Military Allows Visit to Town Emptied for D-Day Training
"It's so confusing," Mitchell said as he rambled through the village, among the muddy ruins of the school where he studied and the pub where he sat under a shady apple tree and first tasted beer. He climbed the concrete steps of his old house, where he hadn't set foot in 62 years, since the War Office appropriated this entire village as a training ground for British and U.S. troops preparing for the D-Day invasion at Normandy.
Mitchell came back to Imber on Saturday, taking advantage of a rare chance to visit. This ghost town sits at the center of Britain's largest military training area, a 25-mile-by-10-mile expanse of hills and fields known as the Salisbury Plain Army Training Estate. The military conducts training here 340 days a year, and the desolate hillsides are littered with the obliterated hulks of tanks and trucks that have been used for live-fire target practice.
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