D-Day News

National Museum of the Royal Navy and Portsmouth City Council agree location for rare D-Day craft

National Museum of the Royal Navy and Portsmouth City Council agree location for rare D-Day craft

Today's press release from the National Museum of the Royal Navy about the future of D-Day landing craft LCT 7074:

Agreement has been reached on the final resting place of LCT 7074, the last Second World War Landing Craft (Tank) (LCT) in the UK, one of the last in the world, and a campaign veteran of the D-Day landings.

It has been announced that The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) is to work in partnership with Portsmouth City Council to locate the craft at the city’s D-Day Museum, an affiliate of The NMRN, in time for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2019 when the transformed museum will be reopened.

The agreement is subject to funding but has been the long-held preferred option for the vessel. LCT 7074 was saved for the nation two years ago with the support of a £916,149 grant from the National Memorial Heritage Fund.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The NMRN said: “It is the perfect place to display LCT 7074 and put it in the context of the D-Day story.

“Not only will it strengthen the D-Day Museum’s collection but it will be a powerful reminder of the important role this humble, but vital workhorse played in the success of D-Day. Also, importantly, her sheer size will amaze visitors since she was a 300 ton ocean-going vessel capable of carrying ten 30 ton armoured vehicles.”

Cllr Linda Symes, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Portsmouth City Council, said; "I'm delighted that we've gained approval to work in partnership with The National Museum of the Royal Navy on the funding application, which would enable us to display the LCT 7074 opposite the D-Day Museum. This Landing Craft is a uniquely significant object and is understood to be the last Landing Craft known to have participated in D-Day. It seems only fitting that it should be displayed in the vicinity of the D-Day Museum and having this in place by 2019, in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, would tie in with the transformation of the museum which is planned to be completed in time to mark this occasion. Displaying LCT 7074 in Portsmouth would be another cultural coup for the city and would provide an additional reason for people to visit and to spend time exploring what the seafront has to offer."

More than 800 LCTs took part in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, each capable of carrying ten tanks or other heavy armoured vehicles into battle. Operation Neptune was the naval dimension of Overlord, the largest amphibious operation in history, in which more than 7,000 ships and craft of all sizes landed over 160,000 soldiers on the beaches of Normandy. Of this fleet, fewer than 20 are believed to survive, including LCT 7074.

Photo: Normandy veterans, many of whom served on landing craft, infront of LCT 7074.

By : Museum Editor /12, Oct 2016 Read More

John Jenkins: Portsmouth Volunteer of the Year

John Jenkins: Portsmouth Volunteer of the Year

Congratulations to Normandy veteran John Jenkins, who on 1 June 2016 was named Portsmouth Volunteer of the Year! We had submitted John for the Arts, Culture and Heritage Volunteer award, reflecting his ten years of volunteering at the D-Day Museum. He won that award, and on top of that we were very pleased that he also received the overall, Portsmouth Volunteer of the Year award. The awards are run by Portsmouth Together.

The D-Day Museum has been fortunate in that for several decades local Normandy veterans have come to the museum regularly to talk to visitors. These days, John is one of only a few veterans who are still able to do this regularly. He relates his experience to visitors in a friendly and informal style, and regularly speaks to a wide range of people, from school children to armed forces groups. In 2014, John also acted in multiple performances of a play (performed at the D-Day Museum and elsewhere) involving local young people. The play was loosely based on John's wartime experiences, and was written as a result of John working with the young people.

John joined the British Army in 1940, and served in 233 Company of the Pioneer Corps in various places in the UK. He landed on Gold Beach a little while after D-Day as a sergeant in charge of a section of about 20 men, who established and ran an ammunition dump behind the beach. He continued to serve in the army in Germany just after the end of the war. Volunteering and public service are clearly a big part of John's life. He has volunteered for some 63 years at Portsmouth Football Club, including about 30 years as boardroom steward looking after guests. After the Second World War, he served for about 20 years in Territorial Army with Royal Hampshire Regiment, finishing as a sergeant major. And last year, at age 95, he became the oldest man to abseil down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

The volunteering work of the other Normandy veterans who for many years came to the D-Day Museum to talk to visitors, and who were members of the Normandy Veterans Association, was recognised in 2013 when they won the South East region of the Marsh Award for Volunteering.

By : Museum Editor /02, Jun 2016 Read More

Portsmouth museums receive national recognition

Portsmouth museums receive national recognition

Six Portsmouth museums - including the D-Day Museum - have been awarded national accreditation status by Arts Council England.

Charles Dickens' Birthplace, Cumberland House, D-Day Museum, Eastney Beam Engine House, Portsmouth Museum and Southsea Castle have all achieved the coveted status.

The accreditation scheme sets nationally agreed standards for all museums in the UK. It allows participating museums to demonstrate their commitment to managing collections effectively for the enjoyment and benefit of audiences. Applicants are assessed against a set criteria which covers a range of museum activities.

The six Portsmouth City Council operated sites have had to demonstrate they meet requirements relating to governance and management, services and facilities and care and management of collections.

Visitors to the museums will benefit from the work done as it includes the creation of a customer charter which features 10 points to ensure all guests have the best possible experience.

It is also hoped the announcement will help boost future projects to the museum as accreditation status can strengthen applications for public funding and it also provides a level of reassurance to anyone donating items, collections or funds.

There are currently more than 1,700 Accredited Museums in the scheme, from very small volunteer-run museums to large national institutions.

