LCT 7074, an extraordinary survivor, from an extraordinary event

LCT 7074 - an extraordinary survivor

Currently life is on hold for many in the UK during lockdown. However, a specialist team put together by the National Museum of the Royal Navy have continued working hard to restore D-Day legend LCT 7074.

An incredible survivor, LCT 7074 is the last remaining Landing Craft Tank from D-Day. This historic mission, also known as Operation Overlord, was the allied liberation of Nazi-occupied Western Europe which heralded the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Landing craft tanks took part in Operation Neptune, which was the impressive naval component of Operation Overlord. It involved landing 156,000 Allied troops on fifty miles of enemy coastline in Normandy, France. Most of the invading troops arrived by sea, delivered and supported by more than 7,000 ships and amphibious assault vessels, the majority of which were British. Of those vessels, more than 800 were the large Landing Craft Tank, with only LCT 7074 still surviving today.

After the war LCT 7074 was converted into a floating clubhouse and nightclub. The Warship Preservation Trust attempted to conserve her, however efforts ceased when the Trust went out of business. LCT was lying in private hands, semi-derelict and sunk at her moorings at East Float Dock, Birkenhead until 2014. She was then successfully salvaged and moved to Portsmouth by The National Museum of the Royal Navy, with the help of a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

In partnership with The D-Day Story and Portsmouth City Council, and generously supported by the National Lottery. The National Museum of the Royal Navy is proud to rescue this remarkable boat from certain destruction, restore her, and put her on public display. However the Coronavirus crisis has now put additional strain on this important project.

Before the UK went into lockdown, the end was in sight for LCT 7074’s restoration and things were on track to move this historic boat to her new home at the D-Day Story in Southsea in May. However, lockdown prevented this important move from occurring. In order to move to her new home, LCT must take to the seas for one final time. Just like D-Day planning to move the 59 meter and 300 ton landing craft takes expert precision and complex planning. In order to relocate, tides need to be aligned with clear weather and low traffic. This means the important move has been pushed back to later this summer and LCT will remain at her temporary home at Portsmouth Naval Base for longer than planned. Due to this, we are very grateful to the Ministry of Defense and BAE systems who continue to allow LCT to remain in the enormous ship fabrication hall in which the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers were built. 

However all has not been lost during Covid19 as work has continued to be completed safely. This includes the external paint finish which brings back the original disruptive pattern used for camouflage. Next, we will see her restored funnel, replacement guns and rocket launchers attached.

Before lockdown the project to restore and appropriately display LCT 7074 to the public cost £5.9million. In order to help us achieve our goal, The National Museum of the Royal Navy was awarded a generous grant of £4.7million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Due to the delay additional costs has incurred on this special project which was already relying on the generous donations from the public. Now, we must find an extra £75,000 by the end of August in order to keep restoring this unique survivor. Raising the full amount of funds is crucial for the project and we cannot do this without help. Please help us save this incredible piece of history for the nation and continue to tell the story of D-Day for years to come. You can donate here:
https://www.nmrn.org.uk/donate

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