Eastleigh's wartime heritage
The Borough has a proud WW1 and WW2 history
The Borough marks significant anniversaries
Each year, the civic services of Remembrance take place on 11 November and on Remembrance Sunday at the Eastleigh War Memorial in the Leigh Road Recreation Ground and at other locations around the Borough, including Netley Military Cemetery.
A monument of two engraved monoliths - an addition to the existing Angel of Mons memorial - that honours people from Eastleigh parish who were killed in the two conflicts, is a focus of the Eastleigh ceremony.
Armed Forces Day
The Borough marks Armed Forces Day in June with a flag-raising ceremony in the Leigh Road Recreation Ground, together with a reception for veterans' organisations. Unfortunately, this year (2020) due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we're unable to hold out usual flag raising ceremony and reception but you'll still see the flag flying from our flagpoles
VE Day 75
Eastleigh Borough residents celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day at home during the coronavirus lockdown. Events took place over the Bank Holiday weekend from Friday 8 May 2020, the date the Second World War in Europe ended.
Family events, themed on significant anniversaries of World War 1 and 2, have been held in Eastleigh town centre in recent years.
The Eastleigh Remembers festivals have marked the centenary of the end of the First World War, as well as commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and 80 years since the start of the Second World War.
The colourful days of activities brought entertainment, military vehicles, music, dance and educational events to the Leigh Road Recreation Ground, which was a holding area for American troops in the run-up to D Day in 1944 and the site of a major clearing hospital for casualties during the 1914-18 conflict. The event has also included a World War One field hospital re-enactment.
Eastleigh in the Second World War
Eastleigh Borough was an important location during the Second World War.
Most famously, it was where the maiden flight of the Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft – which went on to play such a decisive role in the 1940 Battle of Britain - took place in 1936. Eastleigh was a major railway town and the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley was one of the biggest military hospitals in the country.
Eastleigh Borough had a significant role in the build-up to the June 1944 Normandy landings, the decisive Allied invasion that signalled the beginning of the end of the war. Four marshalling camps at Hiltingbury had a total capacity of 11,000 men and 2,000 vehicles, and were the largest group of camps in any of the marshalling areas in the run-up D-Day. There was also a marshalling camp at North Stoneham.
The town’s Pirelli cableworks contributed to PLUTO (the PipeLine Under The Ocean) that was crucial to the success of the invasion.
On VE Day street parties and other celebrations are reported to have taken place across the Borough.
Pictures: The war memorial in Leigh Road Recreation Ground and the prototype of the iconic Spitfire fighter aircraft - pictures courtesy of the Eastleigh and District Local History Society