Walking through the woods of River Hamble Country Park, you may be surprised to see the remnants of old buildings. In fact, in this spot of the park you'll be stood on the former grounds of HMS Cricket, built to provide accommodation and training for crews involved in the 1944 D-day landings.
Commissioned in 1943, this complex included 120 buildings housing over 2500 men at its peak during the war. Amenities included a cinema, small hospital and a sewage works. The former guardhouse is the only building still standing at the park, which is currently used as the rangers' depot.
On 5 June 1944 the order was given to travel back along the river and head out to battle. The camp assembled in full kit and marched down to the landing craft. By that evening the River Hamble was empty and HMS Cricket had gone to war.
It was decided to close HMS Cricket after the end of the Second World War, and it was decommissioned on 15 July 1946, three years after commissioning.
Today, during your visit to the park, you will be able to spot some of the remnants of this important piece of local history.