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80th Anniversary of Exercise Tiger

On 26 April, Navy Wings participated in an event to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Exercise Tiger, a large-scale exercise to prepare troops for the D-Day landings, that resulted in the loss of hundreds of American servicemen.

On the night of 27/28 April 1944, an Allied convoy positioning itself in Lyme Bay in preparation for the rehearsal landing on Slapton Sands was attacked by German E-boats of the Kriegsmarine. Two US Landing Ships Tank (LST) were sunk and at least 749 US Army and Navy personnel lost their lives during the attack. Due to the impending invasion of Normandy, the incident was kept under strict secrecy at the time and was only minimally reported afterwards. The sacrifice and lessons learned during Exercise Tiger played a crucial role in preparing for the successful D-Day landings on June 6,1944.

In honour of the US servicemen who died that day, poppy petals were dropped from the Navy Wings Wasp at 2.28pm along the shoreline at Chesil Cove ahead of the wreath laying service at the US D-Day Memorial at Victoria Gardens, Portland at 3pm.

The Wasp has a long history at RNAS Portland, which was one of the busiest Naval air stations on the south coast and was home to the Royal Navy Wasp and later Lynx helicopter front line flights, as well as Wessex and Sea King helicopters. During the event, the Wasp operated from HeliOperations’ facility on the old site of HMS Osprey where the Wasp was stationed for many years.