SHAEF HQ, Norfolk House

Much of the planning for D-Day took place at Norfolk House, a large building on St James’ Square in central London.

In March 1943, Lieutenant General Frederick Morgan was appointed to the role of COSSAC (Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander). No-one had yet been chosen as Supreme Allied Commander (that winter, the role would go to General Dwight D. Eisenhower). Morgan had the task of creating the initial plans for D-Day. He and his Anglo-American staff were based at Norfolk House. The staff sorted through the mass of information already gathered by Allied intelligence, such as by the Inter-Services Topographical Department (ISTD) at Oxford, and put a plan together. They chose Normandy as the most suitable landing site, and began to develop other aspects of the D-Day operation.

In January 1944, Eisenhower arrived in the UK to assume his post as Supreme Allied Commander, along with General Sir Bernard Montgomery, the Allied land forces commander. Eisenhower was based at Norfolk House for his first months in his new role. He was already familiar with the building, having planned the 1942 North Africa landings (Operation Torch) while based there two years before. The headquarters of Canadian First Army was also located there. During the first months of 1944, the newly appointed commanders examined the COSSAC plan and made convincing arguments that the size of the landing force needed to be extended. By the start of April 1944, the main part of SHAEF headquarters moved to a new site at Bushy Park, on the western outskirts of London.

Source: David Chandler & James Collins (eds.), D-Day Encyclopaedia (Simon & Schuster, 1994)

AddressSt. James's Square, St. James's, London SW1Y, UK
CountyLondon
Location typeHeadquarters Site
AccessPrivate
Site Ownership and Access Information​Norfolk House is used for offices today. There are two plaques on the exterior of the building commemorating its wartime use.
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