D-Day remembered.

Operation Overlord was the code name for the Allied invasion of Normandy in northwest Europe. The assault phase of Operation Overlord was known as Operation Neptune. The D-Day operation of June 6, 1944, brought together the land, air and sea forces of the allied armies in what became known as the largest invasion force in human history.

The invasion force was made up of 7,000 ships and landing craft manned by over 195,000 naval personnel from the allied countries. Some 133,000 troops from England, Canada and the United States landed on D-Day. Casualties from the three countries during the landing numbered 10,300. By June 30th, over 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies had landed on the Normandy shores.

Here on the South coast of England, there are many links to these operations. Today I made a visit to “The D-Day Story”. a museum on the seafront at Southsea Portsmouth.

Museum

The museum tells the story of D-Day through artefacts pictures and personal accounts from veterans.

Beach Armored Recovery Vehicle based on a Sherman tank body

Rupert!

On D-Day, hundreds of burlap and sand dummies with cotton parachutes were dropped across France, far from where the real paratroopers were landing in Normandy. Just a third the size of a person, the fakes nicknamed “Rupert” looked larger in the air and fooled many on the ground.

Landing Craft Tank LCT 7074

This tank landing craft was saved from Birkenhead docks where after being used as a nightclub she sank after falling into disrepair. She played a vital role in transporting men and supplies across the English Channel. On D-Day, LCT 7074 carried 10 tanks. Now restored with a Sherman Tank and a Churchill Tank in her load bay.

Embroidery.

The Overlord Embroidery tells the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in 34 hand-stitched panels based on photographs taken at the time. It has a total length of 83 metres.

Lord Dulverton commissioned the embroidery in 1968.  He set up an advisory committee including retired senior officers from the army, navy and air force to help him with the project.  Together they decided what events the embroidery would represent.

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