Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Pictures and video: Wartime troops storm the beach at Woolacombe

PUBLISHED: 14:05 02 September 2013 | UPDATED: 14:05 02 September 2013

Woolacombe beach, Devon turned into a battlefield at the weekend when American GI re-enactors carried out a mock D-Day assault on the beach. The 2 day event marked the 70th anniversary of the US Army Assault Training Centre. Picture: Guy Harrop, visit www.guyharrop.com.

Woolacombe beach, Devon turned into a battlefield at the weekend when American GI re-enactors carried out a mock D-Day assault on the beach. The 2 day event marked the 70th anniversary of the US Army Assault Training Centre. Picture: Guy Harrop, visit www.guyharrop.com.

image copyright © guy harrop www.guyharrop.com info@guyharrop.com

North Devon marks the 70th anniversary of American GIs training in the region during the build up to D-Day.

WOOLACOMBE Beach became a battlefield at the weekend as the village commemorated the 70th anniversary of American GIs training for D-Day in North Devon.

The Esplanade became a car park for World War Two military vehicles and a wartime living history exhibition, while on Saturday afternoon mock beach assaults took place down on the sand in among the surfers and sun seekers.

It was carried out by platoons of ‘GIs’ in the form of re-enactment groups including 1st Infantry Division, GI 44-45, 29th Infantry Division and First Wave ‘44.

On Sunday there was a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial on Woolacombe Esplanade, a fly past by a WWII Hurricane fighter plane and then a convoy made its way to the old wartime training grounds at Braunton Burrows.

Woolacombe beach, Devon turned into a battlefield at the weekend when American GI re-enactors carried out a mock D-Day assault on the beach. The 2 day event marked the 70th anniversary of the US Army Assault Training Centre. Picture: Guy Harrop, visit www.guyharrop.com. Woolacombe beach, Devon turned into a battlefield at the weekend when American GI re-enactors carried out a mock D-Day assault on the beach. The 2 day event marked the 70th anniversary of the US Army Assault Training Centre. Picture: Guy Harrop, visit www.guyharrop.com.

On September 1, 1943, the Americans set up an ‘Assault Training Center’ in North Devon that saw some 10,000 troops train in the estuary and on the local beaches in the run up to D-Day on June 6, 1944.

Organisers included author Richard Bass, Nigel and Neil Worth plus Friends of the Assault Training Center, Braunton and Mortehoe museums, Woolacombe and Mortehoe Parish Council, Cobbaton Combat Museum and numerous re-enactment groups.

“Overall - everyone, local people, visitors, living history groups and vehicle owners had a memorable, educational and enjoyable weekend. Everyone asked me when I’d be doing it again,” said Richard.

“There was even a round of applause at the conclusion of the wreath laying ceremony, which was moving, colourful and emotional.

Scenes from Saturday's Assault Training Center 70th anniversary at Woolacombe. Scenes from Saturday's Assault Training Center 70th anniversary at Woolacombe.

“Vehicle drivers on the tour of the training grounds were so proud to be driving over the very ground the Americans had used 70 years ago.”

* CLICK on the gallery link to the top right of this story to see more pictures from the event.

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 14:04

Police called to ‘serious assault’ in Forches on Tuesday evening

Read more
Yesterday, 13:43

The A399 at Watermouth will be closed for a maximum of five days while resurfacing is carried out

Read more
Yesterday, 12:16

There has been a rise of 38 per cent in reports of domestic abuse in North Devon over the last 12 months

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

A Bratton Fleming man has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 after dumping builder’s waste off the A399.

Read more
Tue, 18:09

Barnstaple rush hour traffic could be slow after an accident was reported

Read more
Tue, 14:35

The Met Office has put out a weather warning for wind as strong gusts are expected to hit North Devon on Wednesday night.

Read more
Tue, 12:30

Hospital clinicians held an extraordinary meeting to support a motion of no confidence in Northern Devon Healthcare Trust’s medical director George Thomson.

Read more
Tue, 09:22

Last week the Gazette revealed plans to demolish Littlejohns Coalyard to build new houses - and it seems readers are not happy about it.

Read more
Tue, 08:00

North Devon branch of well-known cancer charity is seeking a volunteer willing to lead the local group

Read more
Tue, 06:48

Barnstaple TSB is highlighting the Take Five Fraud Awareness Week and trying to stop the scamsters in North Devon

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications