Fort Henry Studland
Middle Beach car park | Studland | Dorset | BH19 3AX | www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Fort Henry was constructed in 1943 by Canadian Royal Engineers as a purpose built observation post. Named after their base in Ontario, it is over 90 feet in length, having a recessed and ridged aperture, fronting a void within a solid block of three foot thick solid concrete walls, floor and ceiling. It was at the time the largest and strongest observation post to be built in Britain. In the spring of 1944 it was considered the ideal place for VIPs to witness in perfect safety a full rehearsal of the Normandy landings.
In April 1944 Prime Minister Winston Churchill, King George VI, American General Eisenhower (Allied Supreme Commander), and the British General Montgomery (in charge of land forces for the invasion), watched the combined power of the Allied Forces preparing for D-Day. They witnessed a rocket bombardment of the beach by battleships and fighter planes followed by thousands of infantry coming ashore aboard landing craft, some specially fitted to fire rockets. Codenamed Exercise Smash, this was the largest live ammunition exercise of the whole war.