In 1943 when Britain was in the grip of World War II, the decision was taken by the Allied leaders to invade France. As plans were made for Operation Overlord, there was a need for somewhere to train over 150,000 men. The war cabinet selected suitable locations, and within weeks residents of these villages were given formal notice to leave their homes. Of the villages specifically requisitioned for D-Day, two can still be visited today, Imber and Tyneham.
Imber, a small village in the middle of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, has a history that can be traced back to the Iron Age with evidence for a small settlement in the area. Imber was later specifically mentioned in the Domesday Book with just seven households. The church of St. Giles was built in the 13th century and the village also had a manor house, a Baptist chapel, a schoolroom and a pub as well as residential properties.
The village was always very isolated due to its remote location, with the villagers working closely connected to the land and agriculture.
The population of Imber never went over 440 and by the 1940s it was down to 150, as Imber was affected by changes brought about by the introduction of mechanised farming equipment and greater mobility for inhabitants, even in this remote area.