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The Forgotten Dead

Ken Small & Mark Rogerson

The true story of Exercise Tiger, the disastrous rehearsal for D-Day.
27 April 1944. Exercise Tiger. German E-boats intercept rehearsals for the D-Day landings... On a dark night in 1944, a beautiful stretch of the Devon coast became the scene of desperate horror. Tales began to leak out of night-time explosions and seaborne activity. This was practice for Exercise Tiger, the main rehearsal for the Utah Beach landings...

This fiasco, in which nearly 1,000 soldiers died, was buried by officials until it was almost forgotten. That is, until Ken Small discovered the story, and decided to dedicate the rest of his life to honouring the brave young men who perished in the disastrous exercise.

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The true story of Exercise Tiger, the disastrous rehearsal for D-Day. 27 April 1944. Exercise Tiger. German E-boats intercept rehearsals for the D-Day landings... On a dark night in 1944, a beautiful stretch of the Devon coast became the scene of desperate horror. Tales began to leak out of night-time explosions and seaborne activity. This was practice for Exercise Tiger, the main rehearsal for the Utah Beach landings... This fiasco, in which nearly 1,000 soldiers died, was buried by officials until it was almost forgotten. That is, until Ken Small discovered the story, and decided to dedicate the rest of his life to honouring the brave young men who perished in the disastrous exercise. Pulling a Sherman tank from the seabed, Ken created a memorial to those who died and started to share their story, and his, with the world. This updated edition of a bestselling classic is a gripping tale of wartime disaster and rescue in the words of the soldiers who were there, and of one man's curiosity that turned into a fight to ensure that they would never be forgotten.

ISBN: 9781781556696
Format: Paperback
Author(s): Ken Small & Mark Rogerson
First Publishment Date: 28 June 2018

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  1. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It had me gripped, entertained and informed from the first to the last page. review by Warship World - PB on 31/01/2019

    This remarkable book has been given a deserved reprint. First published in 1988 it tells a story of one man’s determination to honour and remember something that many officials wanted to remain secret and forgotten, hence the title of the book ‘The Forgotten Dead.’

    In war the first casualty is usually the truth and a somewhat distorted version of it is the best one can usually get, such was the case with Exercise Tiger which took place off the South Devon coastline on 27 April 1944. Just days before the planned D-Day invasion of Normandy, American GI’s had clambered, probably reluctantly, into a number of ships to practice their manoeuvres for the coming invasion of France. South Devon had been chosen as it bore an uncanny resemblance to the planned invasion beaches. By the end of 27 April 1944 nearly 1000 American soldiers and sailors were dead in one of the worst losses inflicted on the Allies of the war. To make matters worse the horror was played out in the inky blackness of night in the English Channel. The ships were attacked by a squadron of German E-boats who just happened to be in the right place and at the right time to inflict the carnage.

    Ken Small found out the story, almost by accident, and dedicated the rest of his life to honouring the fallen. This book tells of his struggles with officialdom and the inevitable tidal wave of red tape that was thrown in his way to try and deter him from retrieving from the waters the remains of a Sherman tank sunk during the exercise. Ken Small’s aim was to place the tank on display as a memorial, but this book highlights the blinkered thinking of British officialdom set against the openness of their American counterparts.
    The first half of the book tells the story of Exercise Tiger through eye witness accounts, whilst the second half details Ken Small’s epic battle with British red tape: both almost biblical battles in themselves.
    I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It had me gripped, entertained and informed from the first to the last page.


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