Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Operation Tiger -The Slapton Sands Disaster

As part of the build up for D-Day the allied forces starting practising for the invasion by conducting number of exercises along the British coast the area called Slapton Sands in Devon was chosen due to how similier it was to the Utah beach area .The  entire area was evacuated and live fire excercises took place causing alarge amount of damage to the area but also causing caualties amongst the US forces as some off them were unaware of the use of live ammo ,however the worst incident occured on the night of the 28th April 1944 when a number of landing ships were attacked by E Boats ,the protection force of 2 Royal Naval ships was already at a disadvantage as one of them HMS Scimitar had collieded with a landing ship and returned to portand the remaining ship was on a different radio channel to the US landing ships so when they spotted the e boats they believed they had warned the convoy ,but the convoy was totally un aware and when the e boats opened fire thought it was part of the live fire excersises until ships started to explode . Two of the large landing ships were sunk and 2 more damamged with almost 1000 lives lost .Due to the secrecy of the excercises news f the deaths was kept secret for along time starting conspiracy theories and rumours of lies of how the disaster happened . The incident has had very little coverage and the only monument officially placeed was one to the local people thanking them for giving up their homes at the time .In 1974 Ken Small local business man arranged for a Sherman Tank which had sunk during the excersises to be raised and placed just off the beach at Torcross the nearest village to Slapton Sands with plagues to the dead and describing the disaster ,this was done with little or no help from the British or American governments with small actually having to pay the americans for  the tank .Ken Small sadly died just before the 60th anniversary of the incident but his book the forgotten dead about the struggle to build amonument to the lost service men is a nice read and the monument is afitting tribute to those men who died ,ironically more US service men died in the excercise than did in the actual battle for utah beach .
The official monument to the people of Devon 

The Sherman raised by Ken Small

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