Embarkation of the Royal Canadian Engineers believed to be at SouthseaEmbarkation of the Royal Canadian Engineers believed to be at Southsea
Embarkation of the Royal Canadian Engineers believed to be at Southsea

Nine rare pictures show Portsmouth and Gosport's role in the D-Day assault of 1944

The D-Day assault was a remarkable operation from allied forces – both in its scale, and secrecy.

D-Day itself, June 6 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of the Second World War.

The News is sharing these amazing, rare photos that capture the event as it unfolded, with Portsmouth and its surrounding area playing such a key role in all of the preparations.

The story of the D-Day landings is told at the museum in Southsea which is dedicated to it. Hidden deep beneath Portsmouth’s Portsdown Hill can be found the remains of the operations centre which helped to bring about what was to be the turning point of the Second World War.

A huge underground bunker, known as UGHQ, was built in 1942 underneath the Victorian-built Fort Southwick. It housed the operations centre which coordinated the D-Day Landings on the beaches of Normandy and supporting airborne operations on June 6 1944, which turned the tide of the war against the Nazis.

The labyrinth of tunnels was the home of 700 men and women of the Royal Navy, Army, RAF and Allied nations who worked on Operation Neptune - the naval phase of the D-Day operation. It also has a direct link to the nearby Southwick Park where Supreme Commander General Eisenhower was based in the weeks leading up to D-Day itself. Meanwhile soldiers camped in places just outside the city, including wood in Denmead, until they were ready to head to France.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.