Details have been revealed of a series of information boards which are to be erected to commemorate Brixham’s role during the Second World War.
The project has been organised by regeneration group Brixham Future which is aiming to create a ‘lasting legacy’. Eight boards, to be installed to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, will feature different aspects of wartime Brixham.
Brixham Future spokesman John Brennan explained: “The Churchill Memorial Garden site was originally houses demolished to create the turning circle for Sherman tanks to embark from the slipway below.
“We are delivering a major improvement by erecting eight one-metre square information boards on the garden walls alongside other potential improvements.
“The information boards, which are intended to last for the next 25 years, will link Winston Churchill, Second World War, D-Day and local people and the site in text and pictures. The site will become an educational focal point.”
The boards will include information about wartime prime minister Winston Churchill, after whom the gardens were named.
Homes were demolished where the gardens are now in 1943 to provide space for American tanks to embark as part of the 4th Infantry American Division which led the invasion of Europe. The town’s war memorial records the deaths of 125 Brixham people in the conflict.
Brixham, is known as ‘the town that helped liberated Europe’ as it played a crucial role on sea, land and air. In the key 24 hours of D Day June 6, 1944, the first American ground troops landing on Utah beach departed from the slipway below the gardens.
The boards will also record how many Brixham people volunteered to evacuate people from Belgium’s coastal ports. Coastal defences were built from 1939 including large artillery emplacements and smaller shoreline defences such as beach obstacles and machine gun emplacements.
Out of an original 130 such installations, only two remain open to the public, one of which is Brixham’s own Battery Gardens.
The port’s role in D-Day was crucial to the liberation of Europe as many of the first ground troops and heavy equipment embarked from the port’s ramps were destined for Utah beach.
More detailed information can be seen in Brixham Heritage Museum.
Original story by Ellen Grindley in Brixham News.