AVAS members may have seen the news late last year that the New Forest National Park Authority has been awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project on World War II. The project is entitled ‘New Forest remembers – untold stories of World War II’.
AVAS has been contacted by Stephen Fisher of Maritime Archaeology Ltd, the company tasked with compiling a database of known Second World War remains in and around the National Park. He is asking for anyone with knowledge of such remains to get in touch and contribute to the project. His full request is copied below. If you think you can help, you can contact Stephen directly on 02380 237200, or contact one of the AVAS committe, or use the ‘Contact Us‘ page on this website.
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide; below is the full request from Stephen Fisher:
The New Forest National Park Authority has received Heritage Lottery Funding to highlight and record the extensive Second World War history of the New Forest. As well as recording the memories of veterans and cataloguing the extensive archives of photographs and videos from the period, the project will also carry out essential archaeological surveying and excavation at many of the historic sites around the National Park.Maritime Archaeology Ltd. based in Southampton has been commissioned to complete the Desk Based Assessment for the project and compile a complete database of all known Second World War remains within and around the national park. These range from well-known structures such as airfields and aerodromes or requisitioned houses, to less well known sites such as bunkers hidden in the undergrowth alongside railway lines, bomb craters and even the site of mobile anti-aircraft guns, where little to no evidence may remain on the ground. By the end of the project, this database will become a fully interactive and accessible map of all Second World War sites within the New Forest, hosted on the National Park Authority’s website and capable of being updated as and when new information becomes available. The database will also be used to update national historic databases, such as English Heritage’s National Record of the Historic Environment.At present I’m compiling the database using existing historic environment records and datasets from previous surveys carried out in the area. Very soon though, I’ll be looking to add to this data with the knowledge and experience of local groups such as yourselves. Many local history societies retain a wealth of knowledge that has not yet passed into wider databases, and this is an excellent opportunity to ensure that as much information as possible is contained within the final database and that specialist knowledge is not lost with the passage of time.If you are interested in contributing to the project, please let me know so that, when the database is ready, I can make it available to you. I envisage that people will be able to input any records or sites in the forest with which they are acquainted directly into the database via the internet, and we hope that this will make it easier to pass your information on. If however, this is not a feasible way for you to do it, please let me know and we can work out another method.