‘If Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, surely the sands of North Devon beaches contributed importantly to the success of the assault over the Normandy beaches.’
Paul W Thomson, Brigadier General, US Army
In 1943 America entered World War II. Troops were stationed in North Devon to prepare for the D-Day landings and training operations took place along the coastline between Northam Burrows and Woolacombe. As it turned out, this stretch of coastline closely resembled the Normandy beaches and was the perfect practice ground to perfect beach invasions.
The legacy of the US Army activities during World War II can be seen in our landscape – you’ll find practise pillboxes, replica landing craft made of concrete and blast walls scarred with bullet holes hidden among the dunes.
See footage of the US Army on Braunton Burrows, here: https://youtu.be/fwqSNTVfyR0
For detailed background about the US Army in North Devon, click here
To read about RAF Northam click here
For further infomration visit the Friends of the Assault Training Center https://assaulttrainingcenterfriends.co.uk/
Images Concrete Landing Craft - © Historic England