Union flag in Portsmouth Museums collection erroneously thought to have been flown during D-Day is to head to landing ship tank museum in America
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Portsmouth City Council will decide on whether a flag currently in the Portsmouth Museums’ collection will be disposed of and transferred to a museum in Evansville, Indiana.
The flag was donated by the adopted son of a now-deceased veteran who acquired the flag while serving in the Royal Navy. The donor firmly believed, at the time of donating the flag, that his adoptive father had taken part during the D-Day landings on board a landing craft tank.
After obtaining his father’s service records from the Ministry of Defence it was confirmed that the veteran did serve on Landing Ship, Tank (LST) 157. However, the records also indicated that he was still in training during the D-Day landings and that he didn’t serve on LST 157 until 1945-46 in the Far East.
Therefore the flag no longer meets the Portsmouth Museums’ collecting policy as it has no connection to Portsmouth or the D-Day landings. The donor confirmed through his solicitor, as he himself is in poor health, that he was happy for the flag to be rehomed in a suitable museum.
Several UK museums, including the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the National Maritime Museum, either did not wish to acquire the flag ‘or did not respond’ to Portsmouth Museums.
Following this the LST Ship Memorial at Evansville, Indiana in America, was contacted and they confirmed an interest in acquiring it. The museum, on the northern shore of the Ohio River, offers visitors the chance to board a surviving LST 325.
Both the LST 325 and the LST 157, which the flag in question flew on, were built during the Second World War at Evansville Shipyard, very close to the docked naval vessel. It is hoped the flag, which has a strong connection to the LST 325 and to Evansville, will help tell the story of how US-built ships were operated by the British during the Second World War.
The means of disposal will be decided on February 10.