Scene of World War Two battle set for new links with Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 12:57 24 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:05 10 June 2010

IN a recent visit to France, Exmouth s Mayor took the first steps to formalise relations with a seaside town in Normandy - the scene of a brutal battle in World war Two.

IN a recent visit to France, Exmouth's Mayor took the first steps to formalise relations with a seaside town in Normandy - the scene of a brutal battle in World war Two.

Cllr Joy Whipps, her husband Alan Whipps and Town Clerk John Wokersien and his wife Sue travelled to Port-en-Bussin-Huppain in Normandy.

The visit followed a presentation by Pastor David Devenny from CTC Lympstone, who had been involved with creating a memorial garden on a site overlooking Port-en-Bessin.

The town held a strategic position for the D-day landings and Royal Marines - 47 Commando - were given the mission on June 7, 1944 of recapturing the town which was fortified by gun emplacements in bunkers on the cliffs on either side of the town.

The action ensured that Port-en-Bessin was one of the first French towns tube returned to Allied hands.

Town clerk John Wokersien said: "Without this port it would have been difficult to fully supply the allied forces in the days following D-day."

Fuel was delivered through the port at first via Jerry cans then, ships then a supply pipe - PLUTO- which extended from the Isle of Wight to the town, where 1,000 gallons of fuel was delivered each day.

He added: "The suggestion for the link came from Pastor Devenny because of the very special relationship Exmouth has with the Royal Marines.

"He felt that there was a need for the communities to take responsibility for the relationship and the remembrance of the terrible actions which resulted in the D Day landing being necessary.

"He particularly wanted Exmouth to be involved because it has a key place on the heart of Royal Marines and the Royal Marines have a key place in the heart of Exmouth."

However he said while the council supported the forging of links they did not to detract in anyway the importance of the relations the town had with twins, Langerwehe and Dinan: "But we hope that some cultural relations may spring from this new association with the sea, the coast, the Channel and tourism. We look forward to small steps towards a lasting association between the towns.

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