A historic memorial
As you walk into the library, you won’t be able to miss the frieze encircling the four walls. The 13 murals were painted during the Second World War, when the house was occupied by Flotilla 10 of the U.S. Coast Guard in the preparations for D-Day. They were sailing a new type of landing craft called a Landing Craft Infantry (Large) or LCI(L ) that was capable of landing 200 troops directly onto an enemy beach. Because of its flat bottom and no keel it was unpleasant to sail in and the crew maintained that LCI really stood for ‘Lousy Civilian Idea’.
Preparing for D-Day
In January 1944 a flotilla of twenty four landing crafts together, with their commanders and support staff, arrived in the River Dart from the USA. 51 captains and members of the planning team stayed in the house, and they remained at Greenway until just before D-Day. Many rooms in the house were used as bedrooms for three to four men, and the Flotilla Commander and his two deputies using Agatha’s bedroom itself.
Painting the murals
The Library was kept as their recreation and ‘mess room’ with a bar set up in the alcove. During their six-month stay Lt Marshall Lee, one of the landing craft captains who was a graphic artist, painted the twelve coloured murals that make up the major part of the frieze. The murals were painted using just four colours; blue, khaki, black and white, and depict incidents that occurred during their eleven months’ journey to Greenway.