The D-Day Museum

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Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum is Britain’s only museum dedicated solely to covering all aspects of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, on 6 June 1944. D-Day was a turning point in the Second World War, and a moment when the course of world events depended on the Allied troops taking part.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother opened the Museum in June 1984, on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. The Museum’s centrepiece is the magnificent Overlord Embroidery. At 272 feet (83 metres) in length, this is one of the world’s longest embroideries, and the Twentieth Century equivalent of the Bayeux Tapestry. It was commissioned by Lord Dulverton of Batsford (1915-92) as a tribute to the sacrifice and heroism of those men and women who took part in Operation Overlord. Designed by artist Sandra Lawrence, the Embroidery took five years to complete. An accompanying multi-language audio commentary brings the events of the Embroidery to life.

Viewing the Overlord Embroidery

Within the Embroidery gallery is the audio-visual theatre, where archive film footage, music, wartime images and the words of those who lived through it combine to evoke the atmosphere of World War II. Extensive displays of personal memorabilia, maps, uniforms, vehicles and other historic artefacts complete your visit to the D-Day Museum.

Then in the Museum's displays visitors experience the sights and sounds of Britain at War - such as an air raid warden's living room in the Blitz, troops preparing for D-Day in their forest camp, the map room at the Allied headquarters at Southwick House, and a Horsa glider that has landed in Normandy.

Museum scene showing Horsa glider that has landed in Normandy

The displays continue with a reconstruction of the Allied landings by sea and air on D-Day itself - World War II's 'longest day'. A real LCVP landing craft is on display, as is a rare Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle (BARV) tank.

Museum vehicle display including Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle

Museum displays including landing craft

The last section of the exhibition, 'Portsmouth Memories', features the recorded reminiscences of local men, women and children who experienced life on the Home Front or took part in D-Day. The final image in the exhibition - a photograph of the rows of gravestones in the war cemetery at Ranville in Normandy - is a reminder of the price of victory, which must never be forgotten.

Portraits of Normandy veterans

Normandy veteran Arthur Ayshford is interviewed about his experiences
On the 65th anniversary of D-Day, the D-Day Museum worked with Solent Camera Club to take portrait photographs of Normandy veterans and people involved in the preparations for D-Day. The photographs can be viewed in a photo book in the museum, and are also on our website: click here to see them.