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HER Number:MDV52986
Name:Second World War Tented Encampment, Braunton Burrows

Summary

A tented encampment of Second World War date is visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs of the 1940s, in Area 'D' of the US Army Assault Training Centre at Braunton Burrows

Location

Grid Reference:SS 465 369
Map Sheet:SS43NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBraunton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRAUNTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks and structural remains of World War II military training features for D-Day Landings on Braunton Burrows and nineteenth century reclaimed field system on Braunton Marsh NW of Horsey Island

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS43NE/251
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MILITARY CAMP (XX - 1901 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1501, 3006 (Aerial Photograph). SDV337198.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1501, NMR RAF/106G/UK/1501 3005-3006 13-MAY-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349927.

Cropmarks, earthworks and evidence of former structures that comprised a tented camp are visible.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1655, NMR RAF/106G/UK/1655 3260-3361 11-JUL-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV349996.

Cropmarks and earthworks of a tented camp are visible.

Royal Air Force, 1953, NMR RAF/540/1141 (F22), NMR RAF/540/1141 (F22) 0048-0049 06-JUN-1953 (Aerial Photograph). SDV350008.

The cropmarks and earthworks of the tented camp are not visible.

Bass, R. T., 1992, Spirits of the Sand (Monograph). SDV339609.

Horner, B., 1994, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV339725.

Rows of marks indicative of tented encampment shown on 1946 aerial photograph. Presumably associated with the World War II US Assault Training Centre. A group of L-shaped trenches and a length of zig-zag trench in the southwest corner of the encampment suggest a latrine-type function.

Bass, R. T., 1996, Guide to the US Assault Training Centre North Devon, 13 (Un-published). SDV325695.

Records of the US 146th Engineer Combat Battalion, attached to the Braunton/Woolacombe Assault Training Centre, show that this unit had moved to the area of Saunton golf course by 27/10/1943. Headquarters and service units were billeted in and around the club house and 2 companies set up "tent cities" to the south of the club. One company was at the hutted Braunton Camp to the east. C Company records being in pyramid tents on the golf course with no amenities other than a long narrow trench latrine. The battalion was responsible for maintaining the ranges, pillboxes, roads and other training aids that had been built by the 398th Engineer General Service regiment.

Bass, R. T., 2005, Spirits of the Sand: Field Edition (Monograph). SDV325697.

Tented camp mentioned in Area 'D' of the World War II US Assault Training Centre at Braunton Burrows.

Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J., 2007, The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report, No. 1647 (Report - Assessment). SDV339712.

Raf 1946 ap records rows of marks indicative of tented encampment. Presumably associated with US training area. Army records of men housed in 'tent cities' .

Hegarty, C. + Knight, S., 2011-2012, North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV349018.

Numerous but fragmentary parchmarks indicate the area of an extensive Second World War military tented encampment immediately to the east of Braunton Burrows. The camp was one of the ‘tent cities’ which comprised the troop accommodation at the U.S. Army Assault Training Area from 1943 to 1944.
The camp appeared to have been organised around a standard block of tents. Each block comprised, at a minimum, two rows of 10 square tents, each tent circa 5 metres square in size. The extent of each block is visible as a darker rectangular cropmark, the former location of each individual tent usually visible as a paler square parchmark. Twenty four or twenty five such blocks can be identified on aerial photographs from parchmarks and cropmarks outlining a reversed ‘r’ shape centred on circa SS 465369. A less regular pattern of slightly smaller dark square cropmarks, centred on circa SS 46523674, might indicate the location of a secondary, less regimented camp.
The possible locations of several small temporary structures can be seen as pale rectangular cropmarks centred on circa SS46453702, SS46543701 and possibly SS46363706. An extant rectangular structure circa 6 by 3 metres in size can be seen in May and July 1946, centred on circa SS46705704, but this might be agricultural in origin.
Immediately to the south-west of this possibly less regular camp site, a circa 35 metres long, flattened zig-zag trench centred at circa SS 46493370 might indicate the location of the above mentioned latrine trench. The thirteen or so inverted ‘V’ shaped trenches immediately to the west may be additional latrine trenches, but also resemble training slit trenches.
By 1946 the cropmarks which outline the arrangement of the campsite are becoming diffuse, fragmentary and are often slighted by later vehicle tracks or paths. As such it has been possibly only to transcribe the most definable elements of the camp. Neither the cropmarks or the possible latrine trenches are visible by June 1953.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325695Un-published: Bass, R. T.. 1996. Guide to the US Assault Training Centre North Devon. Manuscript. 13.
SDV325697Monograph: Bass, R. T.. 2005. Spirits of the Sand: Field Edition. Spirits of the Sand. A5 Paperback.
SDV337198Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1501. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3006.
SDV339609Monograph: Bass, R. T.. 1992. Spirits of the Sand. Spirits of the Sand. Unknown.
SDV339712Report - Assessment: Collings, A. G. + Manning, P. T. + Valentin, J.. 2007. The North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Phase 1. Archaeological Survey. Summary Report. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.22 (rev.1). A4 Stapled + Digital. No. 1647.
SDV339725Personal Comment: Horner, B.. 1994.
SDV349018Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S.. 2011-2012. North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. ACD383/2/1. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV349927Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1501. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/UK/1501 3005-3006 13-MAY-1946.
SDV349996Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1655. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/106G/UK/1655 3260-3361 11-JUL-1946.
SDV350008Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1953. NMR RAF/540/1141 (F22). Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR RAF/540/1141 (F22) 0048-0049 06-JUN-1953.

Associated Monuments

MDV57283Part of: Braunton Areas A, B, C and D of US Assault Training Centre (Monument)
MDV52983Related to: Braunton Camp (Monument)
MDV52987Related to: Second World War Tented Encampment, Braunton Burrows (Monument)
MDV57303Related to: Second World War Tented Encampment, East of Knife Ridge, Braunton Burrows (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6132 - North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty NMP Project (Ref: ACD383/2/1)

Date Last Edited:Jun 21 2021 12:17PM