Hampshire at War

Recently released on DVD: a fascinating documentary which tours wartime Hampshire

Recently released on DVD. A fascinating documentary about wartime Hampshire.

A fascinating new documentary describing wartime activities in Hampshire, from 1939-1945, during the dramatic days of World War 2, has recently been released on DVD by the Bristol based production company 1st-Take

Entitled Hampshire At War and based on the book of the same name, the documentary is presented by its author, the best-selling Social Historian Henry Buckton.

A regular face on Regional TV in the West Country, but less well-known here perhaps, we found Henry to be a thoroughly engaging character who is comfortable in front of the cameras. In this DVD he embarks on a tour round Hampshire’s major towns and cities and some of our villages too. At each point on his tour, Henry describes the events that happened there during World War II.

We’ll not spoil your enjoyment of the DVD by revealing too much about the wartime activities that Henry includes in this documentary, but Eastleigh News’ battle-weary old war-horses [Stephen Slominski & Ray Turner] found the DVD to be entertaining and informative, touching on some aspects that they already knew about and raising others that, despite having a combined age of well-over a century, were completely new to them…

Eastleigh News contributor, Ray Turner, says;

World War II never ceases to amaze me. Just when I think that I surely must have learned everything there is to know about WWII by now, something else pops-up to surprise me.  Suffice it to say, this DVD continued that trend.

I was also surprised at how different the story became, as we headed only a few miles further North towards the top of the county. The people of Basingstoke for instance, had a different kind of wartime experience to the people of Southampton or Eastleigh.

Sadly, the town of Eastleigh doesn’t feature very prominently in this DVD, though we do get some coverage. There is however an interesting section that was filmed at Hamble,  so we can also hail that as a local claim to fame…!

As Henry Buckton explained;

My defence for this is simply that every town and village had its own wartime stories but it is impossible to include them all in a film of only 100 minutes.  We had to concentrate on stories for which we had the best illustrative materials and interviews.

In their press release, 1st-Take say;

“This new, feature-length souvenir DVD is the compelling story of how Hampshire, located directly opposite the Normandy beaches, became the main springboard for Operation Overlord, the code name for the invasion of occupied Europe.”

“But in telling the story of Hampshire at War, this fascinating DVD goes right back to the start of hostilities, on a geographical journey around many locations throughout the county, all of which played a key role towards ultimate victory.”

“Southampton and Portsmouth are featured in great depth, not least because their strategic importance led to them being heavily bombed during the Blitz”

“You will also see how Gosport provided the Royal Navy with everything it needed, visit some of the defences that were built in 1940, the part played by numerous airfields in the New Forest, the important contribution of Middle Wallop during the Battle of Britain and learn how Farnborough kept our aircraft technology ahead of the game.”

“The story benefits greatly from a diverse collection of interviewees, including Lt. Col. Alan Norman of the Royal Hampshire Regiment, who was wounded on Gold Beach as a young officer on D-Day.”

“This 106 minute-documentary is further enhanced by stunning archive material and evocative modern film.”

“This is the compelling story of a county, and a country, fighting for survival. “

Dave Rogers, who produced the DVD, adds;

“Hampshire’s magnificent coastline, and beautiful scenery in areas such as the New Forest, belies the dramatic events which took place throughout the county during the dark days of wartime.”

“Today’s residents should be very proud of the many and varied contributions made by the people of Hampshire towards ultimate victory in 1945.”



Henry Buckton has kindly donated a signed copy of his book and the DVD, and has asked that they should be given to a reader who answers the following question correctly.

During the war…

…. the site that was formerly Eastleigh aerodrome and is now Southampton International Airport temporarily became an Air Station of the Royal Navy.  What was the wartime nautical name for the Royal Naval Air Station on the site that is currently known as Southampton International Airport…?

You could win this DVD and book, both of which have been signed by the Author Henry Buckton.

You could win this DVD and book, both of which have been signed by the Author Henry Buckton.

To enter, please email your answer to <competition now closed>, before midnight on 30th November 2013. We will select a winner at random and will award the book and the DVD to the lucky individual a.s.a.p after that.

Update 1stDec 2013: We have now selected a winner, who is Roy H Wilkinson from Eastleigh. The correct answer was HMS Raven. Thanks to everybody who entered and to Henry Buckton for donating the prize.  



Meanwhile, if you are considering buying a copy of this DVD, you may be interested to know that 1st-Take have arranged a special offer for readers of Eastleigh News, an offer that does not appear on their website and which is exclusive to Eastleigh News.

Ordinarily, the Hampshire at War DVD would cost £14.95 + £2.00 postage & packing, but if you use the enquiry form below, you can buy this DVD for only £12.95 post free. That’s a very worthwhile saving of £4.

Please complete the form (below) as fully as possible, particularly the daytime contact number and email address.  Please note that for security reasons, we do not ask for payment details on this form. We’ll forward your details to 1st-Take who will subsequently contact you to arrange payment and will supply you directly from their offices. Your contract will thus be with 1st-Take rather than Eastleigh News.

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