In 1944, I was a child, living in Dittisham, the village opposite Greenway, former home of Agatha Christie. Although unaware at the time of Greenway’s involvement, I remember well, the river crammed for weeks with shipping and the US servicemen who filled the local area and were a familiar sight in the towns of Torbay. They were kind.
Food inspections on the ships resulted in surplus items being thrown overboard, having first been waterproofed. Ships’ chocolate and small tins of coffee were amongst the items rescued by the children on the shore…On one memorable night two sizeable tins, one containing powdered milk and the other drinking chocolate, were left on every doorstep.
Then, without warning they were gone. We woke up to an empty, very quiet river. Adults stood in groups and conversation was tense but seemed excited.
Always interested to see anything new or unusual when the “Events” section in the National Trust magazine arrives, I was positively excited to discover that Greenway was planning to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D Day.
I contacted Carly Mays, the Community Involvement Officer, sharing some of my memories and four of us, with Jane driving, went to Greenway, where we met Carly, who was disguised as a member of the Women’s Land Army.
We were taken on a tour of the memorabilia, with pictures of the officers of the US Coastguard Service who had been stationed in the house and were suitably impressed by the outdoor displays organised by a Living History group.
On 6th June 1944, I was six years old and that was my D Day remembered.