Hampshire WW2

Southern Railway Works, Eastleigh 1944

I was drawn to this image because of the sense of atmosphere the original portrayed. The low light and resultant slow shutter has blurred the figures and given it the feel of an oil painting, and that has carried over to the colourised version I’ve produced.

Original Caption: “TURKISH RAILWAY DELEGATION VISITS SOUTHERN RAILWAY WORKS: TURKISH GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES INSPECT WORK AT EASTLEIGH, HAMPSHIRE, ENGLAND, UK, 1944 (D 23497) A general view of railway construction at the works of Southern Railway at Eastleigh in Hampshire. Under construction on the left is the locomotive number 914 ‘Eastbourne’.” © IWM D 23497

The steam locomotive in the foreground is known as a SR (Southern Railway) V Schools class, and was designed for intermediate passenger services. More commonly found in a green livery, during the second world war, they were all painted black1.

Locomotive 914 “Eastbourne” (30914) was built in 1932 by the Eastleigh Works and was in service until 19612. During the Second World War, 914 would have played a vital role in helping transporting troops and other personnel around the country.

There are three surviving Schools class locomotives, one of which, 925 “Cheltenham”, is still local and can be found at the Mid-Hants railway.

During the Second World War, the Eastleigh works branched out into other areas of the war effort, producing parts for Blenheim bombers and Horsa gliders.


Hampshire WW2

US Airmen take R&R at Stanbridge Earls, Romsey

Stanbridge Earls is a manor house estate situated in Awbridge just outside of Romsey in Hampshire.

During the Second World War in Europe, the USAAF needed a way to provide R&R to help their crews recover from combat fatigue whilst they were stationed in the UK. It was decided that they should make use of the tranquil British countryside, and set up retreats and rest homes. The first such place was at Stanbridge Earls1.

I’ve picked this image from a series of photographs held in the IWM archives showing life at Stanbridge Earls. It shows two airmen who were usually found as part of the crew of a Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress”. Today they are enjoying fishing on the River Test, on what appears to be the grounds of the manor house, and they look quite at ease.

“Lieutenant J D Baird (standing) and Captain J R Bullock enjoy a spot of trout fishing on the banks of the River Test in Hampshire. Lieutenant Baird is the pilot of a ‘Fort’ (B17 Flying Fortress) from Suring, Wisconsin and Captain Bullock is a B17 navigator from Greensboro, North Carolina. According to the original caption: “These fighters expected trout fishing to bore them, were genuinely surprised and pleased by the enjoyment it gave in spite of little success in the shape of fish.” © IWM D 14524

Aircraft Battle of Britain Hampshire WW2

A German Heinkel He 111 downed over Southampton Water during the Battle of Britain

According to the IWM catalogue, this German Heinkel He 111P of Stab./KG 55 was shot down “over Southampton Water” by RAF Hurricanes of ‘B’ Flight, No. 43 Squadron on 12th July 1940.

“A German Heinkel He 111P bomber of Stab/KG 55 which crash-landed at Hipley in Hampshire on 12 July 1940. It was shot down by Hurricanes of ‘B’ Flight, No. 43 Squadron over Southampton Water.” © IWM HU 90819

The aircraft is pictured here having apparently crash landed in a field near the Hamlet of Hipley, Hampshire. It’s unclear what the fate of the crew was, but the plane is riddled with .303 bullet holes from the Hurricanes.

Loose wreckage from the aircraft appears to have been collected into piles near the front of the aircraft, so one might guess that the photograph was taken a little while after the crash.