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During the Second World War (1939–1945) Dorset was heavily involved in the preparations for the invasion of Normandy: beach landing exercises were carried out at Studland and Weymouth and the village of Tyneham was requisitioned for army training.Tens-of-thousands of troops departed Weymouth, Portland and Poole harbours during D-Day and gliders from RAF Tarrant Rushton dropped troops near Caen to begin Operation Tonga.A series of trials known as the Bloody Assizes took place to punish the rebels.Over a five-day period in Dorchester, Judge Jeffreys presided over 312 cases: 74 of the accused were executed, 175 were transported, and nine were publicly whipped.Dorset has a varied landscape featuring broad elevated chalk downs, steep limestone ridges and low-lying clay valleys.
In 1642, at the commencement of the English Civil War, the Royalists took control of the entire county apart from Poole and Lyme Regis.
The county has a long history of human settlement stretching back to the Neolithic era.
The Romans conquered Dorset's indigenous Celtic tribe, and during the early Middle Ages, the Saxons settled the area and made Dorset a shire in the 7th century.
However, within three years their gains had been almost entirely reversed by the Parliamentarians.
An uprising of Clubmen—vigilantes weary of the depredations of the war—took place in Dorset in 1645.