The Friendly Invasion

Sherman tanks on Saunton sands

Living in such a beautiful place means that every summer season the roads, beaches, towns and villages around North Devon fill with holidaymakers. Some welcome the visitors for their summer trade, some feel they bring life and vibrancy, but some complain that it feels like an invasion.

Imagine then an invasion that brought 14,000 US troops, their vehicles and equipment into North Devon.

Imagine an invasion that caused you to be evacuated from your home if you lived in Putsborough, Croyde, Saunton or Georgeham.

An invasion where real bombs were being exploded and live ammunition was being fired on our very doorsteps!

This happened back in 1943, but this invasion was of the friendly kind as these troops were using Saunton Sands, Braunton Burrows, Croyde beach and Putsborough beach to train for the invasion of Nazi occupied Europe. D-Day!

Live online Zoom presentation

On Wednesday 20th January, Braunton Countryside Centre are proud to present a live, online Zoom presentation by World War II Historian Richard Bass who takes a fascinating look at Braunton’s important role in the war and how remains of the American’s stay are still a visible part of the areas heritage today.

The online event starts at 7.30pm with tickets priced at just £3.83 each.

For tickets and more information, visit the event page:

The friendly invasion with Richard Bass tickets

American troops training on Braunton Burrows

This is fascinating military history which will appeal to residents and visitors to the area or anyone interested in the military history of both the UK and the USA.

  • Find out why the US army chose North Devon to train.
  • Find out where they stayed and the impact on the local community.
  • Find out how they reconstructed Hitler’s Atlantic Wall and used live ammunition to make training as realistic as possible.

Richard Bass

Richard Bass is a specialist writer and speaker in military history. He has worked as a battlefield guide in Europe and uncovered many lost or unknown facts and stories about the war, many of which he has worked into his many books.

Richard Bass. Spirits in the sandOne book in particular covers this very subject and is entitled “Spirits in the sand“. It is the story of the U.S. Army WWII Assault Training Centre (ATC) in North Devon.

The book includes training details of the combat troops who would spearhead the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy. A story never before told, researched from archive documents, maps and recollections of those who served and trained there.

Richard also runs the Friends of the Assault Training Center, which is a voluntary group dedicated to uncovering and protecting the military history in the area.

This presentation will be educational, entertaining and fascinating to anyone who knows the area well.

The event will going out live on Wednesday 20th January at 7.30pm, with tickets priced at £3.83 each. Find out more…

The friendly invasion with Richard Bass event information

More information

Here are some links to external websites with further information about the American’s visit to North Devon and the US Assault Training Centre:

You Might Also Like