US Veterans Remembered in New UK D-Day Museum

By Paul Pinkerton
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US Veterans Remembered in New UK D-Day Museum

Paul Pinkerton
 
D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.K.

Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.K. Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
 
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If you’re traveling to the UK or live locally, it will be worth a visit to the brand new and newly opened museum that is helping to tell the story of D-Day and the American and British troops that left from Portland in Dorset.

The Castletown D-Day Centre the brainchild of local business man Derek Luckhurst who gave over a former warehouse that was once a Royal Naval facility so that museum could be created there.

 

A former bake house for the dockyard and fleet now houses a truly varied collection of items helping to tell the story of D-Day and how it impacted the troops as well as the local people living around Castletown.

 

Owner Derek Luckhurst D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.K.Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
Owner Derek Luckhurst D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.K.
Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net

Thousands of troops left from the pier and slipway that is only 50 yards from where the museum housed is today.

A full size replica ‘Spitfire’ hangs overhead inside, and a marvelous example of a Sherman tank stands at the entrance with weapons at the ready.

 

Spitfire    Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
Spitfire    Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net

This American Sherman tank was damaged in action in northern France and was brought back after being restored by a military group in Catz in Normandy.

Her livery is in that of the US Army 743rd Tank Battalion who’s tanks left from the same port back in 1944.

 

Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net

A fairly rare BSA M20 with sidecar forms part of the display too, and is a particular favorite of Derek!

 

The museum is proud that it allows as much interaction as it can for visitors with some items carrying the sign ‘you may operate this gun’ or ‘you can climb on this vehicle.’

 

Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net

Mr Luckhurst said, “Its tribute to the service men and women who left from here in June 1944 and also helps to tell the story of those that lived in the immediate area around the docks at that time.”

 

American sailor stacking Jerry cans D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.K.Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
American sailor stacking Jerry cans D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.K.
Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net

Several events are planned and include convoys of many military vehicles to and from the museum. It is sure to be popular with many former service personnel as the area around Weymouth and Portland does hold special veterans weekends every year in June.

 

Utah Beach sign D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.K.Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
Utah Beach sign D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.K.
Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net

Located nearby are two remaining Mulberry harbor sections. Giant 7000 ton concrete units that were left over from 1944 and would have been used to help make a large artificial harbor on the Normandy coast during the initial invasion.

 

Mulberry Harbour units near to the D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.KPicture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
Mulberry Harbour units near to the D-Day Centre at Castletown at Portland Dorset U.K
Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net

The museum has been over three years in the making and it is helping to regenerate an area of Portland that has become rundown over the years.

 

US Airborne badgePicture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net
US Airborne badge
Picture by: Geoff Moore/ www.thetraveltrunk.net

This and other new building projects are turning the area into a diving, fishing and holiday home area. Located as it is on the very edge of Portland harbor and that was the harbor used for the sailing events at the London 2012 Olympic games.

www.castletownddaycentre.com

Original Article – Thanks to Geoff Moore :: Travel photographer, writer and blogger Geoff Moore has been a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers for 10 years and has traveled the world for over 30 years.

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