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Dip into your pockets to help restore D-Day veteran

Dip into you pockets to help restore D-Day veteran
6 June 2018
Historians are hoping for a D-Day push to raise money to restore one of the last surviving vessels from the Normandy invasion.

LCT 7074 is believed to be the final landing craft (tank) involved in the 1944 operation to liberate France from the Nazi yoke.

Bosses at the National Museum of the Royal Navy want the craft, which they saved from the scrapyard, to be the centrepiece of the newly-revamped D-Day Museum in Southsea.

They’ve been offered £4m of lottery cash to that end – but only if they can raise £1m to kick-start the restoration project.

Most of that will come from major donors or sponsors, but the team are also looking for small donations from members of the public (aka crowdfunding) to make up £25,000 of that £1m.

Around 800 landing craft were involved on D-Day, with the LCTs delivering ten tanks or other heavy armour on to the beaches of Normandy.

After a chequered post-war career including conversion into a floating clubhouse and nightclub, the ship was in private hands, semi-derelict and sunk at her moorings at East Float Dock, Birkenhead, until she was moved to Portsmouth in 2014 with the aim of restoring the vessel.

Which is music to the ears of LCT veterans Peter Smoothly (RN) and Geoff Pulzer and Len Brace (both Army) who visited Portsmouth to share their stories of the craft and underline the importance of preserving 7074.

For Len, just 19 in June 1944, his cross-Channel trip was his first time in a boat. As his LCT approached the Normandy shore, he was treated to the most impressive display of firepower in his life.

“It was quite something over there – explosions, fires burning. It was a little bit like a mini hell,” he recalled.

You can watch an excerpt from the interview with the three veterans here: https://youtu.be/pCRyE_V8ojs

And you can donate to the LCT 7074 campaign to keep the memories of Peter, Geoff, Len and other Normandy veterans alive at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lct-7074

 

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