Peace Tree Presentation

Archive: South West Film & Television Archive
ID No.: AD3007
Title: Peace Tree Presentation
Date: 5 June 1944
Film-maker: Mr Dunn
Colour: Black & White
Sound: silent
Duration of complete item: 8 min. 50 sec.
Themes: Community Life


American G.Is present a 'peace tree' to villagers of Braunton in North Devon in thanks for local hospitality.


A boy in a tree ties large Union Jack and US Stars and Stripes flags across the pathway outside the church, American Soldiers in tin hats, along with british civilians, the vicar and officers, attend the tree planting ceremony celebrating the joint us troops and local war effort. US officers and establishment figures look to the camera, US troops and locals stand waving and cheering.
A sign displayed by the tree reads 'this tree was planted on June 5th 1944, by American enlisted men of diverse faiths, visiting and voluntarily working upon this sacred ground, during the war of liberation as a personal tribute to Britain’s glorious stand against aggression'. General views of speeches given to the US soldiers in a line by various local worthies and us officers. The actual peace tree planting ceremony then takes place. The US troops pretend to cut the grass with shears and scythes in the grave yard, all larking about for the camera and smiling.


This film forms part of the Dunn Collection, which has been acquired by SWFTA. Mr Dunn was well known in his own right throughout North Devon, and, in addition, came from a prominent local family. SWFTA has deposited copies of the collection at Braunton Museum.

The South West of England hosted the highest concentration of US forces during the Second World War, however, film of G.Is etc is relatively rare. This is a particularly good and sustained film, shot by a local man using pre-war stock.

This film was shot on 5th June 1944 in Braunton, North Devon: the D Day Landings took place on 6th June 1944 – so whilst this film was being made the Invasion Force would have been on its way to France. We have been told that the event itself – the presentation of the tree – came about because many of the long serving troops in the area had been moved elsewhere (for the D Day Landings), and the general change in set up led to a wish on the part of the remaining American soldiers to mark their time in North Devon by some sort of ceremony. The filmmaker was a well-known local man whom – whilst he would have, in any case, known of the event – was specifically invited to record the day.


Peace Tree Presentation (June 1944)

Peace Tree Presentation (June 1944)

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