On 4th November 1943 the chairman of Devon County Council, Sir John Daw, received a call from the War Cabinet informing him that the parishes behind Slapton beach were to be immediately and totally evacuated by 29th December 1943. Meetings in Exeter co-ordinated local councils, the clergy and voluntary groups.
To be cleared was a total of 30,000 acres – parts of six parishes, 3,000 people, 180 farms comprising 750 families in all. It included the villages of Torcross, Slapton, Strete, Blackawton, East Allington, Sherford, Stokenham and Chillington. The plan was for the area to be evacuated for six months, but in the knowledge that it would take longer to clear up.
You can also listen to memories of some residents of Slapton, Torcross and Strete, who were children during the war and were evacuated from the exclusion zone, on our sister site Goldendays.
There is also a short film which was made with the help of these local residents. A longer version is regularly shown at venues around the area. It can be loaned to not-for-profit groups from the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) office or purchased from Dartmouth Museum, The Flavel Centre in Dartmouth and The Cookworthy Museum in Kingsbridge.