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PHOTOS AND VIDEO: Woolacombe beach invasion for training centre anniversary

By NDJPeter  |  Posted: August 31, 2013

  • Living historians take to the Woolacombe beach

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AN invasion of Woolacombe beach has helped mark 70 years since the founding of a US training centre in the village.

The event has seen living historians from across the country descend upon the beach to take part in a range of displays, from landmine clearance to the mock beach invasion.

Established in September 1943, the US Army Assault Training Centre used the beach to teach and train American infantry the tactics of amphibious assault in preparation for D-Day.

Nigel Worth, one of the organisers, said he had been surprised by the turnout and hoped that it had made more people aware of the centre.

He said: “I think it has been a very impressive day. We have had lots and lots of people.

“We opened up the landing craft on the hour every hour for people to come in, but they have just merged together. There are just so many people wanting to have a look inside and have their picture taken.”

Despite long delays, the crowds remained out for the feature event, which saw members of three living history groups take part in the storming of the beach - complete with pyrotechnics.

Nigel said: “I would just like to thank everyone who took part today and made it such a huge success - but especially Braunton museum which helped secure the funding to make this possible.”

Events continue on Sunday with a special wreath-laying ceremony at 11am before a spectacular fly past from vintage aircraft.

Video: Living historians storm Woolacombe beach

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