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1.   Before D-Day there was “Tiger”

2.   Business to business show

3.   Egyptian visitors

4.   News from Dartmouth News!

5.   Small News


1.  Before D-Day there was “Tiger”

Three American Veterans will travel to Torcross on Slapton Sands,  for what is thought to be probably their last visit to the service of remembrance to commemorate the servicemen who died in “Exercise Tiger”. Laurie Bolton from Kingsburg, California, lost her Uncle in Exercise Tiger; she will be bringing the group of veterans, together with their families and friends, to attend the 65th ceremony on Sunday 26th April, at 14.30 hours at the Tank Memorial, Torcross, South Devon, England.

Organised by the Royal Tank Regiment Association, Devon & Cornwall Branch, the ceremony is held to remember the fateful day of April 28, 1944, when German E-Boats attacked US servicemen on the exercise for the D-Day landings. The wreath laying and sounding of The Last Post at the Tank Memorial, will be followed by a Church Service at St Michael and All Angels Church, Stokenham.

Seven hundred and forty nine American servicemen lost their lives that day in an episode which remains one of the least-known Allied disasters of the Second World War. Laurie Bolton explains: “This is the second time I have organised a visit to Slapton Sands.” “My uncle, Sgt. Louis A. Bolton, (U. S. Army, 607th Graves Registration Co., 1st Platoon), was killed on board LST 531.” (the photo is of Louis A Bolton) “His body was never recovered. He was newly married, but had no children. I was born on his birthday eight years after he died. His name is on the Wall of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery in England, along with many others never found. Those whose bodies were recovered are buried there.”  The three veterans are:  Frank Derby, LST 496,  Nathan Resnick, LST 511 and Paul Gerolstein, LST 515

The similarity between the Start Bay area and the Normandy coast prompted the use of the area for full scale battle exercises. Slapton Sands was thought to be perfect to simulate practice landings for the launch of Operation Overlord on 6th June, 1944, the D-Day landings on Utah Beach, France. 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, making their way towards Slapton Sands for Exercise Tiger. A group of nine German E-Boats, alerted by heavy radio traffic in Lyme Bay, intercepted the three mile long convoy of vessels.  The heavily laden, slow moving LST’s were easy targets for the torpedo boats which set about the unprotected rear of the convoy. A series of tragedies including a British destroyer assigned as an escort being ordered into port for repairs, life jackets that pitched men forward because they were wearing them around their waists, rather than their armpits, and an error in radio frequencies, led to three of the LST’s being hit by German torpedoes and 749 American soldiers and sailors died that night, 946 in total during Exercise Tiger.

The loss of life was greater than that later suffered by the assault troops during the initial attack on Utah Beach. When the news reached the allied commanders it greatly worried them that so many lives were lost and that the news might make its way into German hands revealing the intentions for the D-Day landings.

All the villages surrounding Slapton Sands had been evacuated. The survivors were warned not to talk about the incident and did not talk about it until 50 years later. It remained a secret until a local man, the late Ken Small, then a Torcross hotelier, learnt about a Sherman Duplex Drive tank and after a long battle, managed to raise it from the sea in May, 1984. After long negotiations, he bought it from the US Government for $50. Thanks to his efforts, a plaque and a bronze memorial stand as tribute to the sacrifices made by the young servicemen. Today, his son Dean Small, still looks after the tank and together with another local man, John Casson, have set up a website dedicated to the tragedy of Exercise Tiger and to Ken Small – click here to see it.

Why not come down and stay for the weekend?

Self catering accommodation click here

Dartmouth B and B  click here

Dartmouth Hotels click here

A Tourist Guide to Dartmouth click here

2.   Business to business show

The Dartmouth Chamber of Trade are promoting local service and support businesses from the town and area by holding a trade show on Thursday April 30th from 4-7pm at the Dartmouth Yacht Club.

The idea is that retailers and accommodation providers will attend the show and meet local businesses who can help them, whether they be sign-writers or solicitors, web-site designers or computer specialists, hanging basket suppliers or printers. The show is free to visitors and is open to all – you don’t have to be a Chamber member to attend.

Any businesses or individuals wishing to book a table should contact Sarah Duggan at Baxters on Foss St (Tel 01803 839000.) Tables cost a minimal £5 for Chamber members and £10 for non-members.

