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Communities across the South Hams will mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day this week

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Communities across the South Hams will mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day this week

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Areas across the South Hams are commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings this week.

D-Day, 6 June, 1944, was the date of the Normandy landings during the Second World War. The joint ground and air offensive landed on French soil and began the invasion and liberation of France and eventually the rest of Europe that was, at the time, under Nazi control. 

World War II, Official U.S. Coast Guard photograph of American soldiers leaving an LCT to invade Omaha Beach on D-Day, 1944

Much of the preparations and training took place in the South Hams, with villages surrounding Slapton being evacuated to ensure residents' safety and secrecy of the ongoing military operations. 

Although the D-Day operations were ultimately successful, they cost the lives of around 5,000 men, with at least 10,000 Allied casualties, the first day alone. 

World War II, The Battle of Normandy, 1944

Preparations for the invasion were costly too, especially Exercise Tiger, a large-scale rehearsal for the D-Day, which took place in April 1944 on Slapton Sands.

Exercise Tiger memorial at Memorial Car Park, Slapton Sands

Coordination and communication problems resulted in friendly fire injuries during the exercise, and an Allied convoy positioning itself for the landing was attacked by E-boats of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, resulting in the deaths of at least 749 American servicemen.

Across the South Hams, communities are coming together to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. 

Omaha Beach after D-Day. Protected by barrage balloons, ships delivered trucks loaded with supplies. June 7-10, 1944, World War 2. Normandy, France.


10.30am-11.30am - South Devon Railwav, local schoolchildren and Totnes Women’s Institute re-enact what it was like to be an evacuee - Totnes Riverside Station

11.30am - Kathy Alexander D-Day 80 Guided Walk

11.30am - Peter Osborne illustrated talk/Seven Stars

1pm - St Mary’s Church Service Commemoration

3.30pm - St John's Community Choir 1940's songs outside St Mary's Church

4pm - Commonwealth War Graves Commission presentation in the Guildhall

6pm - Army Cadets - Readings at St Marys Church War Memorial

7pm - South Devon Big Band free Commemorative Big Band Party (limited numbers- please book in advance) at the Civic Hall, Totnes

9.30pm - Lighting of Beacon (Kingsbridge Hill) - Totnes Town Council

June 3 @ 8pm and June 8 @ 11.30am - Totnes Image Bank presents an Illustrated talk given by TIB member and local tourist guide Kathy Alexander for a special D-Day guided walk around Totnes


2pm - Special Exercise Tiger Memorial Service will be held at the Sherman Tank Torcross 2pm 

3pm - Prayers at the War Memorial - Rev Andrew Langley 

3:15pm - Flypast by Royal Airforce Battle of Britain Memorial Flight – Hawker Hurricane


11am - at the War Memorial on Thursday, June 6, there will be a wreath-laying and a special proclamation by the Town Crier

1pm - special proclamation on the Town Square followed by a celebratory peal of bells at St Thomas, Dodbrook church at 1.30pm

Saturday, June 8, from 2 pm till closing, the Mill Club will host a series of celebratory events

2pm - at the Mill Club - Cream Tea and a special proclamation by the Town Crier, followed by KATs' "Home thoughts on D-Day" - a series of diary readings, poems and letters from local people who had to leave their homes before the D-Day preparations

From 4pm till 6pm - The Polka Dot Peaches will provide entertainment, performing swing, jazz and rock'n'roll in their vintage outfits and victory rolls to transport you back in time

Cookworthy Museums Exhibition on Fore Street will run alongside the D-Day celebrations with their newest exhibition, "Six weeks to go", which looks at the evacuation of local villages in the area

The exhibition is open from Monday to Friday 10.30 am to 3.30 pm

The exhibition is about life in the South Hams during World War II as American troops evacuated whole villages – including Slapton and Blackawton – to enable them to partake in D-Day preparations. In the Lorenz Room


Taking place on June 6 2024, Salcombe will commemorate the day with a series of events taking place across the town culminating in the lighting of the beacon at 9.15pm

From 1pm - 4pm - Cliff House will host a Second World War and D-Day display created by Salcombe Maritime Museum

2pm - 3pm - Holy Trinity Church will hold a service for children, parents and the community with the reading of D-Day heroes poem by pupils from Salcombe, Malborough and West Alvington primary schools

4pm - 5.30pm - Cliff House will hold a Salcombe and D-day Illustrated talk and film presented by Roger Barrett

4pm - 5.30pm - Children's D-Day activities with the Young Salcombe Centre

6.30pm - 7pm - Holy Trinity Church bells will ring out for peace

7pm - 8pm - Salcombe Harbour estuary flotilla will take place

8pm - 9pm - Whitestrand will be host to the Kingsbridge Silver Band playing tunes from the era

8.30pm - 9pm - War Memorial to Whitestrand parade with the playing of the Last Post, the laying of the wreath followed by the commemoration parade to Whitestrand

9pm - 9.15pm - D-Day proclamation, welcome Reveille and D-Day international tribute followed by God Save the King

9.15pm - 11pm - Lighting of the D-Day beacon "Light of Peace"


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