Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Links and Ties II



In the early hours of the 28th of April 1944 eight Landing Ship Tanks (LST’s), full of American servicemen were in Lyme Bay, off the coast of Devon, England. Their purpose to take part in Exercise Tiger, the realistic rehearsals for the D-Day landings in Normandy. The night turned into tragedy as a group of patrolling German e-boats discovered and attacked them. At the end of Exercise Tiger 946 American serviceman had lost their lives.

Slapton 2 

And that is how something as mundane as an empty powdered milk barrel found its way into the Cookworthy Museum in Kingsbridge, it was left in the Trout’s Hotel, which was seconded as an officers mess during the exercise (the whole area was evacuated of civilians; an everyday thing that can only hint at the scale of the operation and its impact on the service men and women and the local population.

The military history of Exercise Tiger can be found here, it was a tragedy,


that was shrouded in secrecy for over 40 years with many of the families of those who died having no idea about what happened (as my mum is fond of saying about WWII, ‘There was a lot we never knew about’.) Then thanks to the exceptional efforts of the late Ken Small, who managed to locate and lift from the seabed a Sherman Tank that had been lost that night and to then dedicate it as a fitting memorial to all those who died.

Sherman Tank Slapton

I think I have to look at this beautiful place in a slightly different light.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

6 thoughts on “Links and Ties II

  1. Sometimes I think there is not one square yard of land on earth that has not seen violent death. The redeeming truth is that in spite of that, we go on, life finds a way, and marching soldiers retire to watch the marching swans. But we should never forget. No indeed. Not ever.

  2. An interesting bit of U.S. history that they don’t teach about in schools. Thank you.

  3. Thanks for this interesting, and informative, post about a rarely mentioned wartime tragedy. xx

  4. I followed up the link to the Ken Small story. What remarkable man to show such persistence. And to realise that what was no longer of any significance to officialdom was something that plenty of other people cared very much about. I guess this episode has never been made into a major motion picture because it just didn’t have a happy ending – unless you count the salvage of the Sherman Tank. Tom Hanks, what do you say?

  5. Thanks for revealing this previously unknown (to me) historical happening Uphill’, fascinating.

    I now also see why you had Sherman Tanks on the brain.

  6. Pingback: 11.11.11 | Uphilldowndale

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