Following heavy bombing raids in 1941, the RN School of Navigation left its home in Portsmouth Dockyard and moved to the recently requisitioned Southwick House, the ancestral home of the Thistlethwayte family. The House was chosen to play a central role as the forward headquarters of SHAEF(Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force)
The wall map shown in the background of the photograph on the right is the actual map used during the invasion of Europe and is set to the position it was at on 6 June 1944. It was commissioned from the toy firm of Chad Valley and arrived in sections. The pieces covered the European coastline from Norway to the Spanish border so as not to give away any secrets. The two carpenters who erected the essential sections of the Normandy coastline of the map in the Wardroom were required to remain in Southwick House to maintain secrecy until the invasion was underway.
A drawing made from memory by someone who was actually in the room at the time of the invasion
The inscription reads:-
This sword was specially forged by
and presented to HMS Dryad to
commemorate the 50th Anniversary of
The Courtyard and Clock Tower at HMS Dryad
There has been a settlement at Southwick since Roman times. In 1539 John White acquired the former Monastic lands at Southwick and thus began the sucession of 'Squires' which exists to this day. The Golden Lion pub, the white building on the extreme right of the photograph, became the unofficial Officers' Mess during the preparations for the invasion and the bars were used for briefings and examinations.
Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery would frequent the Golden Lion together and would settle themselves in the Lloyd Loom chairs in the corner to the left of the fireplace and would sometimes spread maps and documents on a small table before them. Ike would drink half pints of bitter whilst Monty, who was a teetotaller, would drink mineral water
Southwick village as it is today- exactly as it was in 1944