Eisenhower’s night in Weston Woods marked with blue plaque

Left to right: Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, General Dwight D Eisenhower, Air Marshal Tedder and Field Marshal Montgomery Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dwight Eisenhower (second left) was supreme commander of the Allied expeditionary forces in Western Europe

A plaque to mark the night future US president Dwight Eisenhower slept in a caravan in Weston-super-Mare is to be unveiled.

General Eisenhower visited Weston Woods for one night in 1944 en-route to the D-Day landings as part of his role as Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Weston-super-Mare Town Council said he was the “only American president to have set foot” in the town.

Nicknamed “Ike”, he went on to become president of the US from 1953 to 1961.

Image copyright Weston-super-Mare Town Council
Image caption General Eisenhower slept in a military caravan with his troops and vehicles, next to the water tower at Weston Woods

Local historian and councillor John Crockford-Hawley said General Eisenhower was there to prepare for the D-Day landings when American troops were billeted in Weston.

He said: “A huge number of military vehicles were parked along Kewstoke Toll Road and in Weston Woods between Worlebury and the water tower – all hidden from enemy spy plane viewing by the tree cover.

Image copyright Weston-super-Mare Town Council
Image caption The town council said: “Dwight D Eisenhower is the only American president to have set foot in Weston-super-Mare.”

“Troops were under canvas, whereas officers were in local hotels. Ike was invited to stay at the seafront Rozel Hotel but, realising his troops were under canvas, decided to do likewise – almost – by sleeping in a military caravan with his troops and vehicles, next to the water tower.

“The following day all had disappeared. D-Day had started.”

Mr Crockford-Hawley said the council chose to mark the spot where “one of the most important allied commanders in history” camped because it was “an exciting part of the town’s history”.

“People enjoy finding such snippets of local history right in their midst. This spot in the woods is the very place where he slept,” he said.

“A lovely thing to find when out walking the dog or talking a stroll in beautiful Weston Woods.”

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption President Eisenhower, pictured here with Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on a visit to the UK in 1959, died in 1969

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