AI NO DERRIDA

Friday, 1 April 2016

Tyneham Village


On the 19th of December 1943 225 people from 102 properties were evacuated from the Dorset village of Tyneham. The decision was taken by Churchill's War Office which was in need of a training area for troops to prepare for DDay.
In order to give our troops the fullest opportunity to perfect their training in the use of modern weapons of war, the Army must have an area of land particularly suited to their special needs and in which they can use live shells. For this reason you will realise the chosen area must be cleared of all civilians.

The most careful search has been made to find an area suitable for the army's purpose and which, at the same time, will involve the smallest number of persons and property. The area decided on, after the most careful study and consultation between all the Government Authorities concerned, lies roughly inside of the square formed by EAST LULWORTH EAST STOKE EAST HOLME KIMMERIDGE BAY.

It is regretted that, in the National Interest, it is necessary to move you from your homes, and everything possible will be done to help you, both by payment of compensation, and by finding other accommodation for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
The date on which the military will take over this area is the 19th December next, and all civilians must be out of the area by that date.
Southern Command 16/11/1943
The residents of the village always expected to return after the war but sadly never did. This was due to the location of the village within the firing range/training area The Lulworth range.Which is still used by the army to this day.
So its on a sunny but slightly cold day in March that I find myself driving along a very steep and narrow road/track through the Army's Lulworth Range trying to find Tyneham village. To get to Tyneham you must take the A351 road to Swanage, just past Wareham make a right down Grange Rd and then follow the signs for Tyneham, but be warned it can get a bit bumpy and quite steep on the approach to Tyneham. Once there the car park is only £2 and is quite spacious.
On the day I was there the ground was very muddy with some very large puddles so keep some boots in the car, just in case. As you wander around and drift in and out of the deserted houses you really do get a sense of sadness at what was once a very busy but now lost village. In most of the buildings there are storyboards explaining who lived in each building, and how long they had lived there. The storyboards do add to the feeling of loss for these people/families that had lived there for over 200 years. That said it is not all doom and gloom. There are very heartwarming stories as well; like the excitement in 1929 about the arrival of the Telephone box. Up to then the only phone in the village was in the back room of the Post Office which had been installed in the 1st World War. "According to folklore Tyneham has many ghosts. More than one person has claimed to hear the old telephone in the phonebox ringing". Another lovely story is that of the stage that was constructed in the Tyneham village barn so that plays and pantomimes could be put on for the villagers. As time went by the shows and gatherings were so successful that people would come from as faraway as Wareham and Swanage to watch these shows. Sadly this all stopped in 1914 after the outbreak of the 1st World War.

Deep in the woods is The old 16th centruy Tyneham Manor House, this is not accessible to the public. The house slowly fell into disrepair many years ago due to bad construction, weather, vandals and ricocheting bullets. There really is so much to take in as you stroll round the village and surrounding woods, I will certainly be heading that way again in the summer. I should say that if you do decide to visit then check the opening times on the Tyneham website. As the village is only open at certain times of the year, due to the Army blowing things up on the near by range.

2 comments:

  1. I've been. It's very good. Quite surreal driving past the fields of "dead" tanks on the way up, let alone the village its self.

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  2. There is also a lot of old and new shrapnel on display. A reminder that the army are still there. Hoping to go back over the summer.

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