Special CollectionsBetsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives
Dr. Eugene Eckstam was a doctor for the Navy during World War II. In January 1944, Dr. Eckstam was assigned to LST 507, a participant in Exercise Tiger, and discharged from the Navy in May 1946. In 1984, he saw a program on television commemorating the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. A year later, he was contacted by a shipmate about a reunion for LST survivors. The program and the contact encouraged Dr. Eckstam to research the clouds of mystery surrounding the fatal Exercise Tiger incident.
Exercise Tiger began as a top-secret naval operation to prepare Army and Navy troops for the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. On April 28, 1944, Exercise Tiger set out to practice invasion by landing on Slapton Sands, a beach on the English coast. Unfortunately, before the convoy made it to the beach, it was attacked by German E-Boats. Two LST’s (Tank Landing Ships) were sunk, one of which carried Dr. Eugene Eckstam. Another LST was seriously injured, and several hundred men died in the freezing waters.
Later reports about Exercise Tiger claim that the United States Government made hearty attempts to cover up the attack. Rumors also circulated that several mass graves on Slapton Sands contained the bodies of many of the men who died during Exercise Tiger. Dr. Eckstam’s research sought to uncover the truth about what really happened in Exercise Tiger. In doing so, Dr. Eckstam has successfully debunked the previously stated rumors.
The Eugene E. Eckstam “Exercise Tiger” Collection, 1944-2004, contains a wide array of information that assisted Dr. Eckstam in his search for the truth about Exercise Tiger. Included in the information are maps, national archives, letters, newspaper clippings, memoirs, reunion information, anniversary celebrations, and countless other resources.
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