English memorial to US soldiers killed in D-Day practice invasion

Torcross memorial tank. It was recovered from the ocean.

Torcross memorial plaque.

From the Amazon description of The Forgotten Dead by Ken Small.

On April 28, 1944, a rehearsal for the D-Day landings off England’s Devon coast went terribly wrong. A series of blunders allowed German E-boats to intercept the convoy of landing ships, and 946 Americans—many of them young and untrained—lost their lives.

Some of them died because the US was using live ammo in a training procedure. Residents in the surrounding towns were forced to evacuate so the military could move in. Many came back to find their homes destroyed by bombings from this practice D-Day invasion and received inadequate compensation.

The Pentagon covered up the story for decades until Ken Small started investigating and eventually forced them to admit what happened.

Yet until the publication of The Forgotten Dead, the true scale of this tragedy had never before come to light. This is the story of one man and his obsession to honor the memory of the 946 American soldiers who died needlessly that night. In the early 1970s, Ken Small, a hotelier, began beachcombing along Slapton Sands, near his hotel. He soon discovered unexpended bullets, U.S. dollars, and the personal possessions of U.S. servicemen. Gradually, he pieced together the events of that night and began the struggle to erect a memorial to honor the dead soldiers. This is the story of how he fought governments on both sides of the Atlantic to uncover the truth.

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