Woolacombe to host D-Day anniversary spectacular

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

Yesterday, 07:24
The coastguard pole today.

National Trust launches appeal to restore a unique part of North Devon’s coastal heritage.

Read more
Fri, 14:34
On the campaign trail in North Devon.

Catch up with the latest General Election goings on and ministerial visits in pictures

Read more
Fri, 14:26
Home secretary Theresa May with Conservative candidate for North Devon Peter Heaton-Jones

The Government minister answered questions covering everything from North Devon’s tourism industry to her favourite flavour of crisps

Read more
Fri, 14:16

Councillors have approved contentious plans for 105 houses in Pilton.

Read more
Fri, 12:51
Princess Anne visits the Lynton Cliff Railway on Friday morning. Picture: @LLCliffRailway

Princess visit kicks off 125th anniversary celebrations in style.

Read more
Fri, 09:24
Labour Party leader Ed Miiband and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon during the BBC Challengers' Election Debate 2015. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

David Cameron has warned of more borrowing and taxes if Ed Miliband does a deal with the Scottish National Party (SNP) to become Prime Minister.

Read more
Fri, 08:46
beer

Beer festival will see music, barbecue and beer follow rugby matchers in Barnstaple on Saturday.

Read more
Fri, 08:43
James Pugsley with his late brother, Tom

The 21-year-old will be running the London Marathon to raise funds for the RNLI in memory of his late brother Tom Pugsley.

Read more
Fri, 07:00
Lyndsay Platt, with The Glorious Oyster horsebox on Westward Ho! Picture: Sarah Howells

As part of our campaign to promote North Devon’s fish and seafood, we spoke to The Glorious Oyster in Westward Ho!

Read more
Thu, 17:17
Catch Ed Byrne in Barnstaple this autumn. Picture: Roslyn Gaunt

Catch the famous funnyman on stage at The Queen’s Theatre this autumn...

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 5°C

Most Read News

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
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

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



North Devon's trusted business finder