OPERATION 'CHARIOT' Memorial

The area of the foreshore immediately west of the Avant Port, close to the wartime position of Bunker 'SUD 1', now contains several memorials. The first of these, at the base of the Place du Commando, is the Monument du Commando, consisting of the barrel of HMS Campbeltown's forward gun - saved from being sold for scrap after it was dredged from the sea bottom - and a tall granite column. Every year, on the anniversary of the Raid, representatives of the St-Nazaire Society pay their respects to the fallen, at commemorative ceremonies hosted by the town of Saint-Nazaire. The fact that these events are still attended by such circumstance is a measure of the debt owed to the young commandos and sailors who first brought the hope that one day the Occupation would end. 

Beneath this commemorative plaque are inscribed the names of all the fallen Commandos and sailors.
(Click here to see the Roll of Honour)



March, 2008: wreaths are laid by -
L-R: Captain Philip Stonor, Naval Attaché: Dr W.H. 'Tiger' Watson, MBE., MC., Légion d'honneur: and M. Michel Euxibie, French Vice-President of the St-Nazaire Society.


















As fellow comrades-in-arms the Anciens Combatants never fail to pay their respects to the memory of these young men from distant shores who long ago came out of the night to prove that the Allies were a far from beaten force.

















Immediately next to the 'Commando' memorial (the French refer to the raid as a whole as 'the Commando') is the memorial to those lost when the troopship Lancastria was sunk offshore on 17 June, 1940, during the dark days of the retreat when thousands of troops and civilians converged on Saint-Nazaire in the hope of being evacuated to the UK. Bombed within sight of the shore, the ship foundered with loss of life running into the thousands. 




















Further along the seafront are to be found the Monument aux Morts, commemorating the French war dead from both World Wars, and the Mémorial Américain. This tall structure shows a 'Doughboy' being carried on the wings of an eagle. Designed by the American sculptor Gertrude Whitney, its function was to commemorate Saint-Nazaire's role as a major port of entry for American expeditionary forces in World War One. Destroyed by the Germans late in 1941, it was later restored and now appears to rise from the very sea itself.