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Revealed: how Hitler's armies planned to seize Christchurch
IT’S a traditional seaside village but a rare Nazi briefing book has revealed that Highcliffe could have been a target for Nazi invasion during the Second World War.
An original book detailing Hitler’s plans to conquer Britain through invading quiet coastal towns including Highcliffe, Barton, and Christchurch has been discovered and will go under the hammer at Mullock’s Auctioneers on September 30.
“Militargoegraphiscke Angaben uber England Sudkuste” contains a large amount of colour maps showing every mile of the English southern coastline. It also reveals photographs and postcards showing landmarks across the south to make it easier for Nazi troops to identify their targets.
The book was prepared for the invasion Operation Sealion, which was only avoided due to RAF pilots winning air supremacy in the Battle of Britain.
Michael Hodges, Christchurch historian and former mayor, said: “The threat of coastal invasion was greatest in 1940 before the Battle of Britain.
“The risk to the Christchurch area was from the German 6th Army on the Cherbourg peninsular.
“It is now known that this army intended to land in Christchurch and Poole Bays to storm Bristol in order to cut off south-west England from the capital.”
Mr Hodges said that the water depth in Christchurch and Poole Bays, which were classed as anti-tank islands, would have permitted large naval units such as cruisers to approach the shore within half a mile.
He added: “People of my age will remember the threat to the local area but people my grandchildren’s age might not even know anything about it. It will come as a complete surprise to some.”
Highcliffe Sue Ryder shop volunteer, Joan Jarvie, who was a member of Coastal Command during the war, said: “That would surprise me.
“I suppose it shouldn’t considering the area’s history, but to think Highcliffe would have been one of the invasion points is a surprise.”
But Geoffrey Redfern, shopping in the seaside village, said: “I don’t think that should shock anyone.
“All the points around the coast were potential targets, especially the quieter coastal towns like Highcliffe and Christchurch.”
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