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The twelve makeshift airfields that were scattered around the New Forest played a vital role during the Second World War, especially during the build-up for the D-Day invasion of France, when thousands of sorties were carried out daily. In addition to the RAF, units of American, Canadian, Free French, Polish, Australian and Czech personnel were stationed on these New Forest airfields at one time. There were over 4,000 at Beaulieu alone.
Several of those airfields are marked by individual memorials, but now an elegant large memorial, surmounted by a Dakota propeller, has been unveiled on the edge of the old Holmsley airfield commemorating all those aircrews and local civilians who collectively served on these airfields 60 years ago. Those wartime personnel were involved in training, defence and offensive missions, and with the coming of peace bringing home thousands of prisoners-of-war and Service men and women.
The airfields were sited at Beaulieu, Holmsley, Stoney Cross, Calshot, Lymington, Christchurch, Needs Ore Point, Sway, Hurn, Winkton, Bisterne and Ibsley. Of those just Hurn survives, as Bournemouth International Airport, with little trace of the remainder as the Forest reclaims them.
This is a circular walk of about 4 miles, which should take about 2 hours. The walk surfaces vary from tarmac, firm gravel track to well-worn rough tracks that could take a large wheeled buggy. After a very wet period it could be boggy in parts.
If you want to take your time, enjoy the countryside and watch the ponies there are plenty of places to have a picnic. This is a child and dog friendly area.
Park at the memorial or alternative parking can be found on the approach road to the memorial. You will need a pen and some paper to do some simple maths and to make a note of coordinates.
At the memorial note the Grid Reference (GR) for Christchurch SZ aaa bbb
Take the first number (aaa) and add 259 answer = fff
Take the second number (bbb) and subtract 230 answer = ggg
Next Coordinates = N50° 47.fff W001° 41.ggg
You should now be looking at a plaque with loads of information on it.
Take the number of the RCAF Night Intruder squadron
and add 295 answer = jjj
Take the Canadian Spitfire Wing number at Holmsley
and add 80 answer = kkk
Next Coordinates = N50° 47.jjj W001° 41.kkk
On the gate there is a number painted in white.
Add the number on the gate to 652 answer = mmm
Subtract the number on the gate from 273 answer = nnn
Next coordinates = N50° 47.mmm W001°41.nnn
Look at the post there is a number on it.
Multiply the number by 48 and then add 5 answer = ppp
Multiply the number by 36 and then add 13 answer = qqq
Next coordinates = N50° 47.ppp W001° 41.qqq
You should be at an access point to the enclosure.
Multiply the number of horizontal bars on the single gate by 46
and then add 2 answer = sss
Multiply the number of horizontal bars on the fence by 754 answer = t.ttt
The cache coordinates are N50° 47.sss W001° 4t.ttt
The cache is a 3 litre container. At the cache site there are some brambles and a strand of barbed wire. These should pose no problems if you are careful.
Ybbx sbe gur cbfg jvgu n fznyy juvgr qbg oruvaq vg. Gur pnpur vf arneol haqre gur eubqbqraqebaf ol gur srapr.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum