ONE of the last surviving landing craft from D-Day has been retrieved from the depths – and is heading for Portsmouth.
It has been saved after a £916,149 grant from the National Memorial Heritage Fund to the Portsmouth-based National Museum of the Royal Navy.
The derelict vessel LCT 7074 – the final Second World War Landing Craft (Tank) in the UK – has been sunk at her moorings in Birkenhead but the museum undertook an operation to float her over the past two days.
Professor Dominic Tweddle, the director general of the museum, said: ‘As far as we can tell, LCT 7074 is the last of these vital workhorses known to have participated in D-Day.
‘They were the backbone of the fleet, carrying up to 10 Sherman tanks and transported almost all of the tanks, heavy artillery and armoured vehicles landed in Normandy which allowed the amphibious force to win major engagements and remain equipped to fight for months without a friendly port.
‘This humble but vital ship played a significant role for the navy. ’
Conservation work is under way to make her safe for a temporary move to Portsmouth Naval Base where she will be stored while further plans are made.
Discussions have taken place with the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth over a possible display there to tie in with its upcoming redesign in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
More than 800 LCTs took part in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, each capable of carrying 10 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 10 are believed to survive, including LCT 7074.