Heritage team honoured for 'breath-taking' effort to save D-Day landing craft tank

DEDICATED conservationists who restored one of the last surviving D-Day landing craft tanks to its former glory have bagged a top award for their efforts.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 29th November 2021, 11:13 am
D-Day Landing Craft survivor and museum re-opens to the public in Portsmouth

Landing Craft Tank LCT 7074 is the last surviving example of more than 800 tank-carrying landing craft that served at D-Day on 6 June 1944.
D-Day Landing Craft survivor and museum re-opens to the public in Portsmouth Landing Craft Tank LCT 7074 is the last surviving example of more than 800 tank-carrying landing craft that served at D-Day on 6 June 1944.

National Historic Ships UK has honoured the team from the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) for its tireless work to restore LCT 7074.

The 193ft vessel was one of more than 800 deployed to take part in the pivotal invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, ferrying troops and tanks across the Channel.

After the war, she was transformed into a floating nightclub before being neglected for decades and eventually sinking at her mooring in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, in 2014.

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Unique D-Day survivor LCT 7074 awarded for conservation excellence LCT 7074

The then-director of National Historic Ships UK, the late Martyn Heighton, approached the NMRN and suggested the museum could restore LCT and rescue her from being scrapped.

And after years of hard work, the team from the NMRN managed to repair the 300-tonne rusted vessel - which now stands pride of place outside Southsea’s D-Day Story museum.

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The NMRN’s heritage team involved in the project has now bagged the third-ever Excellence in Maritime Conservation Award, the trophy of which has been crafted from wood previously removed from Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of the NMRN, said it was a proud moment for the team and a ‘fitting tribute’ to Mr Heighton’s ‘foresight’.

Prof Tweddle added: ‘‘It has been a momentous year for LCT 7074 now safely berthed and on display at the D-Day Story in Southsea after a six-year project to save her for the nation.

‘The sheer scale of LCT 7074 is breath-taking and we were honoured to bring her back to life.

‘Her move, from Portsmouth Naval Base to Southsea seafront, in an echo of D-Day itself, was dogged by complexity, delay, working against shifting tides, high winds, and a race against time and road closures, all during Covid restrictions.

‘It could only be achieved with joint partnership working and we are particularly grateful to our partners at Portsmouth City Council, the Royal Navy and Portsmouth Naval Base and to our funders at the National Lottery Heritage Fund.’

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