D-Day mastermind Eisenhower returns to Portsmouth - Nostalgia

Dwight Eisenhower back in Portsmouth, August 6, 1963.
Dwight Eisenhower back in Portsmouth, August 6, 1963.
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I last published this photograph some five years ago believe it or not, but I thought it worthy of putting it in again for obvious topical reasons.

It is of course ‘Ike’ – Dwight Eisenhower – mounting the steps of the Guildhall, Portsmouth, for what must have been a nostalgic visit to the city he last saw 19 years previously under very different circumstances.

Battlefield trenches, Newfoundland Park on the Western Front.

Battlefield trenches, Newfoundland Park on the Western Front.

Since the days of being the supreme Allied commander at Southwick House, north of Fareham, in the run-up to D-Day, he had been president of the United States.

The picture was taken in August 1963 and later that day he revisited Southwick which by then had been  renamed HMS Dryad. Whether he paid a visit to the Golden Lion pub, the former mess for officers away from work at Southwick House, is not recorded.

• My sister recently found the photograph,  facing pa ge, among our late  father’s possessions. It was hidden among some paperwork.

I believe he is among the men gathered around the Alamein Memorial in Egypt as he was based in that country at the time along with many other Portsmouth dockyard men who had been sent there to work in the dockyard at Alexandria.

Men from Portsmouth dockyard at the Alamein Memorial.

Men from Portsmouth dockyard at the Alamein Memorial.

Perhaps this was a day out at the end of the Second World War. I am not sure how far this monument is from the coast so I cannot be sure of my facts.

I know it commemorates where the 7th Armoured Division fought in 1942 and I am told mines still pose a threat after all these years. Any information, please let me know more.

• The centenary of the real end of the First World War in 1919, then called The Great War, falls on June 28. 

For those who have never been to the battlefields in France and Belgium,  here is a scene at Newfoundland Park on the Somme near Beaumont Hamel. The trench system is now a memorial to the men who fought and died in them.

School inspectors, possibly, at Stockheath School, Bedhampton, buildings which were once HMS Daedalus III, about 1950.

School inspectors, possibly, at Stockheath School, Bedhampton, buildings which were once HMS Daedalus III, about 1950.

It was bought by the Dominion of Newfoundland and named after the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. The trenches are still six to eight feet deep.

• I wonder how many old pupils of Stockheath Infant and Junior School still live in Bedhampton or Leigh Park?

This group of official-looking gentlemen, with chauffeur-driven car, might be inspecting the buildings to see if they were suitable to be converted into a school.

It was part of HMS Daedalus III and on the left, out of shot, were the kerbstones of the small garden with a flagpole used as a saluting area. In the background are buildings which became classrooms.

Although called Stockheath, the actual Stockheath Naval Camp was a mile to the north.