D-Day memories to be preserved after grant funds booklet

Portsmouth & Southsea railway station by Andy Cooper

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A COMMUNITY association has been given a grant to produce a booklet of D-Day memories.

Hampshire County Council has awarded Portchester Community Association £1,565 to gather local stories and memories of people’s experiences in the period leading up to D-Day.

To help get a range of memories and stories, the association, which is in West Street, Portchester, is calling on residents to get in touch.

Mik Norman, project adviser at Portchester Community Association, said: ‘We’ve established a steering group to collate information for the D-Day booklet.

‘We’re keen to hear first-hand from anyone living locally at the time or stories and anecdotes handed down through families.

‘Both military and civilian memories are sought.’

As well as the grant from council, the association is getting help from the D-Day Museum in Southsea, through Heritage Lottery funding.

Mik added: ‘Any local memory relevant to D-Day and the period before and after is welcome, as are photos and artefacts.

‘Whether the story is of loved ones lost in the landings and operations, childhood memories of troop movements, Home Guard experiences or working in the boat yards – all are relevant.’

Mr Norman said the memories will be collated into a booklet to be distributed free to all residents born on or before D-Day, to mark the 70th anniversary of the day in June. ‘Year 6 pupils in Portchester schools will also get a free copy with a modest charge to others to help cover costs,’ said Mik

Portchester village did not host military camps or vehicle standings during the Second World War.

But the A27 running through it was one of the few two-way routes for complex troop and vehicle movements.

And in 1944, many local people worked at Vosper’s boatyard, Fort Southwick or Southwick House as part of secret D-Day preparations.

The steering group will research any contemporary Portchester references at Kew National Archives, the Imperial War Museum, Hampshire Archives and other sources.

Anyone with stories, experiences or research should email admin@portchesterca.org.uk or phone (023) 9221 0048.

You can also drop into The Hub at 7 West Street, Portchester, PO16 9XB.