D-Day saw the start of the liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe and as might be expected the news was covered in as much detail as the censor would allow in the Gazette.

A Gazette cutting from June 13, 1944. Picture: Bideford ArchiveA Gazette cutting from June 13, 1944. Picture: Bideford Archive

The editorial which appeared a week after the invasion started is a curious mix of the uplifting and wonderful British understatement.

North Devon, of course, played a major part in the build up to D-Day, with thousands of Allied troops being posted here on a rotating basis for training on our beaches which resembled those in Normandy.

This followed the opening in September 1943 of the Braunton Assault Training Centre which saw Saunton, Woolacombe, Westward Ho! and Instow beaches becoming the centres for this work.

In order to familiarise the troops with what they would face in France, many imitation Nazi defence works were built including pill boxes, artillery batteries and trenches while model landing craft were also constructed for training purposes some of which still survive today.

A landing craft at Bideford. Picture: The Book of BidefordA landing craft at Bideford. Picture: The Book of Bideford

These visiting servicemen staying in local camps or were billeted with local families.

While here they would have seen and trained with the special waterproofed invasion vehicles which were still undergoing tests these having been developed by the Combined Operations Executive which was based in the Royal Hotel at Bideford.

One of these was the infamous and rather bizarre 'explosives-on-wheels' the 'Panjandrum' which went disastrously wrong on Westward Ho! beach, nearly wiping out a group of nearby high ranking officers.

What they would not have seen were the top secret preparations for PLUTO or Pipe Line Under The Ocean.

PLUTO - Pipe Line Under the Ocean - seen at Bank End, Bideford, where part of it was constructed. Picture: The Book of BidefordPLUTO - Pipe Line Under the Ocean - seen at Bank End, Bideford, where part of it was constructed. Picture: The Book of Bideford

This 23 mile long pipe was laid under the English Channel to convey vital supplies of petrol to the beach head following the initial landings - and was part constructed at Bank End, Bideford and then tested by being laid between Berrynarbor and Swansea.

Another aspect of the invasion preparations was the construction of a US Army hospital with 800-plus beds at Fremington designed to cater to those wounded in the invasion - a camp which only finally disappeared a few years ago.

All these plans came to fruition on June 6, 1944, with the war against the Nazis being finally won a year later following hard fighting and many deaths and injuries.