To commemorate the 75th anniversary of Exercise Tiger, the secret mission to prepare for the Allied invasion of Normandy in which 749 US troops were killed, Forces War Records partner 'There But Not There' has laid bootprints out on Slapton Sands, in Devon as a poignant art installation.
The exercise was considered by US Commanders to be such a disaster that they ordered a complete information blackout. Any survivor who revealed the truth about what happened would be threatened with a court-martial.
More people died during the exercise than in the D-Day landing at Utah Beach - with many soldiers sinking and drowning during the exercise weighed down by their heavy kit and wet clothes.
Bootprints mark D-Day disaster 75th anniversary
Artist Martin Barraud created the installation which was unveiled by the Remembered charity and will raise money for veteran employment projects.
“Last year our Tommy campaign captured the hearts of the nation, whilst giving a substantial boost to the mental health and wellbeing of veterans across the UK,” he said.
“A year on and we’re hoping the great British public will get behind our D-Day 75 campaign by purchasing their own Bootprints to mark the great sacrifice of our WW2 heroes, in particular those who helped kick-start the liberation of Europe with the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.”
Commemorative Bootprints plaques made by veterans are available for £29.99, with each representing one of the 22,763 British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who were killed on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944 during the Second World War.
Schools, businesses and communities will also be able to purchase commemorative D-Day Bootprints vinyls for £4 each, to be placed in public spaces nationwide.
Mr Barraud said: “Our enduring hope is that every one of the US, British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and airmen who gave their lives will have a Bootprint purchased in their memory.”