The Corkscrew Railway was built to connect people and places.
In times of war, these connections become even more important for the military.
The Corkscrew was no exception, with military movements occurring during peacetime and wartime.
Pre World War I
In August 1898 a huge army exercise in Wiltshire used the trains via Wareham to deliver 29,000 troops. In one day, 432 men, 306 horses, 64 wagons, and supplies were unloaded at Poole Quay and shipped from Wareham. 70 more special trains were expected.
World War I and II
In World War I, Southampton became one of just two tank and train ferry ports in England supplying the Western Front with tanks.
Tanks were transported down from the factories in Lincoln and the Midlands and loaded onto the waiting ferries still on the open train carriages. The ferries had tracks built in them. On arrival at the other side of the Channel, steam engines were attached and the train with tanks on board steamed out and onwards to the Western Front.
During World War II, Holmsley Station, on the Corkscrew line near Ringwood saw many troop and freight movements to the aerodrome at Holmlsey South. Opened in 1942, Holmsley South Aerodrome was used by both the RAF and the United States Army Air Force. During the war, it was used primarily as a bomber, and later as a transport, airfield. In May 1944, with preparations for the D-day landings, Eisenhower and senior government officials were frequently seen arriving and departing at Holmsley Station.
Back to peace and quiet
After the war, Holmsley South Aerodrome was closed in late 1946. Holmsley Station on the Corkscrew line reverted to the quiet place it had been before. Possibly too quiet, as the station, with the rest of the line, was closed in 1964.