One of the many aims of the Discovery Centre will be to tell the stories of past events and stories of West Bay.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of Exercise Yukon which took place in West Bay in 1942.
In 1942 there were plans to launch an attack on Dieppe. It was essential that prior to this, there was a rehearsal to test out the equipment and personnel. The coastal landscape at West Bay was similar to Dieppe with high cliffs and long beaches and was therefore chosen as the location for Exercise Yukon. Over 4,000 troops and 58 tanks landed at different points along the coast but the first attempt on June 11 – June 12 was such a disaster that it had to be repeated a few weeks later on June 22- June 23. The Methodist Church that is now home to the Discovery Centre was hit by flares and so badly damaged that it was shut for the remainder of the Second World War.
The Dieppe Raid involved British and Canadian troops and took place on 19th August 1942. It was unfortunately a disaster for the attackers – out of the 6,000 troops that landed, 4,000 were either killed, injured, or taken prisoner. It is believed that many lessons were learnt from this dreadful carnage that helped in the planning of D-Day two years later.
We are combining with Bridport Heritage Forum and St John’s Church to remember these events and to help raise funds for a permanent memorial in St John’s Church to remember those who died at Dieppe. The following events will take place:-
Friday 9th June “It’s all right! It’s not the enemy! Talk by Sheila Meaney from Bridport Heritage Forum at St John’s Church, West Bay 7:15 for 7:30. Donations in aid of memorial plaque to be placed in St John’s Church to commemorate those who died in the Dieppe Raid in August 1942 are welcome. (The rehearsals for the Dieppe Raid – Exercise Yukon – was held on the shores and cliffs of the coastline around West Bay in June 1942.) The Dieppe Raid failed with many lives lost but vital lessons were learnt for the successful D-Day landings that took place two years later.
Sunday 11th June – Monday 12th June 2017 Exhibition showing the role West Bay played in the Dieppe Raid of 1942 in West Bay Discovery Centre, 11am-3pm. Admission free – donations welcome.
Friday 23rd June 2017 Exhibition showing the role West Bay played in the Dieppe Raid of 1942 in West Bay Discovery Centre, 11am-3pm. Admission free – donations welcome.
Sunday 20th August 2017 Morning Service at 11am at St John’s Church to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Dieppe followed by walk to the Pier with Standards. The Discovery Centre will also be open from 12pm-4pm.