Taking place annually on North Devon’s golden coast, Devon D-Day sees Saunton Sands host many classic military vehicles. Adam Simpkins reports

A drive down the beach

After packing up my van on a crisp Friday morning, I tap ‘Saunton Sands’ into the satnav and commence my journey from Bedfordshire down to North Devon. After seven hours I reach my campsite, thinking a good night’s sleep is in order.

You might be wondering what my drive to North Devon has to do with classic military vehicles? Well, although Saunton Sands and the dunes behind it are now a hotspot for sun-seekers and beachcombers, they were once a vital cog in the Allies’ efforts to push back the Germans during the preliminary phases of D-Day.

Following a large oversight at the top level of US high command, it was deemed necessary for a large training centre be constructed for GIs destined for Europe. The British had already dismissed Woolacombe, stating that it was far too stormy for amphibious training, but were happy to allow the Americans to use Devon instead.

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