TALES from one of the most epic battles in history are just days away from being revealed as a stunning new £5m museum prepares to open its doors.
Final touches are being made to Southsea’s newly-revamped D-Day museum, following the heritage site’s major makeover to become The D-Day Story.
After months of toil, city leaders have now confirmed the ‘world-class’ attraction will open to the public on Good Friday.
The major modernisation project has seen the renowned military site completely transformed, not just in its layout but its tone too.
Historians have spent years painstakingly compiling 50 stories of all those involved in the historic 1944 invasion, including a host of never-before-seen displays.
They tell the tales of those who battled on the bloody beaches of Normandy – from both sides of the conflict.
But the new attraction also shines a light on the city’s residents, from workers slaving away in Portsmouth’s dockyard to the heartbreaking memories of a Gosport child waving soldiers goodbye.
City culture boss, Councillor Linda Symes, was excited by Portsmouth’s newest heritage offering, which she is convinced will attract people from across the world.
‘It is absolutely fantastic,’ said Cllr Symes. ‘What we have got here in the city is world class, it really is.
‘This is making us an unmissable destination.’
Inside there are new galleries, complete with tanks, landing craft and displays.
As well as the stories, there are pieces of equipment on show, ranging from deadly German machine guns, to reconnaissance cameras.
Also new are a number of video displays, including an impressive one from the deck of a landing craft.
Elizabeth Staples, of Old Portsmouth, was a regular at the old museum and was blown away by its makeover.
She said: ‘It is excellent.
‘We have got a high bench mark in Portsmouth because we have got the Mary Rose exhibition.
‘This is another jewel in the crown. I think this will attract lots of visitors. It’s superb. It really celebrates the sacrifice of so many people.’
Cllr Donna Jones, Portsmouth City Council boss, said the museum would create a ‘lasting legacy’.
She said: ‘The new museum blew me away, it’s completely transformed.
‘The personal story of men who served in Second World War is told sensitively and imaginatively.
At the heart of the collection is the 83-metre Overlord Embroidery, an art textile marking D-Day based on the world-famous Bayeux Tapestry. Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, said the embroidery could be temporarily exchanged with France to allow a fleeting visit of the 11th century tapestry to the city.
She added: ‘Having the Bayeux tapestry visit Portsmouth would be a great boost for our museums and the city, and create huge local interest.’
The museum’s upgrade was funded, in part, by a grant from the Heritage Lottery.