The Lost Village of Imber

Located on Salisbury Plain, not too far from where I grew up in Trowbridge, is a village called Imber.

There is something unique about this village though, The village was abandoned nearly 70 years ago when the residents were forced to leave their homes in 1943 to allow the Army and American troops carry out urban training in readiness for World War 2 invasions.

The Ministry of Defence took over the area to use it for military exercises and today most of the village remains in use as a training ground. Photographer David White spoke to Rex Sawyer, author of Little Imber on Down, about the history of the village and the recent completion of a five-year restoration project on the Church of St Giles which stands apart from the military area.

The BBC Website has an amazing Audio Slideshow which combines some striking photos and audio.

I’d certainly recommend a viewing of the slideshow


  1. I am a descendant of the Imber families (Gibbs, Meaden, Carter, Brown, Alexander, Bartlett, Payne, Draper, Lewis, Titt, Hinton, Collins). Having been researching my family history over the past 5 years, I have ancestors going back 500 years in Imber. It saddens me that all this has now been lost and that this history is treated so lightly by the army.

    I have the book “Little Imber” by Rex Sawyer, and take delight in it, especially when I can link myself to many of the people in the pictures.

    I’m happy to hear that St Giles Church as now been restored…I would dearly love to walk around the cemetery should I get to the opportunity to do so (living in Australia is such a long way away).

  2. Ian, just came across Imber whilst scanning Salisbury Plain on Google Earth. I then found the BBC slideshow when I looked up Imber on the web and then found your page. I can also recommend the slide show…haunting..

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