79 – The Forgotten Dead: Exercise Tiger

‘On a dark night in 1944, a beautiful stretch of the Devon coast became the scene of desperate horror. Tales began to leak out of night-time explosions and seaborne activity. This was practice for Exercise Tiger, the main rehearsal for the Utah Beach landings…’

This is very much an episode in two halves, I start by looking at the disastrous Exercise Tiger which took place in April 1944, at Lyme Bay and Slapton Sands in Devon. Then move on to talk about a Sherman tank!

The Forgotten Dead: The true story of Exercise Tiger, the disastrous rehearsal for D-Day
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27 April 1944. Exercise Tiger. German E-boats intercept rehearsals for the D-Day landings... On a dark night in 1944, a beautiful stretch of the Devon coast became the scene of desperate horror. Tales began to leak out of night-time explosions and seaborne activity. This was practice for Exercise Tie for Exercise Tiger, the main rehearsal for the Utah Beach landings...

This fiasco, in which nearly 1,000 soldiers died, was buried by officials until it was almost forgotten. That is, until Ken Small discovered the story, and decided to dedicate the rest of his life to honouring the brave young men who perished in the disastrous exercise. Pulling a Sherman tank from the seabed, Ken created a memorial to those who died and started to share their story, and his, with the world.

This updated edition of a bestselling classic is a gripping tale of wartime disaster and rescue in the words of the soldiers who were there, and of one man's curiosity that turned into a fight to ensure that they would never be forgotten.

I’m joined by Dean Small.

Dean’s father Ken did much to rediscover those event in April 1944, and create a memorial to those who lost their lives. He wrote the book The Forgotten Dead: The true story of Exercise Tiger, the disastrous rehearsal for D-Day

You can find out more about the exercise on Dean’s website Exercise Tiger Memorial.