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

Woolacombe to host D-Day anniversary spectacular

PUBLISHED: 09:56 21 August 2013

Pictured with the replica landing craft are Robert Endean of living history group First Wave ’44, Roy Lucas on behalf of Brautnon Museum, creator Nigel Worth, author Richard Bass and veteran Norman Dunn.

Pictured with the replica landing craft are Robert Endean of living history group First Wave ’44, Roy Lucas on behalf of Brautnon Museum, creator Nigel Worth, author Richard Bass and veteran Norman Dunn.

Archant

Live re-enactments, displays and memorials at major 70th anniversary event on Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1 to commemorate the US troops who trained in North Devon before the invasion of Europe.

THE 70th anniversary of US troops training for D-Day in North Devon will be commemorated at a major re-enactment event in Woolacombe.

On Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1, 250 living history enthusiasts in World War Two attire plus some 40 military vehicles will set up camp on the Esplanade.

On the Saturday there will be a beach assault complete with Sherman tank and pyrotechnic effects, while on Sunday a wreath-laying will take place at 11am, a fly past by a Spitfire and possibly other aircraft.

Static displays, tours, an exhibition, film shows, morning parades, refreshment and charity stalls will all be happening.

Organisers and contributors include Friends of the Assault Training Center, Braunton and Mortehoe museums, Woolacombe and Mortehoe Parish Council, Cobbaton Combat Museum and numerous re-enactment groups.

In the run up to the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, 10,000 American troops trained on the beaches and estuaries of North Devon at what was known as the US Army Assault Training Centre, which opened on September 1, 1943.

Many of the training aids, such as concrete landing craft, can still be seen around Braunton Burrows to this day.

Among the displays at the anniversary will be a replica landing craft built by Nigel and Neil Worth at Barum Engineering in Barnstaple, thanks to grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Department of Education.

The brothers organised the event with author Richard Bass, who has written several books on the subject, including Spirits of the Sand, published in 1992 to coincide with the dedication of a memorial at Woolacombe.

“North Devon is the only place the Americans trained for D-Day,” he said.

“I realised it was 70 years this year and local people wanted some sort of commemoration, so we applied to the Heritage Lottery and the project just grew and grew. I approached some of the living history groups and they were so enthusiastic the thing just built itself.”

One man who has kept local D-Day artefacts alive is Norman Dunn, 92, who served on the anti aircraft guns during the war. After, he was involved with conservation on the burrows and fought to preserve the training centre remains, convincing military authorities to do the same.

A plaque was placed on the old concrete landing craft, and every D-Day Braunton Royal British Legion lays a wreath there: “That was what I wanted, for people to remember,” said Norman.

Find out more about the anniversary event at www.assaulttrainingcenter.com.

0 comments

Other News Stories

17:30

Liberal Democrats announce Sir Nick Harvey will seek to take back North Devon seat from the conservatives

Read more
20:47

Pilton House resident Dick rendle celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday

Read more
12:52

Even presenter Nick Knowles got in the act as runners from across North Devon took part in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017

Read more
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mark Saunders from North Devon has reached his fundraising goal thanks to the generosity of local people and groups

Read more
Friday, April 21, 2017

The £11million build opens up for first time for summer term

Read more
Friday, April 21, 2017

Appledore’s Jackie Avery and Braunton’s Barrie Charlesworth are presented with their BEM medals in Exeter

Read more
Friday, April 21, 2017

Take a journey through time with our interactive photo slider. Move the sliders from left to right to see the changes.

Read more
Friday, April 21, 2017

Fullabrook CIC is holding its AGM on April 26, with all welcome to find out more about the community garnt scehem

Read more
Friday, April 21, 2017

Petrol station has been bought by Central Convenience Stores to give it a second location in Combe Martin

Read more
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Owners have invested half a million pounds to transform a Victorian Ilfracombe hotel into a 21st century venue

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 3°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