South Hams Mass Evacuation 1943

(More details to come on this page soon)

Please Watch this Video for a Brief History by Jo Evans of the Evacuation:


In November, 1943, Devon County Council was informed by the War Cabinet that the Slapton Sands area was to be totally evacuated, to permit part of the South Hams to be used for practice assault landings.

This was one of the most traumatic episodes in the area’s history, involving the clearance of 30,000 acres and three thousand men, women and children who were evacuated at the end of 1943, taking their belongings, livestock, pets and in many cases, farm equipment with them.  These local people, some of whom had never left their homes and villages, had just six weeks to pack up and move away.  Many had friends and relatives nearby who accommodated them. Farmers doubled up their land and some moved away from the area, never to return.  They made way for 15,000 U.S. troops, who over the following months engaged in battle exercise, often involving live ammunition.

Evacuated Area in Yellow