Another ‘ghost’ village, it was also abandoned in WWII – was needed to train troops for D-Day

The photographs of the town, which has been abandoned for over seven decades, offer a look into the lifestyle of a pre-WWII society while also highlighting the misery of people in the aftermath of the fight.

When WWII raged in Europe with no end in sight, the people of Imber, a little lovely town in Wiltshire, were urged to leave.

The year was 1943, and the residents of Imber had no idea what was about to happen to them, but they were warned afterwards that they would never be able to return to their beautiful hamlet again.afterward

Houses used for training purposes.source
Imber Court building.source
Imber Village, Salisbury Plain, UK.source
Imber Village, Salisbury Plain, UK.source.
Imber Village, Salisbury Plain, UK.source

The abandoned settlement on Salisbury Plain is currently used as an operational training ground for soldiers by the Ministry of Defence. During the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, however, the MOD invites members of the public to visit the town to view this wonderful settlement that is still standing precisely as it was abandoned by its people 70 years ago.

Every year, a large number of tourists visit Imber, particularly to see the church, which still stands tall in the midst of the hamlet with all its majesty and strength.

Despite the fact that there is no power or running water in the hamlet at the present, the local church is still operational and all utilities are available. The Churches Conservation Trust undertook a large refurbishment project at St Giles Church in 2008.

Another significant site is Village’s bar, cottages, and manor house, which have all become abandoned shells during the previous seven decades.

Imber Village. source
Monument to victim of highwaymen, Imber Range.source
The former Seagrams Farm.source

With the Nazis’ growing power in France and other European countries, allied commanders needed to design the most daring counter-offensive strategy to tackle the beast head-on. Until 1943, the majority of allied actions were either aiding local guerrilla groups in occupied areas or simply flying strikes into mainland France or Germany.

However, observing how Britain was suffering to feed her troops and civilians, allied commanders decided to go on the offensive. A big number of American soldiers began arriving in the United Kingdom to prepare for the first-ever invasion of Nazi-controlled territories.

The operation was dubbed D-Day, and it proved to be a triumph for allied troops, playing a vital part in changing the Second World War in their favor.

The tower of St Giles’s in 2002.source
This building was a pub known as The Bell.source
Urban warfare training area at Imber. Original dwellings in centre. source

Just as the people of Imber’s calm village began to enjoy the spring of 1943, a group of officers arrived with severe instructions to evacuate the area. The villagers were given just one option: abandon their houses and collect everything they could before fleeing the area in 47 days.

The village elders attempted to bargain with the officials, but quickly realized that they had no voice in the matter. Residents hurried for what they felt vital, packed their belongings, and fled to neighboring towns and villages. This was a one-of-a-kind occurrence since Imber was far from the front lines and no one could have predicted in their wildest thoughts what they would have to endure.

There is no record of the entire number of villagers evacuated in 1943; the most recent census record for Imber is from 1931, when the town had a population of 152 people. Following the war, residents attempted to return to their houses and engaged in a variety of court challenges, but to no avail. The location is still under MOD administration and is available to the public once a year over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

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