Droxford D-Day Experience

D-Day Exhibits

The D-Day 70 Exhibition of events and memories about
Droxford in June 1944, was organised by The Friends of
Droxford Church (FODC), and ended last month. The
exhibition was displayed in Droxford Church and
focused on the visit of Winston Churchill to Droxford
Railway Station and on his meetings while staying there
for three days.


With the support of the D-day Museum and the Heritage
Lottery Fund (HLF), we researched these events and
displayed the results on 5 graphic panels, with a sixth
reserved for the Droxford Junior School D-Day project,
and these will remain on permanent display. A major
focus of the research was to compile an oral history of
eyewitness accounts of the war, and particularly D-Day
in Droxford and the Meon Valley. A DVD, These are
their Memories, featuring 26 participants, played in the
church throughout the exhibition and has been highly
acclaimed. Copies are available for purchase.
Additional temporary exhibits featured the Meon Valley
Railway; Churchill’s correspondence for the train;
diaries and photographs of D-Day preparations in the
Meon Valley and Portsmouth. The model of Droxford
Station built near the entrance to the church is for sale.
Budget and Funds raised
Our budget was based on total expenses of
approximately £9,600, most of which was covered by
grants, principally from the D-Day Museum (via HLF),
and Hampshire County Council. Income from ticket
sales amounted to over £4,000 and donations (to date)
are over £3,000. Including other income, total funds
retained by FODC are approximately £8,500. We are
very grateful to all who have donated.
The largest one day event in Droxford, the annual
Country Fair in June, this year opened with a D-Day
re-enactment. The estimated number of visitors to the
fair (about 3000) was approximately double the normal
number. The queue around the Exhibition in the church
was almost continuous for four hours. Over 400 people
attended our two talks in the church in the week before;
and 150 came to the Tea-dance event in the village
square. We estimate that about 1,200 people visited the
church in the opening week.
The exhibition has been open for 8 hours a day since
29th May and the church has rarely been empty. The
church is on the Wayfarer’s Walk long-distance path
and is a favourite stop for ramblers. Visitors include the
Fareham Society, Alton Carers, and others from beyond
Hampshire, and as far as Holland and the Falkland
Islands, with many repeat visitors. We estimate a further
1,200 have visited the exhibition during the three
summer months, for a total of 2,400. There are many
comments in the church visitors’ book – they tend to be
one word, ‘superb’ or ‘very good’ etc.
Droxford Station Sign
Droxford D-Day 70 has demonstrated that there is a
strong appetite in the local community for well
researched and displayed heritage. Each of our talks
filled the church to capacity with over 200 paying
visitors, and the exhibition continued to draw visitors
long after the D-Day anniversary. Voluntary
contributions have been very significant and we are
very grateful. This experience will be analysed and
used to inform our Activity Plan in the next phase of our
application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funds to
restore the fabric of the Church.
John Symes, Chairman,
Friends of Droxford Church