Annette French, museums accreditation manager, Arts Council England, said: “Being awarded accreditation is an impressive achievement. It recognises the high standard and service that Portsmouth museums provide and acknowledges the hard work of the volunteers and staff.”

By : Museum Editor /04, Apr 2016 Read More

D-Day Museum awarded National Lottery funding

D-Day Museum awarded National Lottery funding

The D-Day Museum in Portsmouth has been awarded £4million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create an international museum to tell the story of D-Day in the 21st Century.  Today's announcement of £4,044,500 comprises the majority of the D-Day Museum's £4.9 million transformation project with just £170,000 of match-funding still needed to make the project a reality. The museum transformation will create spaces for learning, events and displays.  New galleries will tell the story D-Day - from the planning and build up to the day itself - using objects, interactive material and the perspectives of people who were alive at the time.

Cllr Linda Symes, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport said: "We're delighted to get the news we've been anticipating.  We're in the final straight of our fundraising journey to make the transformation of the museum and our aspirations for the project a reality. The £4.9 million transformation project will maximise the impact of the collection and ensure that this important chapter in history is retold in a way which inspires and meets the expectations of today's museum audiences.  The D-Day Museum will reopen as the International Museum of D-Day, Portsmouth ahead of the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019 and tell the story of D-Day in a way which is pertinent to local residents, families, young people and international visitors alike."

Jane Mee, Project Director, D-Day Museum Transformation project, Portsmouth City Council: "The new International Museum of D-Day will be a fantastic addition to the world-class visitor offer in Portsmouth.  Transforming the D-Day Museum will establish the museum as the national centre that the scale and significance of the D-Day story deserves - with exhibitions that truly engage and excite audiences now and into the future - and to inspire interest in and a greater understanding of what happened and why D-Day is still relevant today. 

"Using the words and perspectives of the people who took part on both sides - military and also the French civilians - and the museum's iconic and evocative collections, the D-Day Museum will bring the story to life for this and future generations.  We will create an inspiring, 'must-see' environment, where everyone feels welcome - from school children to academics, families to military history enthusiasts.  We will work with schools and youth organisations to ensure our learning programmes inspire young people."

The museum will close in October 2016 and reopening in late 2017 in good time for D-Day 75 commemorations in June 2019.  Plans for the museum are spectacular and will retell its stories from a historical and personal perspective.  

The museum's activity and events programme will be transformed by the funding, which includes money for a public programmes manager and additional resources for the re-launch of the museum and events to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in 2019.

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “Involving 156 thousand men from the British and Allied forces, the D-Day landings were the largest seaborne invasion the world has ever seen and a momentous event in European history. As we head towards the 75th anniversary, this National Lottery investment will help to refresh and revamp Britain’s only museum dedicated to the landings, helping to bring this story to life for a new generation.”

The D-Day Museum is dedicated to interpreting and commemorating the Normandy landings of June 1944 which marked the start of the allied invasion of North West Europe. It holds a large collection including the only two remaining specially adapted Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle used in the landings and the Dickin Medal awarded to Gustav the pigeon, who brought news of the landings back to the UK.

H.E.G. (Eddie) Wallace, chairman of the Southern (Portsmouth) Branch of the Normandy Veterans Association 1987-2014 said: "As Normandy veterans, we are delighted to hear that the D-Day Museum is receiving this funding. We see the D-Day Museum as a memorial and the national focus for remembering D-Day. It is vital to keep the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy alive, and to remember our comrades who did not come home but are still buried in Normandy."


Photograph shows Normandy veterans Frank Rosier, Eddie Wallace and John Jenkins with the Councillor Frank Jonas the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Linda Symes (Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport) and museum staff.


Funding background:

In June 2014, HLF awarded the D-Day transformation project a 'round one' pass with accompanying development funding of £224,000.  In 2015 a further bid was submitted to HLF for the next phase of funding which has now been confirmed.

The estimated total cost of the project is just under £5 million and fundraising work is still ongoing via the charitable trust – the Portsmouth D-Day Museum Trust to ensure funding for vital outside works to the area and site.

In November the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne allocated £600,000 from Libor funds to the project and Portsmouth City Council has committed £378,000 to the project and costs of £150,000 over the first five years. 

Heritage Lottery Fund - Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery

By : Museum Editor /28, Jan 2016 Read More

Legion d’honneur presentations, 6 January 2016

Legion d’honneur presentations, 6 January 2016

In a ceremony on Wednesday 6 January at the D-Day Museum, three Normandy veterans were presented with the Legion d'honneur by the French Honorary Consul, Captain Francois Jean, infront of an audience of friends and family. The Legion d'Honneur is France's highest decoration, and last year the French government announced that it would award the medal to any Second World War veterans who took part in the Liberation of France in 1944 who wished to apply for it.

The photographs show the three veterans (left to right): Eddie Wallace, who served with the Honourable Artillery Company and landed on Juno Beach on D-Day; Harry Marrington, a gunner on board the Royal Naval Patrol Service ship HMS Olvina which escorted US troops to Omaha Beach on D-Day; Fred Bailey, who served with Special Operations Executive and landed behind enemy lines in the south of France as part of the Jedburghs, who worked with the French Resistance. The photograph below also shows Captain Jean (standing).

The D-Day Museum was happy to be able to provide the venue for this ceremony to take place.

By : Museum Editor /08, Jan 2016 Read More