Beaulieu Aerodrome
  Stories about World War 2 by John Lewis
Dummy runway
My Uncle Les who was born in Norley Wood and when married moved a mile to East End told me a story from the 2nd world war.

If you parked at Crockford (between Portmore and Hatchet Pond) and then walk along the stream going with the flow towards East End you will see lumps of concrete around the stream area totally out of character to the area. My uncle told me that as a young boy during the war he went there and the government had installed the concrete blocks and then installed lights on them, they then built a dam to flood the area.

It turned out that this was a dummy runway to mimic the Beaulieu Aerodrome runway so that if Germany bombed the aerodrome with any luck the bombs would fall on open forest and not the runway. Being less than a mile away it's easy to see that the concept of this simple idea might have just worked in the dark.
B-26 Marauder at RAF Beaulieu

RAF Beaulieu  
During the Second World War many airfields were built across the south of England. The New Forest had 12 airfields and Beaulieu was one of the largest.

RAF Beaulieu opened in 1942 and played its part in the Battle for the Atlantic with both RAF and later Czech squadrons stationed here. It had several roles including a coastal command centre, a D-Day fighter base and searching out U-boats to protect vital supply convoys.

In early 1944 the RAF flew Typhoons from here; from March to August the United States Army Air Force flew Thunderbolt fighters and Marauder bombers including missions supporting the battle for Normandy.

From late 1944 to 1950 the site was used by the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment to test parachutes, gliders and early types of helicopter.

At its height there were three runways, two hangars, ammunition dumps, tens of accommodation blocks and even a cinema and a gym.

The site was returned to the Forestry Commission in 1959. Many concrete roads and hard standings still remain as does the original water tower now used by Roundhill Campsite. Information source: The Forestry Commission Memorial Panel

Beaulieu Airfield, 4 March 1944
map  Wikipedia
 
Bullet in a tree
When I was in my mid teens my father was asked if he would take a large elm tree down in Newtown house grounds which he did. I was helping him split down the timber to manageable size when I found a bullet embedded in the center of the trunk. This bullet was copper coated 15mm diameter.

Many years later I took my son to a cricket match at Pylewell Park. While sitting with the other parents one of them was saying that his father in law as a young lad during the 2nd world war had lived at Lyle Court (which was at the end of Lymington Airdrome runway.) One day a German fighter strafed the runway. He started to firing from the foreshore and bullets ran up the garden each side of him as he ran for cover.

I told him how interesting this was, as I had found one of the bullets at the end of the fighters run, when it must of either turned or was strafing Newtown house (the house was used by the military during the war as most of the large country houses were around here).
O/S 1947
Focke Wulf 190