Introducing Rodney Legg's latest book...The nineteenth century was the British century. The twentieth century was the American century. From clashes through to collusion the two nations remains linked by common roots and what has become the world language. All British counties, each state of the Union, and every Canadian province share intimate links. For reasons geographical, military and political, Dorset can claim as many as any. Bonds of blood and culture stretch in both directions. Transatlantic Dorset is the subject of this book. From the sixteenth century onwards, the days of Raleigh and the founding of the fledgling colonies, there were 'arms across the sea' - actual, material and metaphorical. This climaxed in the great conflicts of the last century, when North Americans flooded back across the seas to the defence of the old country. In 1944 Weymouth and Portland were pivotal in the storming of Omaha Beach in the biggest and bloodiest of the Normandy landings. Some 100,000 American troops, airmen and sailors were stationed in Dorset at the time.
Of the greatest army ever based in Dorset, 5,000 United States servicemen who passed through the county lost their lives in Europe. Many Dorset families have links with Canada and the United States. This book is a celebration of such associations and shrines for our American cousins. Few, however, are generally known on this side of the Atlantic. Finding them on the ground has been a process of discovering our own country.