Bodmin Keep hosted a service of remembrance on Thursday, 12th October for the 3,720 soldiers of the US 29th Infantry Division killed in battle between D-Day, 6 June 1944, and the Allied victory in Europe, 8 May 1945.
The service included the rededication of the 29th Division memorial plaque, which commemorates the soldiers of The 29th and the kindness of the Cornish people towards US Officers and enlisted men during the Division’s year-long stay in Bodmin.
Originally erected in 1988 by the Maryland National Guard Historical Society, funds to replace the Bodmin Keep memorial were provided by the 29th Division Association after the inscription had become worn.
Revd Roger May led proceedings on behalf of St Petroc’s Church, Bodmin, with words of commemoration from Deputy Mayor of Bodmin Town Council, Mike Barbery.
Representing the 29th Division Association, Susan Kearney travelled from the United States to attend the service, donating a US 29th Infantry Division uniform for inclusion in the newly launched redisplay of the museum’s ‘US Army in Cornwall’ exhibit.
Others in attendance included staff, volunteers and Trustees of Cornwall’s Army Museum, local historians, 29th Infantry enthusiasts and re-enactors, arriving in restored WW2 jeeps and 29th Infantry uniform.
Helen Bishop-Stephens, director, Bodmin Keep: Cornwall’s Army Museum, said: “The ceremony was a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by these brave men, and a great opportunity for the local community to come together and remember those who fought in battle.”
Susan Kearney, The US 29th Division Association, said: “As the child of a 29er born in the aftermath of World War 2, I understand that my seventy-five years of life in a relatively peaceful world has been a gift purchased at great cost. Thousands of men like my dad and his fellow 29ers gave so much, with some making the ultimate sacrifice to secure peace. To represent those brave men of the 29th Division on this day has been both humbling and a privilege.”