Dorset’s Archaeology in 150 Words #8: Fort Henry – A WW2 Observation Post in Studland

On the cliff top overlooking Studland Bay and the entrance to Poole Harbour stands the concrete remains of Fort Henry. An observation post for the D-Day practice bombardments and beach assaults of Exercise Smash, carried out on 18 April 1944, the bunker is 30m long with 1m thick concrete walls. Allowing onlookers, including Winston Churchill, Dwight D Eisenhower and King George VI, to view the exercise is a 20cm high slit running the length of the north facing wall. The bunker is split into two adjacent rooms with a small corridor allowing access between the two. The bunker was built in 1943 by Canadian Engineers for this purpose.

Several metres south of the bunker’s western end, on higher ground, is a 4″ defensive gun emplacement built in 1940. 

The site is easily reached on foot from Studland village and National Trust’s Middle Beach and South Beach car parks.



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