Around ten years ago I suggested that the Marines (US or UK) should hit the beaches of tax havens to allow taxes to be levied and this was put down as the result of too many margaritas. Not so; the British Marines have arrived without invitation at many beaches in their history; it would be too long a job to list them.
The Americans have their share, when they sing “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…” it is not Tripoli in Bremer County, Iowa, they are on about, it is the one in North Africa, and that was as long ago as 1805.
In Cuba in 1898 the future president, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, galloped around telling his troops how wonderful it was to die for their country. In 1961 President Kennedy authorised another visit to Cuba, but we will not talk about that. Nor about “Operation Urgent Fury” the invasion of Grenada by the USA on 25th October 1983, ommiting to tell the Brit’s. 25th October is Agincourt Day.
Then there was Normandy in June 1944, where heavy losses occurred in the bid to build the bridgehead for the invasion to succeed. The date for this is given as 6th June, but both US and UK Marines were already there the day before.
Forgotten now is the second set of landings, Operation Dragoon in the south of France on 15th August 1944, picture above. This is the Pampelonne Beach by St. Tropez; that will surprise many and better known for pictures of Brigitte Bardot, and many other lovelies.
See here for more information.
A major landing by the US Marines took place, allowing US forces to cut the main coast road along the littoral of the south; with the French Resistance taking the rail lines inland.
Thirty years later the US Vet’s with a company of young Marines visited the beach to commemorate the events of that day. They found a group of Brit’s playing cricket using the old Marines road way matting as the base of the pitch. The French attempting to sunbathe close by were not happy.
But there was a breathless hush in the close that afternoon. When the American’s tried to intervene they were asked either to field at deep square leg or do something not usually done in public on beaches, even French ones.
When a young Marine plaintively claimed that the USA had not freed Europe just so the Brit’s could play cricket anywhere they liked, he was told firmly that it was the Brit’s who did the liberating.
We called it the “Special Relationship”. Now it would be our commitment to Europe.