These photographs were taken months ago, when we walked on Lepe Beach on the southern shore of the New Forest in Hampshire. The beach is peaceful now. A nature reserve with wonderful views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and across the entrance of Southampton Water to the coast from Warsash to Portsmouth Harbour in the east.
Seventy years ago yesterday, on 6th June 1944, the Allied Forces began Operation Overlord, their assault on Nazi German occupied France. A huge water borne force travelled from the south coast of England to the Bay of the Sienne in Normandy, where the landed troops fought to free occupied Europe from tyranny.
Lepe Beach was just one of numerous points along the coast from which the D Day Forces embarked on their hazardous journey across the English Channel. The eastern end of the beach is littered with the remains of buildings, pontoons and the bases from which the floating Mulberry Harbours were launched on their journeys to provide landing pontoons at Arromanches in Normandy.
There are also the remains of the old pipelines of Operation Pluto, which provided undersea pipelines for oil to reach the Isle of Wight and later, Normandy itself.
Seventy years ago today, these waters would have been thronged with vessels taking men and supplies to Normandy. The beach would have been a hive of activity and, for many of the fighting men who would die in action, the last of England.