Plymouth will be honouring the memory of thousands of British and Allied Servicemen who were based in the city as part of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings this week.
The Lord Mayor will lead a delegation of Civic Leaders together with the Royal Navy and ex-service personnel in a ceremony at the American War Memorial, Saltash Passage on Thursday 6 June at 11am.
In November 1943, the US Navy set up an advanced amphibious base in Plymouth ahead of the Allied invasion of Europe. In January 1944, a temporary camp for around 2,000 men opened on Vicarage Road as a training camp in preparation for the Normandy Landings and remained operational until August 1945.
On 6 June 1944, soldiers of V and VII Corps left from Saltash Passage for Omaha and Utah Beaches. The concrete slipway or landing hard that was built for the US soldiers to join their landing craft still remains.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Pete Smith said: “It is incredibly important that we stop and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice 75 years ago and the area around Saltash Passage is incredibly important in the city’s history, as it was the last sight many American soldiers had of British land as they headed off to begin the liberation of Europe. Many of them never returned and we owe it to them to remember them.”
The service of remembrance is being taken by the Lord Mayor’s Chaplain, Reverend Joe Dent at the American War Memorial with the city’s civic leaders, members of the Federation of Plymouth and District Ex-Services Associations and representatives from the United States Embassy and tri-service armed forces.
The commemorations this year have also included the poignant installation of D-Day Bootprints at the Normandy Landings memorial in Plymouth.
The Bootprints are part of a campaign by the charity ‘There But Not There’ who are raising funds from the sale of the haunting Bootprint vinyls to remember each of the British, Allied and Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the Battle of Normandy.
The installation recognises the men and women from Plymouth who took part in the D-Day landings, as well as the thousands of military personnel who used the city as an embarkation point.