Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beauty Masks a Tragic History Part 2

As we stared out to sea the mist thickened and we knew we should return to the track. If we timed it wrong the track would be flooded and we would have to retrace our steps
.The track then became difficult to spot as it crossed an area of large rough pebbles. We had to keep our eyes open for a causeway of rough pebbles which crosses one of the water courses.




We admired the Jacob sheep and followed the path between two water channels.

A relic of WW2

Through the kissing gate,

over the bridge which crosses the Hawkcombe stream

and reached our goal - the USAF Memorial built by the British Legion. At 7.20 am on October 29th 1942 an American Liberator, based in the New Forest took off for operation U boat in the Bay of Biscay. They turned round at 11.30am but three hours later, due to heavy rain and poor visibility they clipped Bossington Hill and crashed into Porlock Marsh. There was only one survivor out of a crew of 12.



The Memorial used to be at the back of the shingle ridge but was moved intact to its present position in August 2006. The footbridge was built in 2003 as part of the diversion of the Coast Path following the floods of October 1996 which destroyed the old line of the path nearer to Porlock Weir. We spent some time reading the names of the airmen and then went back over the bridge to rejoin the track. The Marsh area is like an ampitheatre surrounded by the hills of Exmoor. As we walked inland the gloom lifted and we managed an alfresco drink at the Ship Inn in Porlock. Back in time for MTL's creation of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on crumpets.
Posted by Picasa

15 comments:

R. Sherman said...

It's good that such memorials exist and that we remember from time to time. Thanks for telling this story.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I was thinking the same as R. Sherman, that we should never forget.

Here, we don't even think about what could've happened to our grandparents / parents / aunts / uncles / others if Hitler had won that war.

We too have soldiers who helped to fight. My mother tells me of how our country contributed in other ways too. Our writers don't seem to know.

Pat said...

Randall: it's amazing how many people round here don't know about it. It was my son who discovered it - on the Internet I suppose.

GG: would it be worth doing some research on it? I know you are strapped for time.

Pat said...

GG: just a quick google:
When Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, Guyana, like other British West Indian colonies, gave full support to the war effort. Some Guyanese men volunteered to fight and they formed part of the British Caribbean Forces. In addition, Guyanese volunteered to serve overseas with the British Navy, Royal Air Force, and the Women's Corps. Some also travelled to Britain to work in the munitions factories.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

well, a double/triple treat here today - magnificent photos, a poignant story and a bit of history - wonderful, pat - putting a personal touch on historical events is so very important, lest we forget -

Ponita in Real Life said...

I was thinking just what Gypsywoman said... I'm glad they relocated things to prevent ruin from flooding. You always give such wonderful history lessons, Pat! Followed by food, usually... ;-)

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful post today and the last few days.
I can only agree with what @gypsywoman said !

cheers, parsnip

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How really wonderful that a Memorial was erected in Memory of these American Airmen. Thank you, dear Pat, for sharing this bit of important Histoty from WW2---it is quite touching....And Indeed, it was a Tragedy.

Pat said...

Gypsywoman: thank you for our very kind words/

Ponita: oh you noticed we usually have a food reward:)

Parsnip: it's grand to have such kind appreciation. I don't deserve it>

Naomi: the Americans were very popular over here during that time and we owe a lot to them. One of them became my uncle - married to my aunt until his recent death.

Granny Annie said...

I have learned a lot from this post. It it nice to know such a memorial was built to honor U.S. Airmen. The events of operation U boat in the Bay of Biscay are numerous and you have brought it all to light for your blog friends.

Minnie said...

The beauty makes it all the more poignant. You're right ...

Pat said...

Minnie: one would have hoped landing in a marsh there would be more survivors. Alas not.

debra said...

Fitting that the photos are hauntingly beautiful, Pat. My mother-in-law often talked about the American soldiers in Chester. In fact, she married one.

Macy said...

Fantastic stuff Pat.

Pat said...

Debra: like my auntie Jean. And Jean probably met George in Manchester. They might have been at the same base.

Macy: thank you :)