We woke up on the morning of 3rd June, and they were gone; just like that, overnight.
This is the memory of local man recalling the 2nd Battalion American Rangers who were billeted in Bude; who trained on our beaches for the invasion of Normandy and then packed up overnight.
75% of the young men lost their lives at Pointe du Hoc, yet the mission was a success. The liberation of Europe followed and we do not have the freedom we have today had it not been for the huge sacrifice made by British, American and Canadian troops on Omaha, Juno, Utah, Gold and Sword beaches during Operation Overlord on 6th June 1944. It is so very important that commemorate their bravery, 75 years after the biggest and most daring of all invasions.
…This was a fine gesture on the part of the British people and it showed the spirit and enthusiasm these people have in their pursuit of the war. They had made many sacrifices previously but now they were actually giving up parts of their own homes, so that we could be billeted. A friendlier gesture than this could never be made by anyone, anywhere…
From the diary of an American Ranger stationed here in Bude
“I can’t help but to look back and to think how grand these people were to us. They took complete strangers into their private homes and cared for as tenderly. They never complained about anything we did and always went about their tasks cheerfully. No wonder these Britishers have earned, the respects and admiration of the entire world. I knew then how these people had the courage to stand off their enemies in the worst days of Dunkirk and of the Blitz. I knew then which side was going to emerge victorious from this conflict.”
US Rangers Memorial Stone
Bude locals remember the American troops with fondness and in 2014, thanks to Brian Woolcott, a memorial stone was erected at the top of Summerleaze Downs in Bude.
Lest We Forget.