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The Americans in Tetbury

Today is June 6th in the year 2014. At dawn on this day seventy years ago, the day was simply referred to as D-Day. Code-named Operation 'Neptune' it marked the beginning of Operation 'Overlord', the invasion of German-occupied Europe by the Allied Forces under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. This invasion which took place on the Normandy coast of France was the largest amphibious assault ever conceived. It involved five army divisions as part of the initial assault, supported by over 7,000 ships and 11,000 aircraft. In total, 75,215 British and Canadian troops, and 57,500 US troops were landed by sea on D-Day. Another 23,400 were landed from the air by parachute or glider. In the grand scheme of all things historical, what happened here in Tetbury during the six months prior to those landings paled into obscurity, overshadowed by the true horrors of the War. The American soldiers stationed here were not front-line troops and they were not part of that first day, however the work they did was of vital importance to the preparation, planning and execution of both Operations Neptune and Overlord, as you will discover as I tell this, their story. Once the Normandy Beaches were secured, the men of the 654th Battalion followed their comrades, taking with them all of their survey, mapping and printing skills. The invasion may have been a military success but the Germans were far from being a spent force, and the War was far from over.
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