Restored craft from D-Day makes one last beach landing

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It is the last surviving landing craft to have taken part in D-Day. Now, the vessel LCT 7074 has completed her final voyage.

In August, the ship was moved from Portsmouth Naval Base, where she underwent restoration, to her new home at Southsea’s D-Day Story Museum to take up her new role as a visitor attraction.

This unique ship is the last of over 800 tank-carrying landing craft to have served at D-Day, the amphibious Allied assault on Normandy on 6 June 1944.

The LCT 7074,
which took part in the D-Day
landings, being moved to
its new home in Southsea in
August following restoration.
The LCT 7074, which took part in the D-Day landings, being moved to its new home in Southsea in August following restoration. Image: The National Museum of the Royal Navy.

The landings marked the beginning of an intensive summer of fighting in which France and the Low Countries were liberated from Nazi rule.

During the invasion, LCT 7074 put ten tanks and a contingent on soldiers ashore at Gold Beach, surviving German shell fire, which sank the craft next to her.

After the war, the ship began a new life as a nightclub before sinking in a semi-derelict condition at Birkenhead docks.

The restoration project, which began in 2014, is a collaboration between the National Museum of the Royal Navy and Portsmouth City Council, alongside a £4.7 million grant provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The 59m-long, 300-tonne ship was restored to her original 1944 look, and was fitted with a new funnel, replacement guns, and rocket launchers.

Her transportation round the bay to Southsea was intended to take place in June but was postponed by the pandemic. Much like on D-Day itself, the move was postponed by a further day due to stormy weather in late August.

Commenting on the transfer from the base, Councillor Steve Pitt of Portsmouth City Council said, ‘The move was a great success and we are so pleased that LCT is now in her final position outside the D-Day Story in Southsea.’

He added, ‘The ship is a great addition to our current offering and is a fitting tribute to all those who served at D-Day.’

Visitors will have a chance to step aboard the landing craft when it opens to the public later this autumn. For information, visit the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s website.

This article was published in the October/November issue of Military History Matters. To find out more about the magazine and how to subscribe, click here.

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