The Tamar Bridge is a major road bridge at Saltash in southwest England carrying traffic between Cornwall and Devon over the River Tamar. When it opened in 1961 it was the longest suspension bridge in the United Kingdom.
Saltash Passage, commemorates the embarkation of US soldiers for the 1944 “D-Day” landings in Normandy, so the smaller memorial adjoining the Tamar Bridge car park (off the A38) recognises the equally important role of the United States Navy, Coastguard, Marine Corps and Mercantile Services in that crucial operation.
This memorial also reminds us that, prior to June 1944, the nearby residential districts centred on Vicarage Road (and the later-named “Normandy Way”) had housed the US Forces’ “D-Day” transit camp in Plymouth, since 1942. The area had hence enjoyed the notional status, for two years, of being part of the United States of America. A staggering total of some 60,000 US service personnel, their vehicles, equipment, weapons, ammunition and personal effects passed through the encampment for eventual embarkation on the landing vessels in June 1944.
The memorial appropriately characterises the joint “D-Day” effort and the huge US presence in Plymouth beforehand as being in the spirit of “Comrades in Friendship”.