Adrian shares this report from Sunday’s commemorations. Ed
Anglo-American wartime comradeship and sacrifice was marked by a moving series of events at Shanklin Chine on Sunday as a large gathering of invited guests recalled the crucial role played by the chine in preparations for the Dieppe Raid of 1942 and the D-Day invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe in 1944.
Sunday’s programme was primarily organised as part of the 75th anniversary commemoration of D-Day.
Chine an ideal training ground
The dramatic terrain of the chine’s coastal ravine had proved an ideal training ground for detachments of Royal Marines and US Army Rangers during the build-up to the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944, when men billeted in Island towns perfected a range of climbing and abseiling skills.
The chine had already fulfilled the same preparatory function two years earlier when men of 40 Royal Marine Commando had trained there for the raid on Dieppe in August 1942, a tragically ill-fated military venture with heavy Allied casualties which, nonetheless, enabled vital lessons to be learnt in planning for D-Day.
Opened by Lord Lieutenant
A collaboration between the chine and Royal Marine veterans’ associations, Sunday’s events included the formal opening by Mrs Susan Sheldon, Lord Lieutenant of the IW, of a D-Day 75 exhibition in the heritage centre – which also recalls the chine’s pivotal role in the top-secret Operation PLUTO (Pipe-Line Under the Ocean) project to fuel the Allied advance from the invasion beaches.
Remembrance and thanksgiving
During an outdoor service of remembrance and thanksgiving a tree commemorating the D-Day role of the US Rangers, and those among its number whose lives were lost, was planted by Lt.-Colonel Michael Skaggs, Marine Attaché representing the US Ambassador to Britain.
Wreaths were later laid in memory of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice and were represented on Sunday.
The service itself included poetry readings and summaries of the wartime exploits of the Royal Marines and its commando forces who had trained at the chine.
Image: The standards of veterans’ associations are raised as the flags of Allied nations saltute the wartime comradeship and sacrifices made on the beaches of France