During the Second World War Devon was reputedly the most militarised county in Britain. This was particularly so just before D-Day when every town and village was bursting with American troops preparing to take part in the liberation of occupied Europe. But the story of Devon at War begins long before that and in this film you will visit places that were affected throughout the conflict, and hear the testimonies of people who were living there at the time. Their recollections re-live a time when Devon, along with the rest of the country, was fighting for survival.
You will see how Plymouth and Exeter experienced some of the most devastating air attacks outside London, while even smaller communities along the south coast such as Exmouth and Teignmouth suffered from the shock tactics of ‘tip and run’ raids. Tribute is paid to the crucial role of the county’s ports and harbours, which did so much to keep Britain’s Navy afloat and at the forefront of operations. You will see airfields such as RAF Exeter, which was fundamental to victory during the Battle of Britain, and Dunkeswell, from where the United States Air Force hunted enemy submarines.
Perhaps most important of all, Devon’s incalculable contribution to all aspects of Operation Overlord is acknowledged, on land, sea, and in the air. In the north of the county at Woolacombe, you will see how American forces prepared for D-Day, while in the south the Slapton Sands tragedy, which left hundreds dead, is closely examined. At Torquay and Brixham, you will see the locations from where Allied forces sailed to the Normandy beaches.
Written and presented by historian and author Henry Buckton, this documentary is further enhanced by stunning archive material and evocative modern film.