There have been soldiers, gunfire and explosions on Saunton Sands as the North Devon beach hosts filming for a Second World War blockbuster.

Action from Saunton Sands as the production Operation Mincemeat came to the North Devon beach. Picture: Robert Bruce.Action from Saunton Sands as the production Operation Mincemeat came to the North Devon beach. Picture: Robert Bruce.

Crews have descended on the beach to film scenes for upcoming feature film Operation Mincemeat, a true World War Two story of British deception.

The film's star-studded cast includes Colin Firth, Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Johnny Flynn (Beast) and Kelly Macdonald (Trainspotting), and is being directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love).

Operation Mincemeat is the true WWII story of a brilliant British deception.

The film is set in 1943, when Hitler knew that a vast military force was preparing to land in Southern Europe and had guessed correctly that it would be Sicily.

Action from Saunton Sands as the production Operation Mincemeat came to the North Devon beach. Picture: Robert Bruce.Action from Saunton Sands as the production Operation Mincemeat came to the North Devon beach. Picture: Robert Bruce.

A team of unconventional military intelligence officers concocted a plan that would fool him into believing otherwise, saving countless lives and opening the soft underbelly to Europe.

The North Devon beach is being used to film amphibious allied landings which took place in Sicily.

Preparation and rehearsals for the action scenes took place on Wednesday (February 26), with filming set to take place on Thursday and Friday (February 27-28) between 7am and 11pm.

A filming engagement letter sent to nearby residents and businesses said: "We will be filming action sequences that involve replica weaponry and pyrotechnics, including audible gunfire and explosions. All shots fired will be blank rounds.

Action from Saunton Sands as the production Operation Mincemeat came to the North Devon beach. Picture: Robert Bruce.Action from Saunton Sands as the production Operation Mincemeat came to the North Devon beach. Picture: Robert Bruce.

"There will be Location Stewards in high-visibility jackets to highlight the perimeter of the area that is locked-off for public safety, assisting the general public and directing visitors towards a safe pedestrian route.

"We have notified the Coastguard of our activities as well as both the local Braunton and Barnstaple police stations."

Action from Saunton Sands as the production Operation Mincemeat came to the North Devon beach. Picture: Robert Bruce.Action from Saunton Sands as the production Operation Mincemeat came to the North Devon beach. Picture: Robert Bruce.