The Chamber meets monthly, more information can be seen on their website by clicking here.  The Chamber of Trade are the only local organisation we know of who have all the minutes of their meetings in the public domain.  You may wonder what the Naval training vessel has to do with the Chamber of Trade?  Well, BRNC are members and provide so much employment in Dartmouth.

3.  Egyptian visitors

Richard Webb spotted these two unusual Egyptian tourists visiting Warfleet Creek over Easter...!  (It seems they are Egyptian geese)

In their tropical African home Egyptian geese frequent rivers, marshes and lakes resorting to a wide range of nesting sites. Cavities and holes in trees and abandoned nests of other birds may be selected; also ledges on cliffs and banks.

The clutches of eight or nine eggs hatch after about four weeks. The downy chicks are similar in markings to those of the shelduck. Often only one or two young survive locally following predation by crows and competition with Canada geese and grey-lag geese. So who knows?

4.   News from Dartmouth News!

If you click here you can read any of the last three years of news that we have sent out.  From the next issue we will be making a big change.  We will be using a mail server from iContact, which will enable us to work much faster.  The only difference you may notice is that the News will be sent directly to you and you will be able to see the e-mail address for you which we are using.  Also, at the bottom of the page will be a legal notice and iContact's logo.  To use this service you have to be whiter than white in terms of spam and I'm pleased to say our News scores 0.00 where spam starts at 5.00, not bad!  But why are we changing?  well our local ISP Eclipse Internet at Exeter approved by Business Link have stopped legitimate and paying business users from sending e-mails to all of their customers.  Very odd considering you pay more for a business account!  But in reality the new system is very easy to use and we can check constantly if we are breaking any ICANN Spam rules.  Most of you will simply not notice any change.  You could say we are a victim of our own success?


4.    Small News

  • Much as the DA (the Dartmouth Arms on Bayards Cove) can be a locals' secret, so is the Ernest Hawke shop in Duke Street.  Here Tony Hawken will measure in person for your carpet, advise at length about suitability and budget, show you more carpet in the back of his shop than you ever thought made and then arrange fitting.  He is a trusted local man who will look after your keys, do the job, clear up and give you back the keys next time you meet him.  The Dartmouth dot TV crew have had 'Tony' carpet in many properties and he has supplied some of the best value for money carpet we have seen.  Just like buying local food, buy your carpet from a local man you can trust.
  • Coombe Farm Studios in Dittisham near Dartmouth, Devon runs residential art courses in beautiful South Devon with artist and author Paul Riley. Currently he has last minute places available on his 'Introduction to Watercolour' from May 1st to 5th mornings only for non-residential students for just £100. Come and learn to paint with Paul Riley, a truly inspirational teacher and author of three instructional watercolour books, at his home and studios in Dittisham by the River Dart. Click here for more details.
  • Community Book Pledge - Raising Funds to Raise Child Literacy  Lisa Board is organising a community book pledge to raise funds to buy new books for three of our local Pre-schools, Dartmouth Pre School, Stoke Fleming and Blackawton.
    The three Pre schools involved are very excited by this scheme, they are all run as charities and therefore rely on fundraising for their operating costs and equipment. This will be a real boost for everyone one involved in the schools but particularly the children.
    Each school has a wish list of books and during the course of next week Lisa will be visiting local businesses and asking them to pledge some money toward the cost of these books. Businesses can either choose specific books or simply donate money. Each book donated will have a book plate displayed at the front showing the name of either the individual business/person who donated it or a list of all the contributors. Participants will be asked to display a small poster in their shop window to show that they have pledged their support. All the books will be Usborne books, a multi award winning company specialising in children's publications. With your support this will be an incredible gift from the local community.  For more details contact Lisa on 01803 833335


  • Why can't Torquay be more like South Hams?
    The local press recently ran an article about Torquay's tourism.  Click here to read it.  We take this as a huge compliment, but the quality tourism that Dartmouth attracts is because we are a small town with a beautiful river, 14 bars and World Class restaurants.  We are what we are and visitors love us!

Former Dartmouth Chronicle reporter Victoria Vaughan recently got married in St Saviour's Church Dartmouth


Why not come and visit Dartmouth?

Images copyright Dave Cawley & others. 

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Dave Cawley  Tel.  01803 833366  Fax. 01803 839498