USA to thank Seaton for its D-Day support

PUBLISHED: 08:39 09 July 2014 | UPDATED: 08:39 09 July 2014

Seaton Royal British Legion member Bill Beardsell, ex Royal Airforce Regiment,  and his wife Jean were amongst a large  crowd who attended a service at Windsor Gardens in June  to honour the heroes of D-Day.  Now Amercia is to thank  the town for its support for their troops. Photo by Chris Carson

Seaton Royal British Legion member Bill Beardsell, ex Royal Airforce Regiment, and his wife Jean were amongst a large crowd who attended a service at Windsor Gardens in June to honour the heroes of D-Day. Now Amercia is to thank the town for its support for their troops. Photo by Chris Carson

Archant

Town urged to turn out in force for historic plaque unveiling

Seaton residents are being urged to turn out in force on Sunday (July 13) to accept a heartfelt thank-you from the people of America for helping its D-Day forces.

A bronze plaque paying tribute to the resort’s wartime support for US troops will be unveiled in Windsor Gardens – marking the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings.

The memorial, which also pays tribute to the many brave Americans who lost their lives in the assault, will be dedicated at 2.15pm.

Mounted on a granite block, it recognises Seaton’s role in housing and helping the men of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry division, from January to early June 1944.

They were the first wave of Allied troops to assault Utah Beach and the first US Unit to hit the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Many of them did not return.

A party of Americans will travel to Seaton for the ceremony. Among them will be retired US Army Colonel John Rudman who has been the driving force to award this honour to Seaton. His father, Robert, was among the men stationed in the town.

A parade led by the Poole and Portland Band of The Sea Cadet Corps, consisting of the cadet forces, standards from the Royal British Legion, Royal Naval Association, Merchant Navy Association, Royal Observer Corps Association, Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies, St John Ambulance and Seaton Majorettes, will leave Marine Place at 2pm for the short march to Windsor Gardens.

There will then be a service of dedication and remembrance and the unveiling of the stone. Afterwards the parade will march past the assembled VIPs at the entrance to the town hall, where the town council will host a community reception.

Pictures and memorabilia from 1944 are being gathered and will be displayed on the day.

Chairman of Seaton Royal British Legion branch, Derek Payne MBE, said: “It is hoped that as many townspeople as possible will attend on the day to witness and support this unique and historic event.”

In a message to the people of Seaton ahead of the ceremony Colonel Rudman said:

“The United States wishes to thank you for all your efforts in support of our soldiers prior to D-Day, 6th June 1944. Specifically, the people of Seaton are commended for the following actions” :

• Welcomed, housed and supported the men of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division from January 1944 through early June 1944.

• Organised dances, entertainment and opened your homes to our soldiers.

• Took soldiers in and made them part of your family.

• Offered all the resources of your town for our soldiers needs.

• Provided support for marksmanship training alongside your Home Guard.

• Provided a positive atmosphere, that resulted in no known recorded adverse incidents for the duration of their stay.

• Knowing that many of the men of 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment might not survive the coming invasion, the people of Seaton gave some of the fondest memories for those soldiers prior to going into combat.

• Your support was instrumental in the battalion, after being the first to land on Utah Beach, attaining all their objectives in the first few hours of Operation Overlord, D-Day, June 6th, 1944.

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