Events & talks

Below you can find details of the latest guest speaker talks and events planned at East Boldre Village Hall. This historic building was built in 1917/18 as part of the Royal Flying Corps training airfield during WW1. It has a stunning stage, large hall, and various rooms including displays about the local airfields.

SATURDAY 6 JUly 2024 (DIBDEN PURLIEU)

Sword Beach: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Forgotten Victory

6th June 1944 saw the largest seaborne assault in human history: D-Day. The landings on the five Normandy beaches, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, will go down in legend as the first footsteps on the journey to end the war in northern Europe.

While much has been written about the operation as a whole, little detailed attention has been paid to the battle for Sword Beach itself, the easternmost of the amphibious attack areas. For the first time, historian and archaeologist Stephen Fisher puts the British landing under the spotlight and using previously unseen research, documents and personal testimonies pieces together the buildup, the day itself and its aftermath in such a way as to uniquely bring the operation to vivid life.

Following a massive air and naval bombardment that began before the sun had even risen, the stage was set for the first of tens of thousands of troops to come ashore on Sword that day. It was to be a day of triumph and tragedy as the Allies pushed forward to the key objective of Caen against German defenders who were, uniquely on D-Day, backed up by an armoured division.

Never before has this campaign been afforded such insightful and detailed scrutiny. Stephen Fisher brings his considerable knowledge and expertise to paint a thrilling picture of how the deep beachhead was established and pays tribute to the heroism and sacrifices that were made on that fateful day.


SATURDAY 3 AUGUST 2024 (DIBDEN PURLIEU)

SOE: The Secret Saboteurs of WW2

Due to popular demand, Peter has agreed to come to Dibden Purlieu to repeat his recent SOE talk. This event will be in the St. Andrew’s Centre.

Peter Power is a member of the UK Special Forces Club and researcher into the Special Operations Executive (SOE). He came to know some SOE agents personally, who have now sadly passed away. In this talk, he explains the role of the SOE, a secret unit tasked by Winston Churchill to “Set Europe Ablaze”. SOE agents demonstrated remarkable courage and resourcefulness in their guerrilla war, resulting in General D Eisenhower saying “they played a very considerable part in our complete and final victory”. This talk will bring back to life the organisation, its obstacles, triumphs, tricks and tragedies.


SATURDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 2024 (DIBDEN PURLIEU)

The Beaulieu River at War

Tickets go on sale to email subscribers in August.

Prior to war the Beaulieu River was a sleepy waterway, but once it was requisitioned by the navy, there was an incredible amount of activity here. Find out how the fear of invasion led to change on the Estate, how it was used to prepare for D-Day including secret tests being conducted on the water, how aspects of the Mulberry Harbour were constructed, and a how the historical Buckler’s Hard had to pivot to include wartime production of vessels, and so much more.


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Previous Events & Talks

2024
  • 14 June (East Boldre): SOE: The Secret Saboteurs of WW2 (Peter Power)
  • 1 June (Dibden Purlieu): The Waterside at War (Marc Heighway)
  • 17 May (East Boldre): The New Forest Auxiliary Units: aka Churchill’s Secret Army (Will Ward)
  • 19 April (East Boldre): Stoney Cross: From Gliders to Lightning Strikes (Simon Daniels)
  • 6 April (Dibden Purlieu): The Logistical Build-Up to D-Day (Chris Barrington Brown)
  • 16 March (East Boldre): The Logistical Build-Up to D-Day (Chris Barrington Brown)
  • 10 March (Dibden Purlieu): Needs Oar Point: A Story Rarely Told (Marc Heighway)
  • 16 February (East Boldre): Needs Oar Point: A Story Rarely Told (Marc Heighway)
  • 19 January (East Boldre): My Flying Boat War (Richard Hodgkinson)

2023
  • 15 December (East Boldre): History of RAF Beaulieu (Marc Heighway)
  • 17 November (East Boldre): The Jutland Survivor in Portsmouth Harbour (Stephen Fisher)
  • 20 October (East Boldre): History of RAF Beaulieu (Marc Heighway)
  • 15 September (East Boldre): Remember the Regulars (Chris Kolonko-Weet)
  • 16 June (East Boldre): An Evening on the Home Front (Dale Johnson, Marc Heighway, Pete Harrod, & John Wareham)
  • 19 May (East Boldre): Building Spitfires Without a Factory (Alan Matlock)
  • 21 April (East Boldre): Southampton: From Blitz to D-Day (Jake Simpkin)
  • 17 March (East Boldre): Calshot: The RNAS Years (Colin van Geffen)
  • 17 February (East Boldre): The Lumberjills: Britain’s Forgotten Army (Joanna Foat)
  • 20 January (East Boldre): Special Operations Executive & The Beaulieu Finishing School (Nick Saunders)
2022
  • 14 October (East Boldre): The Road to Victory: Preparing for D-Day on the South Coast (Stephen Fisher)
  • 2 to the 5 of June (East Boldre): RAF Beaulieu History Exhibition over 3 days