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The US Troops' Peace Tree at Braunton

US Troops' Peace Tree at Braunton

Amateur film 1944 4 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


US troops from the US 'Assault Training Center' plant a symbol of peace in a ceremony in the grounds of St. Brannock’s Church in Braunton, North Devon on Monday 5 June. The troops are friends with Rev. J.H Prince. On 4 June General Eisenhower announces Operation Overlord and on 6 June the D-Day landings begin. The 146th Engineers are one Battalion deployed to Normandy from Southampton on 7 June and have the task of clearing underwater obstacles and mines and building bridges.

The peace tree was planted with a plaque: “This tree was planted on June 5 1944 by American enlisted men of diverse faiths visiting and volunteering work upon this scared ground during the War of Liberation as a personal tribute to Britain’s glorious stand against aggression”. The 254th constructed an assault training centre in the sand dunes at Saunton and Braunton and the 146th took over Braunton Camp. These facilities proved realistic, building exact replicas of German fortifications thought to exist in Normandy. Lt. Col. Paul W. Thompson was in charge of training the Americans for the assault on the Normandy beaches. In May 1992, as Brigadier-General, he unveiled a memorial in their honour.