Around 100 people gathered to remember US soldiers and sailors who lost their lives in a 'forgotten' Second World War tragedy. 

In April 1944, allied forces gathered along the south coast for a ‘dress rehearsal’ of D-Day to prepare soldiers and sailors for the rigours of the Normandy landings.

Tragically, many lost their lives during Exercise Tiger which was predominantly taking place on Slapton Sands in Devon; however, two Landing Ship Tanks (LST) were sunk off Portland Bill by German motor torpedo boats.

Dorset Echo: A wreath laying service was held at Victoria Gardens on Portland to reme,ber those who lost their

READ: Anzac memorial service takes place on Esplanade

The memorial at Portland's Victoria Gardens saw representatives of the armed forces, Portland's D-Day Museum, and Portland Town Council attended.

Dorset Echo:

A Westland Wasp helicopter dropped poppy petals along Chesil Cove, flown by a veteran of HMS Osprey, the island's former naval air base which is today partly occupied by the HeliOps training site.

It was escorted by a US Detroit built 1943 Stinson Reliant, a former military training/transport aircraft, and a ship's horn salute preceded the wreath laying service.

Tony Hart, a former tank commander and secretary of the Bournemouth and Poole District Royal Tank Regiment Association, the branch closest to Weymouth and Portland, said: "The Portland event went like clockwork, about 100 people watched the helicopter poppy drop and the wreath laying service.

"The mayor of Portland gave a speech which was very well received.

"She highlighted the people of Europe subject to Nazi domination and the role of the allied forces and the sacrifices they made, including Exercise Tiger, in bringing that domination to an end."  

Dorset Echo: The Royal Tank Association's wreath at the service on PortlandThe Royal Tank Association's wreath at the service on Portland (Image: Tony Hart)

Portland will now be looking ahead to the 80th anniversary events of D-Day on Thursday, June 6. 

A special flypast will be part of the events on the isle organised.

Although subject to national commitments and weather, it is hoped that the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will soar over Portland Bill, the isle's cenotaph and Victoria Gardens at 11am.

Dorset Echo: A wreath laying service was held at Victoria Gardens on Portland to reme,ber those who lost their

It will coincide with a service of remembrance to be held in the gardens which will follow on from a provisional procession of military vehicles from Castletown D-Day Centre to Victoria Gardens. It is hoped that Weymouth Concert Brass will be in attendance.

Events will also be held in Weymouth on June 6 with the town allocated £5,000 towards various activities and have been working with Portland Town Council and Dorset Council to coordinate events. 

A special event day of activity will also take place at Nothe Fort to commemorate Weymouth and Portland's role during the military operation.