Saunton Sands is gearing up for the huge Devon D-Day 75th anniversary event on Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3.

American GIs will be strolling about at Saunton this Saturday, June 3 as part of the Saunton D-Day festivities.American GIs will be strolling about at Saunton this Saturday, June 3 as part of the Saunton D-Day festivities.

It promises to be an action-packed spectacular with around 140 World War two vehicles, a Spitfire fly past and pitched battles between American GIs and German Panzer troops.

The free event is being held to mark the 75th anniversary of the US Assault Training Center, which was based around Braunton Burrows and the surrounding beaches and saw 14,000 young US servicemen training there in the run up to D-Day on June 6, 1944.

It has been organised by Friends of the Assault Training Center (FATC) in association with Saunton Beach Enterprises (SBE), Christie Estates and several living history groups.

The groups attending include the ‘Americans’ of First Wave 44, the 2nd Devons Battalion, 29th Infantry Division and the 304 Panzer Grenadiers.

Splashing ashore at Saunton as they prepare for Saunton D-DaySplashing ashore at Saunton as they prepare for Saunton D-Day

On both days crowds will be able to stroll among the vehicles, meet characters in period costume and experience military life of the 1940s.

There will also be a beer tent, beach cinema, bar and a Saunton WW2 history trail with interactive characters by Tempus-Fugitive.

Saturday will see a fly past by Austers aircraft at 11am and at 1.45pm approximately there will be a fly over by a genuine Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Vehicle convoys will parade up and down the beach at noon and 3pm.

World War Two came to Saunton on Saturday for the Saunton D-Day event. Picture: AW PhotographicWorld War Two came to Saunton on Saturday for the Saunton D-Day event. Picture: AW Photographic

Sunday will also include live re-enactments with a demonstration of blowing up beach obstacles at 11am and at 3pm the US 101st Airborne will attack a German beach position.

Richard Bass of FATC said: “There will be a tremendous amount of things to see and throughout the weekend there will be all sorts of things going on.”

Paul Tamlyn of SBE said extra parking would be made available near Saunton Golf Club, but people were asked to car share or use the bus wherever possible.

He added: “Lucie and I are very pleased to be supporting FATC in hosting this event at Saunton.

World War Two came to Saunton on Saturday for the Saunton D-Day event. Picture: AW PhotographicWorld War Two came to Saunton on Saturday for the Saunton D-Day event. Picture: AW Photographic

“This is going to be the biggest D-Day show we’ve ever put on and we’re therefore expecting some very large crowds.”

See more in the North Devon Gazette next week and keep up to date on the Devon D-Day Facebook page.

Living history was brought to life as part of the Saunton D-Day event,Living history was brought to life as part of the Saunton D-Day event,

Scenes from Saunton Sands D-Day event. Picture: Nigel Worth Photography.Scenes from Saunton Sands D-Day event. Picture: Nigel Worth Photography.

Scenes from Saunton Sands D-Day event. Picture: Nigel Worth Photography.Scenes from Saunton Sands D-Day event. Picture: Nigel Worth Photography.

Scenes from Saunton Sands D-Day event. Picture: Nigel Worth Photography.Scenes from Saunton Sands D-Day event. Picture: Nigel Worth Photography.