Invasion – D Day
Southampton had a vital role in the WWII D Day preparations with two thirds of the initial British Assault Force leaving from here.
Southampton became Military Area C with the town, in effect, sealed off to civilians.
The trees on either side of the Avenue were allowed to grow over forming a tunnel to hide the road from the air. Many of those trees were lost to the Dutch Elm outbreak in the 1970’s.
The Mulberry Harbour which played a pivotal part in Operation Overlord was built here in Southampton. In the King George V Graving Dock some of the outer protecting bombardons were assembled. The whole unit was towed by some 200 tugs to Arramanches where some parts still remain. The Pipe Line Under The Ocean (P.L.U.T.O.) was also constructed in Southampton. It provided a supply of oil to our forces. The team of engineers responsible was based in the bombed out Spitfire works in Woolston.
Opposite the Arcades on the Western Esplanade you can find a very ordinary looking piece of brick wall. At a closer look it is full of graffiti.
It is said that while waiting to embark for the Invasion D-Day, American service personnel stationed in Southampton, scratched their names into the brick work.