Sunday, June 1, 2014

Trebah - A Real Victory Garden

Near the village of Mawnan Smith, Cornwall, there are a couple of gardens well worth a visit. I personally prefer the funkier Glendurgan, but Trebah is very nice as well.

When you have been struggling through a long, cruel Wisconsin winter it is a very pleasant shock to the system to stroll about in April and see this sort of stuff:

House sized rhododendrons, carpets of fallen magnolia blossoms, palm trees, bamboo....heck, they can even manage a few bananas down there in the garden spot of the U.K.  You just get a sense of tranquility. As if it has always been peaceful here.

But that is not actually true.

In 1943 there were American troops about.  They were training in secret.  The groves and thickets of Trebah Gardens played their own role, they were a beautiful and effective camouflage for ammunition dumps.

American troops outside the Red Lion pub in Mawnan Smith...and the same spot today.

Finally everything was ready.  In the last few days of May, 1944 a road was quickly constructed from the heights above down to the tiny beach at the foot of Trebah Gardens. A concrete breakwater was assembled and 70 years ago today, on June 1st 7,500 men from the U.S. 29th Infantry Division clambered aboard 10 LSTs that were nosed up to the shore.

It is a quiet place today.  Most of the military construction work has been removed.  But I think this bit is a little remaining slice. Here the young soldiers of 1944 looked out towards a fateful destination across choppy seas.

They were on their way to Omaha Beach.

Those young men are now very old men, those that did not find death on June 6th or in the long years that followed.  I liked the sentiments found on a worn, humble memorial just above the breakwater:

1 comment:

The Old Man said...

Outstanding post, amigo. The plaque says it all.