The Seraph Monument is a memorial created from relics of the HMS Seraph, a World War II British submarine, including the periscope and a forward torpedo loading hatch. Both the United States and British flags fly from the monument, symbolizing the American Naval command of the British submarine during a special mission.
The Seraph became known as “the special missions submarine” after its involvement in the most famous seaborne covert missions in the European Theater. The submarine carried Gen. Mark W. Clark on a successful secret mission to negotiate a surrender of the Vichy French forces prior to the Allied landings in North Africa. Days later the Seraph was dispatched to southern France to rescue Vichy Gen. Henri Giraud, who would only cooperate with Americans. During the mission, the submarine flew the U.S. flag and temporarily became the U.S.S. Seraph under the command of the U.S. Navy.
The Seraph also played a major role in Operation Mincemeat, one of the most successful deception operations ever mounted in warfare. In the elaborate ruse, fake documents were planted on a decomposing corpse off the coast of Spain. When the documents were obtained by Nazi intelligence, Hitler was convinced that the next Allied landings would be in Sardinia, while the actual target was Sicily. Operation Mincemeat is the subject of several books and a movie entitled The Man who Never Was.
The Seraph later served as a beacon ship for Gen. George Patton’s forces in the invasion of Sicily as well as for the D-Day landings in Normandy. The submarine also transported several commando units on clandestine missions in southern Europe. Late in the war the vessel was converted to a high speed anti-submarine warfare training platform and remained in service with the Royal Navy until 1962.
The Seraph Monument memorializes the Anglo-American friendship and cooperation during World War II. It is the only on-shore location in the United States authorized to fly the Royal Navy Ensign.