D-Day landing craft tank in 'much better condition' than expected following restoration works
THE only remaining D-Day craft of its kind is in 'much better condition' than expected following extensive restoration works prior to it going on display in Southsea.
It is thought the LCT 7074 - or landing craft, tank – which was earmarked to be returned it its original state in 2017, could be ready to take its place outside the D-Day Story on the seafront in early May.
The 183ft vessel was used to transport tanks over the English Channel to Normandy in 1944. After the war it was used as a nightclub in Liverpool before falling into disrepair.
Portsmouth City Council's culture boss, Councillor Steve Pitt, said: 'The conservation work has gone really really well.
'It is currently in much better condition than we had thought it would be. And all the works down by the D-Day Story are progressing ready for its arrival.'
However, he acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic could have an affect on progress going forward.
'If things are able to stay on track it will be in place by early May with a view to be open ready summer,' he said.
'There are other LCTs left by they have been converted into other things, this is the last one that was at D-Day that is now in such reasonable condition.
'D-Day is so significant to the city because of the role Portsmouth played. The LCT will help boost visitor interest to the D-Day Story.'
In total the project is estimated to cost £5.6m with £4.5m provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Portsmouth City Council has contributed £84,000 towards the scheme with the outstanding amount raised by the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which will retain ownership of the vessel.
The council will contribute a further £12,000 to meet the cost of the conservation of the D-Day Tanks that will be displayed on the LCT's deck.
As part of plans the vessel will be displayed outside the museum with columns and a canopy to protect it.