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World War Two remains surveyed - in the nick of time!

On a cold and frosty Sunday morning in November a small team of archaeologist and local residents met up at Ibsley Village Hall in the New Forest with the aim of recording the World War Two remains of the old RAF Ibsley airbase.

The results of this survey work are being made freely available via the Heritage Portal, your online interactive archive for memories and photos of the World Wars in the New Forest.

Here, Josie Hagan, BSc. Archaeology Student at Bournemouth University, recalls the day…

As a second year archaeology student at Bournemouth University I have been lucky enough to work on a number of archaeological surveys across the UK. More recently I was approached by one of my lecturers, who asked if myself and other students would be interested to help the with a measured survey of a World War Two site in the New Forest. The aim was to record a number of structural remains prior to their loss due to the creation of a new car park.


My fellow students and I arranged to meet these groups at the site on a cold morning in November with a range of surveying equipment, including GPS devices, total stations (angle measuring equipment) and cameras.

Fuelled on biscuits and hot tea, along with the help of Emma Blake and Roly Errington from RAF Ibsley Trust and Lawrence Shaw and Gareth Owen from the National Park Authority, we set to work photographing the features and getting an idea of how we were going to conduct the survey.


After lunch, with the usual few hiccups that come with using GPS and total stations, we began to plot points of the World War Two features, working systematically to record walls, buttresses, toilet cubicles and separate rooms.

The following day I downloaded the survey points off of the total station, and sent it across to Lawrence to be finished off and finalised. A few days later Lawrence sent around the final results from the survey to everyone and they looked great!

It was a really enjoyable day with good company, and it felt like we were doing something important to help the New Forest National Park and RAF Ibsley Trust.

After the event, Lawrence Shaw, Heritage Mapping and Data Officer, said ‘The work the Bournemouth University students undertook was incredibly important in making sure these features were recorded in detail before they were covered over by the tarmac. This was an excellent example of how universities and local interest groups can work together to share their interests, knowledge and skills and advice to protect and record the heritage of the New Forest. We hope that the students and RAF Ibsley Trust will work together further in the future.’

We would like to thank Josie Hagan, Phil Trim and Hayden Scott-Pratt the Archaeology students from Bournemouth University, Bournemouth University for the loan of the equipment, Emma Blake, Roly Errington from the RAF Ibsley Airfield Heritage Trust and the Ibsley Village Hall Committee for granting permission to conduct the survey and opening up the hall for tea making facilities.

Visit the Heritage Portal to continue your journey into World War One and World War Two in the New Forest.

This entry was posted by Communications on Tuesday 15/12/2015

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