Living above Bolton Cross, we could hear a lot of noise passing down Fore Street.
My mother and I walked down to Bolton Cross to see what was going on and saw all the GIs in jeeps, tanks, bulldozers and ducks making their way down Fore Street to the harbour.
I can remember their faces and their looks, not laughing, cheering faces we had seen before as they passed; their faces were sad and grim. Some did wave, knowing maybe they were going to their deaths. Very few folk were around as we were and I remember a Special Constable saying to us “you should go home my dears, you shouldn’t be here.”
They still passed on to the landing barges all ready for them in Brixham Harbour, there were hundreds of them, in fact one could have walked across the harbour to the breakwater without getting your feet wet.
We were still getting hit and run raids in Brixham. The night the troops left the Americans put up smoke screens. I remember looking out of my bedroom window, one minute I could see the moon and the next minute this “cloud” came over. I ran downstairs thinking it was a gas attack. We need not have worried as we realised it was a smoke screen right over Brixham and the harbour.
The crafts all left the following day sailing away for D-Day and France.
Harold Wood celebrated his 100th birthday on the 16th of February 2019. Here he recalls his wartime service in the Royal Canadian Airforce specialising in radar defences around the coast of the UK, arriving in Brixham to help with the D-Day preparations.
I was a Belgian refugee during the war, in Brixham. I was 11 years old when the war broke out. One bomb fell near the gas tank which began to leak; another fell on the off-licence in Fore Street, killing the parents of a National School friend of mine. Three times, German planes gunned my father while he was fishing, but the last time was the worst…