North Devon’s D-Day secrets revealed

Troops preparing for D-Day in North Devon. Troops preparing for D-Day in North Devon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
8:24 AM

Presentation at Saunton Golf Club on Friday (November 30) will lift the lid on one of the most crucial periods in the region’s history.

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Testing of experimental military equipment at Instow.Testing of experimental military equipment at Instow.

THE North Devon coast and its estuaries was changed beyond recognition 68 years ago as thousands of Allied troops began training for the most important operation of World War Two.

This Friday people can find out much more about this fascinating period of the area’s history with a slide show and film presentation called Preparing for D-Day at Saunton Golf Club.

The show will be presented by historian Andrew Byrom and will be raising money for the Forget-Me-Not Project plus Devon Air Ambulance.

It will show the impact of D-Day preparations on the area, including British and American troops training on Braunton Burrows, the formation of RAF Chivenor and Braunton Home Guard plus air raids around the village.

Tales of the huge mine field laid on Saunton Beach and its subsequent removal using German prisoners of war as labour, the building of an American army camp on the edge of Braunton and German planes dropping in are just some of the facts that will be revealed.

The second part of the show will is entitled North Devon’s Most Secret War, by the late Vic Thompson and tells of how around 25,000 troops passed through the region as they trained for D-Day.

It includes scenes of weird and wonderful military equipment tested at Instow.

The presentation on Friday starts at 7.15pm and doors open at 6.30, with admission £3. Refreshments, a raffle and a bring-and-buy stall will also be on hand.

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