Wales

Pembrokeshire memorial plan for US D-Day servicemen

Former World War II control tower at Carew Cheriton
Image caption The memorial is to be located at a former World War Two control tower at Carew Cheriton

A group of volunteers are hoping to build a memorial to commemorate the US servicemen who trained for D-Day in Pembrokeshire.

About 5,000 American soldiers from the 110th US Infantry Regiment, part of the 28th US Infantry Division, were based in the county from October 1943.

The bulk of the soldiers were stationed at Llanion Barracks, but others were based across Pembrokeshire.

The memorial is planned for the former RAF base at Carew Cheriton.

Keith Hamer, a volunteer with the Carew Cheriton Tower Group which is behind the project, says the idea was inspired by the recent flypast in Sheffield.

"It came to me about three years ago. What boosted it was the memorial up in Sheffield. I thought why can't we have one here for the people of Pembrokeshire?"

"There's no memorial here. It's so important."

Image caption Keith Hamer, one of the volunteers, says he has been in contact with the US embassy

He hopes a memorial stone with plaques will placed at the World War Two control tower in Carew.

Mr Hamer said a ceremony was likely to held in October, and he been in contact with the local Valero Refinery and the US embassy for support.

The Carew Cheriton Tower Group was set up in 2000, with the aim to restore and preserve the site.

John Brock, president of the group, said: "When schools come here, I always tell them to remember the cost of our freedom."

On the 1 April 1944, the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, paid a surprise visit to the 110th regiment while Prime Minister Winston Churchill observed invasion exercises on the beaches of Amroth and Wiseman's Bridge.

Shortly afterwards, the 110th left Pembrokeshire to prepare for the assault on the beaches of Normandy.

Of the 5,000 men who left Pembrokeshire, it is estimated only 500 were still fit for combat duty by the end of 1944.

Image caption Marjorie Davies remembers the GIs in Pembrokeshire

Marjorie Davies, 91, remembers the GIs at dances held at Cresselly House.

"I used to just enjoy sitting and watching them doing their jive and their jitterbugs. It was fantastic," she said.

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