On Sunday 25th October, Claire Scaramanga, husband and son set off for a day out at the D-Day Story in Portsmouth. With lockdown, this is the first museum visit we’ve made in months – it was great to get out!

The museum was very interesting and well laid out. There was a good mix of artefacts and interactive activities.

But the two things that really brought it to life for us were the giant wall screen with the events of D-Day unfolding as they happened, and the video of men in the back of a landing craft. Hearing their inner thoughts and seeing them flinch at every bomb brought home how frightening that journey across the channel must have been.

I was also fascinated by the appeal by the Government, via the BBC, in 1942 for postcards and photos of France to help plan the landings. 10 million were received in total, each one copied and the originals returned. What an effort!

Other highlights included:

D-Day Museum Shirley Whittle badges
D-Day guide to Great Britain for US soldiers
  • The short guide to Great Britain for US soldiers – apparently there was also a film made, starring a serving Hollywood actor. They said we Brits can’t make a decent cup of coffee
  • Four-year old Shirley Whittle’s badges which were given to her by troops leaving for France
  • One of Monty’s berets – I hadn’t known he always wore the Royal Tank Regiment insignia (my grandfather’s regiment)
  • The engineering innovation that took place during the war, with the laying of a fuel pipeline from England to France and the Mulberry “build a harbour” to allow larger ships to land in France without the danger of capturing a well-defended harbour

Finally, and soberingly, this quote:

D-Day Museum Portsmouth

All in all, a great day out with tasty refreshments in the café afterwards and a visit to the shop. Think I’ll see if us Brits have got any better at making coffee now!