During the lead up to D-Day, members of the 9th Battalion, Parachute Regiment due to land and capture the Merville Battery in Normandy were sent to Inkpen. An intensive training course was set up in a valley around Inkpen where a mock-up battery was constructed. Whilst on this training course they were put to the test to see if they could capture and destroy the battery, with live ammunition being used on some occasions.
The battery in Inkpen was built within seven days, and troops were immediately sent there to begin conducting their training. Constructed around the battery were pretend minefields and rows of barbed wire plotted around the area.
Security was strict around the area and the troops were kept in at the training zone until they could prove that they were not going to let out any secrets. The battalion’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Otway, made sure this was the case by arranging women from the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) to come to the site, where they would attempt to allure the men into telling them things about what they were doing. Any who failed would not be granted a 48 hour leave pass at the end of their training. Some of the photos below show the actual Merville Battery, i.e. the real target that the paras were training to attack.
|Address||Bell Lane, Hungerford, West Berkshire RG17 9QJ, UK|
|Site Ownership and Access Information||There is a public footpath running south of the site, located just north of a settlement called Combe. The actual location is between Walbury Hill and Red Woods, and is on private land.|
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