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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
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SEATON: The USA says ‘thank-you to Seaton’
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
CIVIC?GUESTS: The Mayor of Seaton, Councillor Gaynor Sedgwick, pictured with Colonel John Rudman and his wife Anita and other civic guests after the unveiling of the plaque
THE?kindness shown to hundreds of young American soldiers who were based in Seaton in the run-up to D-Day in June 1944 has been officially recognised by the USA. In a highly moving and dignified civic ceremony on Sunday afternoon, a former American Army officer and the Mayor of Seaton, Councillor Gaynor Sedgwick, jointly unveiled a special plaque thanking the people of Seaton for all they did for the American GIs before taking part in the invasion of Normandy. Many of them did not survive. The unveiling of the plaque follows a Congressional Record in the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in May 2013 when Congressman John Runyan officially recorded the thanks of the USA nation to the people of Seaton for their “unwavering support and hospitality” shown to those GIs billeted in the town whilst training for the the invasion of Normandy. Crucial to that honour being bestowed on the people of Seaton was the role of former USA Colonel John F. Rudman whose father, Robert G. Rudman, was a sergeant with H Company, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, one of the first Allied units to land on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6th 1944. The plaque unveiled on Sunday included a tribute to Sgt Rudman and his best friend, Berton Nicholls, as well as to all those brave Americans which made up the 2nd Battalion. The ceremony in Windsor Gardens was jointly organised by the Seaton branch of the Royal British Legion and Seaton Town Council and included a parade of 17 standards representing Legion branches throughout the South West and other uniforned organisations. Large crowd Watched by a large crowd which included town coouncillors, civic guests and the chairman of the Devon Royal British Legion, Major Ralph Howard-Willians, the proceedings were opened by the Seaton branch president, Ray Evans, who explained the link between Seaton and the 8th Infantry Regiment. This was followed by a welcome from Councillor Sedgwick, who expressed Seaton’s thanks and gratitude to the American troops stationed in Seaton. She said: “This stone commemorates those brave Amercican soldiers who left these shores in 1944 along with so many others, including sons of local families. Many of these men did not return, their sacrifice has meant that we can live in freedom and peace.” Prayers were led by the Reverend Jeremy Trew. Major Howard-Williams recited the Exhortation and a piper, Fergus Holmes, played ‘Flowers of The Forest’. Branch vice-chairman Maurice Ayling recited the Kohima Epitaph. Colonel Rudman delivered a moving address recalling that out of the 28 in his father’s landing craft, only seven young men survived. He referred to the people of Seaton as “real heroes” for kindness shown to the American troops. The ceremony concluded with The Star Spangled Banner and the National Anthem.
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