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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Home guard memorial is unveiled
Home Guard memorial at Torquay
The memorial was unveiled on Thursday
Britain's volunteer "Dad's Army" has been honoured with a national cliff-top memorial unveiled on Thursday in Devon.

A new monument to the Home Guard was unveiled in Torquay at the site where five of its members died when their anti-aircraft gun exploded in 1944.

Scores of veterans wearing medals took part in the ceremony. One of the two survivors of the tragedy, Gordon Rendle, 77, laid a wreath.

The granite pyramid memorial is at Corbyn Head, Torquay.

These people will be remembered forever
Peter Foreman, Turning Point Heritage Trust
Mr Rendle, from Marlborough, Wiltshire, said after the ceremony that the service performed by the Home Guard nationally had been "overlooked".

"Today's ceremony was very good, I did not expect to see so many people here."

He said the memorial was something which was long overdue.

He was just 16 when he served in the Home Guard, signing up with forged papers.

The dedication, watched by about 60 veterans and about 200 members of the public, took place on the 61st anniversary of the Corbyn Head tragedy.

It was the culmination of years of work by the Turning Point Heritage Trust, which aims to preserve Britain's World War II heritage.

Proper memorial

Trust founder Peter Foreman, from Torquay, said : "It has been a very emotional day - these people will be remembered forever.

"This project was inspired by the sacrifice of a few, but it is dedicated to all those members of the Home Guard who lost their lives on active service. We felt they deserved a proper memorial."

He said that during the World War II Torbay was a military training area, attacked on 40 occasions by enemy bombers.

About 14,000 homes in the town were damaged or destroyed, and 168 people died.

Before the start of the ceremony, there was a flypast by a pair of RAF jet trainers. Prayers at the ceremony were led by the Rev Mark Morton, Chaplain of the Royal School of Artillery.


SEE ALSO:
Region to mark VE Day anniversary
07 May 05 |  Cornwall


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