On Tuesday morning Dan and I prepared to visit Dan’s dad and his wife, Pam, in the small fishing village of Brixham. We were hoping for nice weather, but as we drove towards the west, we encountered more and more angry-looking clouds.
Dan spent a lot of time in Brixham as a child so we were able to see a lot of the places he used to visit and I also was finally able to meet Dan’s dad which was nice. Generations of Ellis’s were born and raised here with history surrounding the family dating back into the late 1800’s. After we arrived George and Pam took us on a little tour of the area, the first stop was Battery Gardens.
Here’s a photo of Dan and I looking slightly awkward…
Here is a view of Brixham from one of the marina docks – In the background is a replica of the Golden Hind, a 17th century ship which was captained by Sir Francis Drake who lived in Brixham and who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.
Later in the evening, we went to a place called Stoke Gabriel which sits right on the estuary. This is where the remains of Dan’s great grandfather’s fishing trawler now lies after running aground. Although the main use for the ship was to catch fish, he also raced it in local regattas in the early 1900s and won quite a few races, one of which Dan’s Dad has the trophy for. The site where the trawler now sits has been turned into an archeological site but can only be seen at low tide. If you click here and scroll down to the picture of Glory BM 16, that is a photo of the trawler.
We had dinner at an authentic English pub that night. I’m becoming a big fan of pub food and pubs in general. They are filled with the most interesting assortment of knick knacks, the stand out piece in the establishment was what appeared to be the remains of a house cat in a shadow box.
The next day, we took the car onto the ferry over to Dartmouth across the river Dart. From there, we drove to Slapton. Slapton Sands was the site of the practice runs for the American army for the Normandy D-Day invasion during WWII. The main stretch of beach was chosen as it closely resembled those in Normandy . In 1944, the townspeople of Slapton were told they were to evacuate their homes, approximately 3,000 residents had to pack up their livestock, belongings, salvage what crops they could in 6 weeks.
Exercise Tiger was one of the most notable events that took place during the practice runs because while the American army was running their drill, German E-boats spotted them and interrupted the practice. 749 American service men were killed during the attack, fortunately the Germans did not establish what the training exercise’s main objective was. The practices at Slapton greatly contributed to the success at Normandy. A memorial was erected on the beaches
There is another memorial site backed by Ken Small that has a Sherman tank which was recovered from the sea.