibition in the Museum to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of D-Day on 6th June.

The history of the D-Day landings is quite well known but the Museum exhibition concentrates on the little told parts played in OPERATION OVERLORD by the Royal Signals and the County of Dorset in which the Museum is located.


 

WEYMOUTH


A Humber armoured car has been launched from an LCT to wade ashore onto Weymouth Beach during waterproofing trials in December 1943.

American and British troops rehearsed their battle drills in various parts of Southern England. Specifically,5th US Corps were stationed in many parts of Dorset from where they launched their invasion.

In preparation for the landings there was a comprehensive deception plan in which Royal Signals were deeply involved.

 

 

THE DECEPTION PLAN



Deception was an essential element in the Normandy invasion. OPERATION FORTITUDE was intended Weymouth Op Fortitudeto deceive the enemy into believing that the massive Allied attack would be launched  across the narrow straits of Dover in the Pas de Calais Area.

The allied bombers struck the area repeatedly and many dummy military armaments were deployed in South-East England. Dummygliders were dispersed on Kentish Airfields and wooden imitation landing craft were moored on the River Thames. These helped to deceive the enemy reconnaissance planes.

A vast volume of fake wireless traffic representing troop movements was transmitted from vans travelling around the Home Counties. Equipment was specially designed to make it appear that there were twice as many wireless sets in the area. The illusion was to convince Hitler that the US 3rd Army was in the area when in reality it was 150 miles away in Cheshire.

FORTITUDE was so successful that it kept valuable German armour and infantry tied up in the Pas de Calais area until several weeks after D-Day. Hitler was convinced that OVERLORD was the deception plan and the real attack would follow later.

Find out how the Royal Signallers of the highly secret 5 Wireless Group deceived the German Army using Playback Wire Recorders and the Number 19 Set.

 

PEGASUS BRIDGE, 6th AIRBOURNE DIVISION

Weymouth Op Fortitude


Members of the Division at TARRANT RUSHTON Airfield Near

Blandford, in front of their Hamilcar glider. They were amongst the first troops to land in France early in the morning of 6th June 1944.

AirborneSignallers played a critical part in the taking of Pegasus Bridge. Find out how Corporal Waters earned his Military Medal by laying a vital line link across the bridge under enemy fire.
 

ROYAL SIGNALS LINEMAN


Royal Signals Linemen using existing poles in Caen shortly after D-Day. Lines and Cables were used extensively throughout the Allied advance into Europe often taking advantage of German and civilian facilities that had been abandoned.

The Museum displays also comprises interactive videos and photographic displays of Dorset,D-Day and beyond.

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