A huge convoy of World War Two vehicles will be descending on Braunton Burrows and Saunton Sands this weekend
North Devon will be invaded on Saturday (June 6) as a huge convoy of military vehicles converge on the area to mark the anniversary of D-Day.
In what organisers believe is probably the biggest military event in Devon, authentic World War Two vehicles and living history groups will descend on Braunton Burrows and Saunton Sands, where American troops trained for the invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944.
The beaches and dunes were known as the US Army Assault Training Centre, which opened on September 1, 1943 and many of the training aids, such as concrete landing craft, can still be seen around Braunton Burrows to this day.
The big event has been organised by Friends of the Assault Training Centre and Devon Area Military Vehicle Trust. It runs from Friday, with an education day for local schools, to Sunday.
“This is the biggest military event that’s ever happened in North Devon and probably Devon too – it’s even bigger than the event we held at Woolacombe two years ago,” said Nigel Worth of the Assault Training Centre, who along with Richard Bass has helped keep the memory of the centre alive.
They have continued a tradition started by local man Norman Dunn, who passed away a year ago, but was involved with conservation on the burrows and fought to preserve the training centre remains.
A convoy of 50 vehicles will set off from Cobbaton Combat Collection on the Saturday morning, travelling through Barnstaple at around 8-9am and drive to the former D-Day training grounds.
There will be a short wreath laying ceremony by the concrete landing craft at Crow before the convoy heads to Saunton Sands at about 12.30pm, where the vehicles will be on display and Chivenor Military Wives Choir will perform at 2pm, followed by a public display of vehicles on ‘Saunton Red Beach’.
On Sunday Cobbaton will be open to the public, where they can see the vehicles, meet the re-enactors and watch a living history display. The D-Day events will be free but normal admission to the museum itself still applies.
Find out more at www.assaulttrainingcenter.com