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Local D-Day stories (and much more) at annual Bygone Buriton event

Scores of people visited the annual ‘Bygone Buriton’ exhibition – brought forward from its usual September date to coincide with the 80th anniversary of D-Day in June.

As usual, the local history event attracted people from far away as well as from the village and nearby, providing lots of opportunities for memories to be shared and for new information to be discovered about life in the parish over many decades.

The special D-Day display was a particular attraction, recalling how hundreds of troops had been camped in and around the parish, with some other fascinating information about local connections to each phase of the invasion, including some first-hand accounts.

As well as recollections about Canadian troops camped around the village, there was information about Frank Kempster parachuting into Normandy soon after midnight to help capture Pegasus Bridge, Douglas Banyard landing on the beaches later on D-Day, Harry Parks helping to construct the Arromanche Mulberry Harbour and an amusing account from someone ‘with an inside track’ who missed it all !

By bringing all these stories together, the exhibition illustrated the scale, complexity, secrecy and bravery of Operation Overlord ‘through local eyes’ and a number of copies of the special D-Day publication (see here) were snapped up by visitors.

The search to try to identify exactly which Canadian Units spent time in the parish continues – and anyone with any ideas or information about this is encouraged to contact Doug Jones (01730 231326 or email

Amongst material brought to the event by visitors were more photos of Buriton’s football teams from decades ago, more hop-picking photos, an interesting sketch diagram of the old lambing area up at Dean Barn (showing it as it was in about 1938), documents from the 1790s, 1830, 1867 and 1927 relating to the Nursted Estate and a photograph of a splendidly attired Albert Arthur Bridger celebrating the Silver Jubilee of King George V & Queen Mary in the High Street in 1935.

Copies of all the local history books (see here) were on sale alongside other wide-ranging informative displays featuring: hop growing and picking; the Buriton and Butser chalk quarries and lime works; the village school; and changes in farming the countryside around the village.

More details about the Buriton Heritage Bank local history project are available elsewhere on this website and anybody who might have any information or be able to help with research in any way is encouraged to contact Doug Jones on 01730 231326 or via