Ken Small & The Sherman Tank Memorial

Please Watch this Short Video for a Brief History of the Tank Memorial:

     Ken Small first came to Torcross on holiday and fell in love with the place.  When the opportunity came to move there with his family, he jumped at the chance, selling his successful hair dressing businesses in Grimsby.  They purchased Cove House and began to run it as a guest house. During a very happy time in Ken’s life, he was suddenly struck down with depression, and suffered what used to be called “a nervous breakdown”.  A close friend suggested as part of his recovery and to get him out of the house, that he begin walking the shoreline of Slapton Sands.

     As time went on, this became more about beachcombing. In 1969, during a severe storm, he began to find antique coins and broken pieces of jewelry, along with large amounts of shrapnel, bullet cases, and tunic buttons, etc.  He wondered why these items were on the beach and began to ask the local residents about it.  They told him of the live fire exercises that had taken place in 1944 during WWII. 

    A close friend and local fisherman told Ken of an object sitting on the seabed about three-quarters of a mile off shore 60 feet below the surface. Ken persuaded his friend to dive down and investigate.  When he and the other divers came up, they told him there was an American Sherman Tank on the seabed almost completely covered in fishing nets.  This discovery eventually led to him finding out about the tragedy of Exercise Tiger.  He became determined to recover the tank and create a lasting memorial to honour those who perished.

     After years of unending bureaucracy, he finally purchased the tank from the American government for $50 USD.   It would be another 10 years (1984) of determination and personal sacrifice before Ken achieved his dream to raise the tank and place where it stands today in Torcross near the sea.

     The international media attention created led to contact with American survivors and family members, who began to tell their stories after 50 years of silence.  Eventually, the memorial was recognized by the U. S. Government.

     He was encouraged and persuaded to write a book about  the whole story. His book, “The Forgotten Dead” was published by Bloomsbury in 1988.

On behalf of the survivors and family members,we shall be forever grateful to the late  Ken Small for establishing this Memorial,
and to Dean Small, who continues his father’s legacy with the loving support of his wife, Sarah.”

Laurie Bolton, Niece of  Sgt. Louis A. Bolton
Who Perished on Board LST 531

If you would like to know more about Ken Small's personal life and the story of the Sherman Memorial Tank, please purchase the book at:


Ken Small in May 1984
on the day the Tank was raised from the Sea Bed


Plaque Dedicated to Ken Small on
the 70th Anniversary Ceremony 2014



Ken Small's book can be purchased at:
The Forgotten Dead on Amazon

or by contacting Dean Small at: