She looks absolutely beautiful on the water
Greenway Ferries has just refurbished the Fairmile Type B Rescue Motor Launch 497, putting her back (as much as possible) into her original wartime colours and layout, and have spent over £160,000 on making sure she stays with us as the last remaining of her kind.
On Monday we went to Dartmouth to catch the Fairmile for a 2 hour heritage tour over to Slapton Sands. It's a beautiful and poignant trip which is taken in memory of the soldiers killed in Operation Tiger during World War II. April 1944. A terrible tragedy. It's not a fun boat trip like the others. Greenway Ferries decided to run this trip to remember those who died and the story of Operation Tiger.
Slapton Sands was chosen as the practice beach for the American landing ships because it was similar to the beach in Normandy. Nine German E-Boats ambushed and attacked this practice run for the D Day landings, killing hundreds of soldiers (over 700 just from the American Landing Ships).
Officially the number of casualties is lower, but most local people believe it to have been over 2,000.
A Sherman Tank at Torcross is a memorial to the 749 US soldiers who died. Ken Small a local business man campaigned for a long time to have this memorial in place. It wasn't until 1984 that Ken Small succeeded.
We didn't land, so I don't have any other pictures to show you, although there's plenty on the web if you want to read more and take a look at the tank.
A stone pillar along the beach is a memorial from the US Army to all the locals who were evacuated in preparation for the practice.
Brixham played it's part as three of the American Landing Ships loaded and departed from the Breakwater to join the convoy.
We stopped for two minutes silence and I have to say it was very moving. The boat engines stopped and we floated silently looking across the water and the beach where all these poor soldiers lost their lives whilst practising a manoeuvre to save ours.
For more pictures and information, take a look at the company website news page and there's also a link from my blog Things To Do Page which shows the Fairmile in Brixham and has a link to more information about these boats if you'd like to know a bit more.
I never knew any of this until I moved to Brixham and saw the memorial plaques, and the Fairmile. So I thought I'd share this sad information with you, hope you don't mind.