Famous ‘US’ D-Day Embarkation Town, Councillor Wants Parade Vehicles to Cut Emissions

Jim Clark and his Sherman.

US troops arrived in Dorset in the summer of 1943 from Africa and Sicily and basically took over the county. They spent almost a year training for the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II.

Weymouth and neighboring Portland were major embarkation points for US troops during D-Day, particularly the ‘Big Red 1’ – the US 1st Division who embarked for “Bloody Omaha Beach” in June 1944.

www.weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk
www.weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk

Rudders Rangers who embarked from here for the now iconic mission to take Pointe du Hoc.  The King, Prime Minister Churchill and Free French leader Gen. de Gaulle came to see the great D-Day preparations.

Rudders Rangers in Weymouth, Dorset. Embarking for Pointe du Hoc – then and now by Adam Surrey.
Rudders Rangers in Weymouth, Dorset. Embarking for Pointe du Hoc – then and now by Adam Surrey.

 

The 2nd Battalion US Army Rangers march to their landing craft in Weymouth, England. They were tasked with capturing the German heavy coastal defence battery at Pointe du Hoc.
The 2nd Battalion US Army Rangers march to their landing craft in Weymouth, England. They were tasked with capturing the German heavy coastal defence battery at Pointe du Hoc.

One angry reader commented on the local newspaper’s website – the Daily Echo

Dear deluded Council
Please send your thoughts to the millions who have been saved from generations of dictatorship and the thousands more who see the great history of these vehicles and ask about why they were needed, why the glorious dead made the ultimate sacrifice to defeat evil, our continued debt of gratitude to those who demonstrate the courage and devotion to our country while not glorifying war as its truly terrible but prepared to stand and be counted.

Perhaps the pure methane from councils should stop and they should look up some words, leadership, service, modesty and respect

And another:
Has this buffoon got nothing else to do – vintage events like this be they war related, vintage lorries / buses, steam railways are loved by millions and have a tiny footprint on the environment. Can I assume that this councillor is a liberal? I hope he never has any serious problems to worry about.

www.weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk
www.weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk

The Brits come together once a year to commemorate all armed forces. Now it looks  small town Councilor is trying to make a name for himself.

Weymouth Now & Then. Credit: Adam Surrey
Weymouth Now & Then. Credit: Adam Surrey

 

British landing craft, US Army troops, and US Coast Guard LCI(L)s staged at Weymouth, Dorset, England, United Kingdom prior to the Normandy invasion, June 1944.
British landing craft, US Army troops, and US Coast Guard LCI(L)s staged at Weymouth, Dorset, England, United Kingdom prior to the Normandy invasion, June 1944.

Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the last Saturday of June each year in the UK. For the last 25 years, Weymouth has hosted a celebration which has become very popular. Over 40,000 people attend the weekend-long festivities. One of the highlights of the festival is the parade featuring veterans, military vehicles and marching bands.

But it was recently noted that the vehicles that take part in the parade do not conform to policies in place since the city council announced a climate emergency and called for a reduction in emissions from vehicles within the town.

The military vehicles in the parade do not meet these policies leading some to speculate that they were being banned from appearing in the parade. The council brought it up for discussion at their September 8th meeting.

US Army soldiers boarding landing craft at Weymouth, Dorset, England, United Kingdom, while preparing for the Normandy operation, 1 May 1944; note barrage balloons aloft and on the ground.
US Army soldiers boarding landing craft at Weymouth, Dorset, England, United Kingdom, while preparing for the Normandy operation, 1 May 1944; note barrage balloons aloft and on the ground.
www.weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk
www.weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk

Before the meeting, Councillor David Harris said that the council was in favor of continuing to support the armed forces but wanted to have the parade organizers examine the vehicles to see about getting them to conform to the new standards.

Councillor Louie O’Leary called the whole thing an overreaction to a trivial problem.

During the discussions in the meeting, concerns were also raised about the amount of fuel the vehicles use.

Mayor Graham Winter said that the discussion puzzled him since the parade and its budget were already approved.

Councillor Christine James said that reducing emissions was important but she felt it was hypocritical to be targeting the parade when there were so many cars on the seafront that were not being handled.

Councillor Ryan Hope sought to assuage any fears that the council was seeking to ban military vehicles from the parade. He stated that the purpose of the environmental assessment in events proposals is to have the organizers look into the impact their event will have on the environment and to find ways to offset those impacts in order to reduce the overall impact they have.

 

Councillor Tony Ferrari was concerned that, if council should exclude military vehicles from the parade in order to promote environmental causes, the vehicles would simply go to some other town and appear in their parade. His concern was that they would not succeed in stemming the effect of these vehicles on the environment and would additionally divert tourist money to other towns.

Ferrari went on to say that he felt the best strategy was to not exclude the military vehicles but to try to mitigate the impact they have on the environment.

A substantive motion to continue the event as it currently exists for the duration of the current administration was unanimously approved. This means that the military vehicles will continue to be featured in the parade for the near term.

The event was cancelled in 2020 due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, people were encouraged to find ways to support the armed forces from their own homes.

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Armed Forces Day 2021 celebrations in Weymouth are scheduled to take place from June 19th to June 21st.