Fort Southwick UGHQ

World War Two

 Created 19-10-2003   Last update 13-08-2009

Overview & History



page 2 of 5


 UGHQ - modern


Naval plotting room

Main Operations Plotting Room (15 on the plan). All the equipment shown here has been stripped out. This photo, or one quite like it was reproduced on a Barbados postage stamp in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day. The plaque over the plotting table is now on display at Portsmouth's D-Day Museum. It bears the un-official coat of arms of the plotting room staff along with the motto: This Blessed Plot

Below: same location in August 2003, 59 years after the above photo was taken. The hanger for the mezzanine gallery can be seen on the top right, and the supporting post fixings can be made out on the floor.

Ops room 2003
operations room

A variation on the photo above showing more clearly the mezzanine gallery and the coat of arms. This plotting room is sometimes referred to as the Map Room.


The coat of arms as shown in the above photos. It demonstrates the link between WRNS (Womens Royal Naval Service)  and WAAFS (Womens Auxiliary Air Force) who worked in the Plotting Room. Designed by Miss C Ward (WRNS) in 1944 it is currently housed in the D-Day Museum Portsmouth. Were their skirts really that short?



Naval plotting room and King George VI

The Coastal Forces (Channel) plotting room with King George VI in the background. The English southern coastline, including the IOW, is displayed on the right of the table. The Wren on the far right of the base of the plot table is Leading Wren Christian Gordon.

It was rumoured for a long time that this photograph was in some way 'faked'. Here is the story behind it: 

The king's visit was some 3 months after D-Day. The plotting room had been asked recreate the surface activity in the channel during the initial phase of the invasion for the visit, and the view in the photograph shows the surface activity at about 12.00 noon on D-Day. 

 Whilst all the Wrens sitting on the right appear to have head phones connected there were only 2 or 3 sockets as the plot table was staffed by a fraction of the number of the people shown.

With thanks to Henry Gibson and Elsie Horton

King's visit to the Plotting Room

King George VI - second from the left in the foreground - examines the plotting table. There are more pictures of this kind on the next page.

plotting room

The plotting room this time it's a WRNS turn to pose. Is that Harry Enfield second from the right?

telephone exchange

The main telephone exchange, was staffed by ATS, WRNS and WAAFs.



COHQ decoding room

This photo of 'A' watch in the message decoding room was supplied by Sue Solly after she heard me on BBC Radio 4 talking about the UGHQ. Her father Philip Brady was a Leading Coder during WWII and had this photo as a keepsake. Veronica Owen is 3rd from the right.

See the letter from Gladys Dutton below.


 NEW - 13-08-2009

Inspection by the King

King George VI inspects the troops on 16 November 1944. The building in the background is the FOF3 (Flag Officer Fleet) building, now part of the DVLA test centre opposite Fort Southwick.

Saluting base

The saluting base for the King. The temporary accommodation hut has long since disappeared but the location of the base can still be determined as the rainwater ditch in front of it still exists.

March Past

The King takes the salute from a contingent of WRENs during the March Past.


Overview & History



page 2 of 5


 UGHQ - modern