The last surviving landing craft of its kind, which carried 10 tanks and crew members to Normandy on D-Day, will re-open to the public as part of The D-Day Story museum in Portsmouth today 17th May 2021.
Landing Craft Tank LCT 7074 is the last surviving example of more than 800 tank-carrying landing craft that served at D-Day on 6 June 1944.
The 59-metre, 300-tonne ship opened in December last year, however, The D-Day Story was closed eight days later due to Portsmouth moving into Tier 4. Now, on Monday 17 May, it will re-open to the public once again.
Stephen Baily, Director of Culture, Leisure and Regulatory Services at Portsmouth City Council, said:
“LCT 7074 was a hugely popular addition to the museum when we officially opened in December, and we were disappointed to have to close so quickly, but we are delighted to be re-opening The D-Day Story next week.
“It is a huge honour to hold LCT 7074 at the museum; another piece of history in Portsmouth that highlights the important part our city played in D-Day.”
Since being rescued from Birkenhead Dock in 2014 by the National Museum of Royal Navy (NMRN) and The National Heritage Memorial Fund, LCT 7074 has undergone a six-year programme of restoration works. This has included new internal and external paint, a fully restored funnel, important electrical works and the fitting of replica guns and rocket launchers. The project has also recreated the bridge, wheelhouse and the crew’s living spaces so visitors can get an impression of life on board the landing craft.
This week, it was announced that LCT 7074 has been shortlisted for the Conservation and Restoration Project of the Year at the 2021 Museum and Heritages Awards.
Nick Hewitt, Head of Collections and Exhibitions at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said:
“The restoration of LCT 7074 has been a long and arduous project for the team at NMRN, and we have encountered several setbacks with the movement and opening of the ship due to COVID-19. So, to see her outside The D-Day Story and to know that so many visitors will be able to experience her first-hand is a fantastic feeling.
“When she was rescued by the museum, she was rusty, unloved and covered in barnacles; having spent many years submerged at Birkenhead Dock. But now, she is transformed.”
Much of the transformation of LCT 7074 took place at Portsmouth Naval Base, managed by NMRN and Portsmouth City Council, and supported through a £4.7 million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players who raise £30 million every week for good causes in the UK.
Stuart McLeod, Director London and South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted that after six years of dedicated work, LCT 7074 is restored and ready to welcome visitors on board. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, visitors to The D-Day Story will be able to immerse themselves in the important story that this outstanding piece of maritime heritage tells.”
From Monday 17 May, entry to LCT 7074 is included in admission to The D-Day Story meaning visitors will be able to step onboard, learn more about the history of the landing craft, explore two refurbished tanks and visit the upper deck, bridge and gun deck.
The museum is open from 10 am-5 pm, seven days a week. Tickets can be booked at www.theddaystory.com or purchased on the day. All visitors 16+ will be required to provide their details as part of the NHS test and trace. This, and a reduced capacity, may lead to queues outside the museum on busy days and visitors are advised to consider the weather on the day of their visit.