Fort Henry

Fort Henry, Redend Point, Studland Bay. Dorset.

NGR: SZ 038 828

On top of Redend Point, Studland Bay, a small sandstone cliff which splits the beach in two at high tide, is Fort Henry.

It is owned by the National Trust and extends along the seaward side of the grounds of the Manor House Hotel.

A bunker/pillbox, constructed in 1943 by Canadian engineers and named after their home base in Ontario, it is 90 ft (27 m) long, with 3 ft (1 m) thick walls and an 80 ft (24 m) wide recessed observation slit. Behind this, on the exceedingly noisy 18th April 1944, were the field-glasses of King George VI, General Sir Bernard Montgomery, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower; the future President as Supreme Commander Allied Forces Western Europe. Together they were observing the training troops and discussing the plans for the coming D-Day landing planned for later that year.

On April 4th 1944 Exercise Smash 1 was held at Studland Bay with the DD Valentine tanks. Shortly after launching the weather underwent a change, the wind increased and the waves grew bigger. As a result six tanks sank with the loss of six crew members. A valuable lesson was learnt that the tanks were not seaworthy in rough weather and so on D Day the DD tanks motored in, in shallow water. The decision not to swim the tanks in saved the day and ensured the success of the landings

Remains of Dragon’s Teeth on the beach below.

Type 25 Pillbox on the beach at Redend Point.

Dragon’s Teeth extending inland from Studland Beach.

by Graham G Matthews


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Defence Structures and sites of all types both above and below ground can be very dangerous. Serious injury or even death can arise from unauthorised entry into such sites and structures. Join a responsible club, group or society who can arrange official visits. The Pillbox Study Group accepts no responsibility for any damages or injuries caused by ignoring this advice. The PSG does not encourage members to undertake the ad hoc clearance of vegetation from pillboxes, as it can expose them to physical damage and inappropriate use, it may also contravene a variety of statutory regulations including, listed buildings and SSSI designations. Vegetation clearance should only ever be undertaken as part of a formal arrangement, having sought and obtained permission from the land owner and other necessary authorities. Damaging a listed or scheduled monument can be considered as a Heritage Crime.

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