The WWII Tank Landing Craft, LCT 7074, a veteran of D-day, has finally made the journey from Portsmouth Naval Base to her new home on Southsea where she will be the newest addition to the D-Day Story museum.
The newly renovated 59-metre long, 300-ton ship was moved around from Portsmouth Naval Base to Southsea Beach on a huge barge, but the first attempt to land her on Saturday night had to be abandoned due to high winds. However, improved conditions enabled her to land this morning at 3.50am, and from there she was moved slowly along the beach road (video clip here) to her new display site outside the outside the D-Day Story in Southsea
Landing Craft – Tank (LCT) 7074 is the last surviving example of some 800 tank carrying landing craft that served at D-Day. She has spent the past few months under restoration at Portsmouth Naval Base in a joint collaboration by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) and Portsmouth City Council alongside a £4.7million grant provided by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
When the ship opens to the public in the autumn with two refurbished tanks on display on the ship’s deck, visitors will have the chance to see what the D-Day veterans experienced en route to Normandy.
For now though, COVID-19 continues to influence the ship and our ability to see it.
This move was originally planned for June but was delayed due to the Coronavirus crisis. Nick Hewitt, Head of Collections and Exhibitions at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: “Delaying the project was a difficult decision but essential to ensure the safety of the teams working on her. Unfortunately this delay has resulted in additional costs to the project and we now find ourselves having to raise an additional £75K to help us plug the COVID-19 gap.”
You can support the LCT 7074 project by donation and learn about the huge restoration process through a series of blogs to be published by the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the D-Day story over the coming months.
Also COVID-19 impacted today’s operation. Not many people saw it.
“Unfortunately due to Covid 19 we had to keep the details of the move as secret as possible from the public as we did not want big crowds to gather,” said Nick Hewitt.
What a pain this pandemic is!