The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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WW2 started with a devastating defeat for the allied armies in Europe. Once Poland, Czechoslovakia, Denmark & Norway were defeated, the German army then attacked, France, Holland and little Belgium. The size of the British Army in France and the low countries was about 390,000 strong (13 Divisions) plus an air component with a large amount of aircraft and men, many unlike the army, spread all over the North & East of France. A transport section supplying the forces with ports on the north and west coasts of France. Then the retreat from Dunkirk (at least 338,000 men of all countries escaped) and also more from ports around the rest of the French coast.

That then left Britain on its own. Most of its best equipment was left in France. Hundreds of fighters & bombers shot down, damaged, etc and ships sunk. Britain was now about to be invaded by an army totally capable of being brought to the south coast of England and advancing to Bristol and London. Once the capital had been captured, then a gradual advance to take the rest of the country and this could have happened. Now why operation Seelöwe did or did not start is not a question for here, but more what Britain did for itself IF operation Seelöwe had begun.

The Defence of Britain.


For information what the Dunkirk operation was like, this is my fathers experiences.
TWHB Drew 1939 War starts - Via Dunkirk - Home 1940

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On the beach

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On the way home.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

Wiki & my Archive

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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The answer to Operation Seelöw was to defend Britain. Plans were drawn up for the whole country to defend its localities. Here to the north of the village of Sturminster Marshall is White Mill and the river bridge over the river Stour. The defence was to stop an enemy being able to cross the bridge coming up from the coast. This was an ideal way to bypass the anti-tank Islands of Blandford Forum and Wimborne Minster and taking an army north to Salisbury.

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Calais area, German landing exercises.

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Calais area landing exercises with a tank.

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Calais area landing exercises. There was also to be a thousands of horses used to draw guns and wagons as the German army were not as mechanised as the British were.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

In a German bunker in Dieppe.

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

Dorset CC 1947

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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The answer to Operation Seelöw was to defend Britain. Plans were drawn up for the whole country to defend its localities. Here to the north of the village of Sturminster Marshall is White Mill and the bridge over the river Stour. The defence was to stop an enemy being able to cross the bridge and advance north.

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

WHC 1994 Sturminster Marshall Village Archive (Ken Hobbs)

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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Part of the plan from Sturminster Marshall´s Village Archive.

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The original Home Guard the LDV.
On 14th May, 1940, the Government broadcast a message asking for volunteers for the LDV (Local Defence Volunteers).

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Home Guard.
On 23rd August, 1940, Winston Churchill changed the name of the LDV to the Home Guard.

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Home Guarde road block.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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The bridge over the Stour with a small pillbox to the left side.

The Norcon pill box.

 

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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The pill box a Norcon variant with about five embrasures and a very small entrance at the rear.

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Norcon pillbox plan.

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Home Guard.

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Le Enfield rifle.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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Norcon variant.
Note the very small entrance. I am not at all sure which way this Norcon should face. To me it should face the village as I would presume an attack would come from the south. But we do not know what the thinking behind this defence as the pill box is just outside the defended area??

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The red square is the defended area and the red dot the pill box.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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About five small embrasures just big enough for a rifle to poke through.
Norcon Pill Box CP/6/40/111 fromSpotters guide to Pill Boxes (Pillbox Study Group).

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Le Enfield rifle.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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The Bridge, a pack bridge with pedestrian refuges both sides.
Norman bridge is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is probably the oldest bridge to cross the River Stour and the oldest bridge in Dorset. In 1341, three shillings were bequeathed for repair of the bridge.

"Any person wilfully damaging any part of this County Bridge will be guilty of Felony and upon conviction liable to be Transported For Life by the court                                                                   T Fooks"

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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There was a a road block of two steels set into holes in the road. It seems the first ones were not strong enough and were replaced by bigger ones. there is a piece of concrete running across the road and just pokes out to the right side. This may be war time, it certainly looks it.

Home Guard road block.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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Repairs in the road also look like square slots. It is said that on frosty days they show up.

Slots in the tarmac.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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White Mill, I cannot see any defence embrasures in and around the mill.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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White Mill and the next road block.

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How it may have looked.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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Roughly where the line in the tarmac is was the road block, this would have needed more sockets than the bridge.

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

1940's

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This is how it could have looked like.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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Up on the corner is the base of a round pill box, its now somebodies garden but 20years ago it was woodland.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

13 October 2003

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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The round base of the pill box overlooking the road junction.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

21 June 2008

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A round pill box at Morton, Dorset. This is what it could have looked like.
Part of the River Frome Defence Line Wareham to Dorchester Section

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

21 June 2008

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Morton, Dorset inside.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

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Now back up on the Wimborne side where a machine gun post and a row of concrete nti-tank blocks (Cubes) were placed.

Plan.

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Anti-tank 'Cubes' 3ft between cubes.

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Anti-tank 'Cubes'.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

Sturminster Marshall Village Archive

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These are the brave old and very young men that would have defended the bridge with their lives.

The Defence of White Mill Bridge Sturminster Marshal

27 March 2022

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