Seventy years ago tomorrow saw the largest seaborne invasion in history – D-Day.
Tens of thousands of Allied troops travelled across the Channel on June 6, 1944, and were landed on the beaches of Normandy to begin driving the Germans out of France in a turning point of the Second World War.
But far from the activity on the south coast, the Northumberland market town of Morpeth had played its part in the historic event. For the Crash Camp at Morpeth Common had been used by troops training for the invasion. Little was reported of the camp at the time, possibly due to security restrictions, but local historian Alan Davison has discovered that it was used by troops involved in D-Day training from about 1943.
In Town Trail for Morpethians No. 10, originally penned by Alec Tweddle and updated by Mr Davison and Brian Harle, it quotes the Herald from February 1946.
It states: “Being in the midst of fine open country admirably adapted for training, both infantry and armoured units were stationed in the district preparing for the invasion of Europe. No less than five Divisions have had their headquarters in Morpeth, and all of these Divisions have played no small part in the liberation of the world from slavery. The 15th Scottish Division played a very notable part in Normandy.”
It went on: “Morpeth has played no small part in moulding these men for the tasks which awaited them.”
After 1945, the camp was used as temporary accommodation for Polish and local families until the 1950s. It closed in 1962.