West Walk was used for assembly camps A14 and A15, which had capacity for 3,250 men and 465 vehicles. Camp A14 was in the south west corner of the woods, while A15 was in the north east corner. A number of different units were based at these camps prior to D-Day, including the 1st Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, the Highland Light Infantry of Canada and the North Nova Scottia Highlanders.
Troops were based at many of these camps for weeks or even several months before D-Day. At the end of May, the camps were sealed, meaning that the troops inside were not allowed to leave. This was a step to minimise the risk that enemy spies – or the British public – might realise that D-Day was drawing very near. From 31 May onwards, and according to a highly detailed timetable, troops began to make their way down to the coast and embark onto the ships and landing craft that would take them to Normandy. Vehicles were often loaded earlier, and troops on foot embarked only just before D-Day. Once the troops landing on D-Day itself had left the camps, forces who would be landing on subsequent days took their place, forming a steady stream moving down towards the south coast that in many places continued for months. Later on, some of the camps were reused for other purposes, such as for holding enemy prisoners of war.
|Address||Wickham, Fareham, Hampshire PO17 6JD, UK|
|Location type||Troop Camp|
|Site Ownership and Access Information||West Walk is one of the few surviving parts of the ancient Forest of Bere, and is open to the public.|
|Contact details||See Forestry Commission website|
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