Back to the 40s

Back to the 40s
1 – 9 June

A series of FREE events reflecting life in Brixham during the 1940s and marking the 75th Anniversary of D-Day

Back to the 40s
Dance Party

D-Day Parade

6th June 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy and with it, a momentous occasion to celebrate peace, liberty and reconciliation.

Spitfire Flight Raffle

The winning ticket is no 0261.

Congratulations to Frank Sibly from Ledbury, Hertfordshire who has gifted the opportunity to fly in a WW2 Spitfire to his daughter Olivia Sibly.


Brixham and World War 2 (1939-1945)

The Second World War has been the most destructive conflict in human history. It resulted in the deaths of a known 63 Million people worldwide. Countless millions more also suffered bereavement, injury, dislocation, loss of homes and property. It changed our world socially, politically and economically. Much of what we know today can be traced back to that era. So also can many of the challenges we still face today.

In 1939 Brixham was a small coastal fishing port with a population of around 8,000. It was radically changed by the War. Over 125 local inhabitants are recorded as killed and many more were injured, disabled or suffered loss and bereavement.

     Brixham War Memorial 1939-45

     Casualties of the bombing of Brixham

Brixham men and women played a vital role in the war effort, in the Land Army, Auxiliary Services, Home Guard, at sea in minesweepers, merchant vessels or arctic convoys, or in the air in fighter or bomber planes.

Brixham hosted a large refugee population during the war, mainly refugees from occupied Belgium. The Americans also arrived in numbers from 1943 onwards as the South West had been chosen as the practice ground for the US Forces to prepare for the invasion of France.

For the D-Day Landings, as part of Operation Neptune, the American 4th Infantry Division departed from our Breakwater Beach for the first beach to be invaded, code named Utah, in occupied France.

Today we can still recall this period of our history. It is there in our buildings and our streets. So please walk around and visit the exhibitions and displays and enjoy the activities. Take a moment to remember our forebears who served and sacrificed during the 40s. And never forget, we owe them so much for the peace and freedom we now enjoy.

So come and enjoy our heritage together. We have arranged a number of exhibitions, displays and activities for all generations to enjoy under our ‘Back to the 1940s’ celebrations of Brixham between 1st and 9th June 2019.


At the beginning of June, Brixham will be going back to the 40s. To help create the ‘war-time’ feel in the town alongside the music, sounds, street entertainers and re-enactors from the period, many shops. bars and cafes will be creating their own displays.

Sit down in a cafe and hear the great speeches of Sir Winston Churchill; the sound of the air-raid siren followed by the all clear; stop and admire the historic 1940’s vehicles in the streets; the dance displays or music in our Old Fish Market or at Shoalstone Pool; or simply chat to the re-enactors around you.

Brixham’s eminent military historian Robbie Robinson will be in circulation most days.  As well as being a great character, he is a fantastic source of local knowledge. He is always happy to stop and talk and when he does he frequently attracts a crowd!

Brixham on D-Day, a new film by the South Devon Players which records many of the memories of Brixham people who lived through these amazing times will be premiered on Sunday 2nd June.

Please note: Programme is subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control
We cannot therefore guarantee every event, activity or act will appear as published.

Free 1940’s Film Shows

We will also be providing a FREE 1940s film at the Old Coaching Inn Fore Street at (2.30pm -4pm every day accept Sunday 2nd June and Monday 3rd June. No reservations are possible and seating is on basis of first come only. The list is available here.

Free Street Entertainment

There will lots going on around the town musical performers, historical re-enactments,  40’s dance troupes, military displays and fun activities for all ages including:

  • The Liberty sisters
  • The South West Lindy Hoppers
  • Sandy Sparkle
  • Sharon Hubbocks’ Magic Bow

 More details…

Free Guided Tours

We will be conducting a series of FREE guided walking tours each day except Thurs 6th June – D-Day. Tours run from 11am -12 noon and begin at The Old Coaching Inn on Fore Street. The tours will highlight aspects of everday life in the 1940s. You can download copy of the tour notes here.

Free Public Talks

We will be conducting a series of FREE public talks in the Old Coaching from  12 -1pm every day except Thurs 6th June –D-Day. 

Topics to follow shortly……

  • Highlights
    With the 75th Anniversary of D-Day approaching, over 60 free 1940s activities, will be hitting the streets of Brixham from 1st-9th June. Organised by Brixham Future, the events are expected to attract a wide audience of visitors and residents of all generations, as Brixham business owners come together to transform […]
  • 40s Dance Party
    To celebrate the legacy of freedoms passed to us by our forbears, join us for a fun evening of live 40s music and dance at the Scala Hall on 8th June. Music is by High Society, a local band of accomplished vintage(!) musicians. There will be a bar on site […]
  • St. Mary’s Church
    A major FREE attraction . This is a must-see on your visit to Brixham. Tucked  away amid a street layout that reflects the middle ages this church is a hidden gem. It reflects not only so much of Brixham’s history but also contains a large graveyard with many WW2 graves. St. […]
  • The Old Coaching Inn
  • Vigil Service