Exercise Tiger, or Operation Tiger, was the code name for one in a series of large-scale rehearsals for the D-Day invasion of Normandy which took place on Slapton Sands in Devon. Co-ordination and communication problems resulted in friendly fire deaths during the exercise and an Allied convoy positioning itself for the landing was attacked by E-boats of the German Kriegsmarine, both resulting in the deaths of 946 American servicemen. The incident was under the strictest secrecy at the time due to the impending invasion and was only nominally reported afterwards with survivors being sworn to secrecy.
During this time, the surrounding area, some 30,000 acres of land, containing 180 farms and 3,000 people was evacuated. The locals were given just 6 weeks to vacate their homes without question or complaint and some never returned.
The Memorial Service, held on Sunday 28th April 2013, was well attended following a weekend of activites to mark the start of the 70th anniversary year. It had been decided to hold the memorial service at the start of the year to enable as many of the veterans as possible to make the journey and be a part of the commemorations.
The Service, held in sight of the Sherman Tank memorial, commenced with a parade of armed forces regimental and association standard bearers and the welcoming of two veterans of Exercise Tiger, the third not able to attend due to a recent accident. John Casson, Chairman of the Exercise Tiger Memorial, made initial welcomes and was followed by Jo Evans, who gave an overview of the lead up and tragic events of the time. This was followed by the Military Wives Choir singing their moving 'Wherever You Are' and Barbara Stephenson, acting US Ambassador to the UK, who gave a short speech. Hymms, wreath laying, a sermon and prayer followed along with more Military Wives performances and Captain David Stracener, Naval Attache, US Embassy, who also gave a speech. Hymms were then sung along with the American and British National Anthems. Major General Carmichael, Director General of the Army Medical Services, gave the final tribute followed by the Blessing given by the Reverend Peter Williamson.
There are many websites giving more details and pictures of Exercise Tiger, here are a few: