Thursday, June 21, 2012

US Army visit to Swanage Sat 30 June

Saturday 30th June 2012.

A delegation of US Army and diplomatic personnel including a surviving GI Wes Mullen who was Billeted in Swanage from 1943 until June 1944 will be visiting Swanage to dedicate a memorial on the recreation ground
Full details of the day and timings below (in Comments)


The Postman said...

Key events are: 11.00am Arrive at Swanage Station (as they would have in 1943), met by as many of the Townsfolk of Swanage waving US flags as possible with the Mayor providing a formal welcome – driven to the recreation field, around Swanage by a GI re-enactment team for the Memorial Dedication where we hope as many of the Town as possible will be in attendance…

D DAY Facts:
In excess of 1000 US Army Troops of the American First Division were billeted in Swanage for training for 7 months prior to the D Day invasion. They carried out beach landing practice on the beaches of Studland and as far as we know, incursion training at Tyneham. They were billeted at various Guest Houses around the Town and area.
The American 1st Division landed at Omaha Beach on June 6th 1944 contributing to a total US Contingent of 34,250 US military personnel to land at Omaha
First day casualties on Omaha Beach were in excess of 2000 men
In total 73,000 US Troops took part in the D Day landings and first day USA casualties were 6,600

It is fitting that the people of Swanage are paying tribute to the huge part and sacrifice that these men made in the cause of the liberation of Europe.

The key points for events on Saturday 30th June are as follows:

Welcoming party to assemble at Swanage station
Arrive at Swanage Station: Town band, press, mayor and full welcoming party to be present for official welcome. Town Crier to announce arrival. Band strikes up with an appropriate tune after which the Mayor to say a few words of welcome,
Gates at both ends of Shore Rd to be opened
Wes & Mayor to be driven by lead GI jeep with others in second jeep to do a circular route through the town past the Town Hall down Kings Road and then into Shore RD, with Harley cavalcade crew behind and led by Coastguard Land cruiser with flashing lights etc. All remaining Guests and dignitaries at station make their way on foot to the recreation field including the GI re-enactment Team to be in place at the 4 corners of the memorial for the arrival
Arrive at Recreation Field for dedication – as follows; Mayor Bill Trite to be Master of Ceremonies – lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Swanage – say a few appropriate words. Then hand to Rev. John Wood for the main dedication. Then hand to US Visitor to lay flowers and say a few words.
South Gate on Shore Rd to be closed
Retire to The Grand Hotel – (refreshments available from 12pm) for lunch – 2 x Jeeps to take Wes’s party to Grand Hotel drop off and then GI Re-enactment Team can enjoy downtime..all other invited Guests (see attached list) to make own way up to Grand photo opportunity at Bella Vista – ample time for socialising anticipate finish by 14.15pm
Bill Trite to present Wes Mullen with a Swanage plaque/shield with the words “With grateful thanks from the People of Swanage ~ 30th June 2012”

Anonymous said...

My father was one young American GI such billeted in Swanage riory to D Day.

When he revisited the town in 1996, he tried to make contact with the British Royal Legion; but was rebuffed. He died rather disappointed in modern Swanage, but wrote it off to being 'a different time', an episode which I regret to this day.

rosieseashell said...

I cannot explain the rebuff from the RBL in Swanage, only to say that the GI topic in Swanage was little known in 1996. Even the local Swanage museum would have had virtually nothing until I supplied it all by my interenet in GI research started only in 2000. I'm sure, you would have a different and better Swanage reception today in 2013. Ask for Elmo behind the bar at the Swanage RBL. You must visit the GI memorial on the Swanage seafront by their own RBL memorial. Mike Ford