WATCH: Portsmouth’s new D-Day museum to open next week after £5m revamp

Captain Michael Livesay signing the ship on for service during the ceremony at Portsmouth naval base

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A Sherman Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle on display at The D-Day story        Photo: Chris Moorhouse

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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.

A British 25 pounder gun gun, a naval 15 inch shell of the type that would have been fired from a battleship, and a shift dress made from parachute silk in the refurbished D-Day Story museum

A British 25 pounder gun gun, a naval 15 inch shell of the type that would have been fired from a battleship, and a shift dress made from parachute silk in the refurbished D-Day Story museum

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.

A dramatic view inside the new museum PHOTO: Chris Moorhouse

A dramatic view inside the new museum PHOTO: Chris Moorhouse

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.’

A detail from the Overlord Embroidery PHOTO Chris Moorhouse

A detail from the Overlord Embroidery PHOTO Chris Moorhouse

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.

The world-famous Overlord Embroidery takes pride of place in The D-Day story Photo: Chris Moorhouse

The world-famous Overlord Embroidery takes pride of place in The D-Day story Photo: Chris Moorhouse

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.

From left: Curator Andrew Whitmarsh, collections intern Miranda Tempest and collections researcher James Daly            PHOTO: Chris Moorhouse

From left: Curator Andrew Whitmarsh, collections intern Miranda Tempest and collections researcher James Daly PHOTO: Chris Moorhouse

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.

A Sherman Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle on display at The D-Day story        Photo: Chris Moorhouse

A Sherman Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle on display at The D-Day story Photo: Chris Moorhouse