D-Day Veterans Visit Second World War Landing Craft Prior to Conservation

This afternoon, 28th September, a small group of D-Day veterans visited the recently raised vessel LCT 7074, for what is likely to be the sole opportunity to view the landing craft before the National Museum of the Royal Navy embarks on an assessment of her conservation needs.
 
Many of the veterans served on landing crafts similar to LCT 7074, for most this will be the first time they will have got up close to a LCT since they were in active service in the Second World War. During their visit the D-Day veterans were welcomed by Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy and given a short tour of the vessel.
 
Ron Smith, a wireman on LCT 947 (a later model than the 7074) said: "Memories immediately came flooding back as soon as I saw her. Her size - two feet longer than HMS Victory apparently - struck me.  We were thrilled to get a chance to see her today and can't wait to see her restored."
 
Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy said “LCT 7074 is one of the last of these vital workhorses known to have participated in D-Day. Ordinary vessels, they performed an extraordinary task; carrying up to ten Sherman tanks, and transporting almost all the heavy artillery and armoured vehicles that landed in Normandy. This allowed the amphibious force to win major engagements and remain equipped to fight for months without a friendly port. It is exceptionally moving to welcome the Veterans today, to share in their memories and ensure they are recorded forever."
 
LCT 7074, the last Second World War Landing Craft (Tank) in the UK and one of the last in the world is a campaign veteran of the D-Day landings. She was raised from Liverpool Docks last year by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (time-lapse available) and transported by sea to Portsmouth Naval Base. This vital stage in her career was only possible thanks to a £916,149 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and represented a last chance to save a priceless example of Second World War and naval heritage.
 
Fiona Talbott, Head of NHMF, said: “Set-up as a memorial to those who have given their lives in service to this country, it’s fitting that the National Heritage Memorial Fund has helped safeguard this remarkable survivor from the D-Day landings. She will now help future generations understand one of the most significant military campaigns in world history.”
 
More than 800 LCTs took part in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, each capable of carrying ten tanks or other heavy armoured vehicles into battle. Operation Neptune was the naval dimension of Overlord, the largest amphibious operation in history, in which more than 7,000 ships and craft of all sizes landed over 160,000 soldiers on the beaches of Normandy. Of this fleet, fewer than ten are believed to survive, including LCT 7074 which is understood to be the only vessel of this kind left in Britain.

Nelson's funeral barge

The funeral barge used to transport Nelson’s body down the Thames is preserved at the NMRN.