Tanks on the Winchester bypass – an update

Churchill Mk IV tanks in storage on the Winchester by-pass in Hampshire, in readiness for the invasion of Europe, 16 May 1944 © IWM (H 38510)

I couldn’t resist posting this picture when I found it in the Imperial War Museums online collection – and I’ve uncovered a snippet about further liberties taken with the Winchester bypass. Before the D-Day invasion, the War Office politely asked Hampshire County Council for permission to use one carriageway of the bypass as a parking space for tanks. But by February 1945, both carriageways were being used in places and workshops had been built beside and on top of the road. The Country Surveyor, Brigadier “Archie” Hughes, was summoned to a meeting at the War Office (presuambly after he had complained about this state of affairs) and was informed that £30 000 had been spent on the workshops, hutments and camp equipment and the senior officers who had been party to the agreement were serving in France and therefore unavailable for questioning. ‘Quit whining’ in other words. The M3 smart motorway roadworks seem tame in comparison!

Iris Crowfoot

Sources

Echoes of the Winchester bypass from 70 years ago

Imperial War Museum Photographs

 Hampshire’s Highways Under Military Occupation, Malcolm Walford

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