THE only surviving landing craft tank from D-Day could be dismantled if £4.5m of funding is not secured, it has been revealed.
As part of a mammoth revamp of the D-Day Story (formerly the D-Day Museum) in Southsea, the museum planned to display the LCT 7074 at its entrance next year - in time for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
In total the project was estimated to cost £5.6m, with £86,000 covered by Portsmouth City Council. The largest chunk of cash needed, £4.5m, would have come from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Costs included its restoration, display, maintenance and creating related activities for visitors.
The craft will still be owned by the National Museum of the Royal Navy who are working in partnership with the D-Day Story to make it accessible to the public.
Although the team involved are confident the money will be awarded later this year, there is no contingency plan in place if the funding is lost.
Speaking at a culture, leisure and sport meeting yesterday, the council's museums boss, Dr Jane Mee, said: 'This is something we have discussed. I think the view is that if they are not inclined to fund this project the only way forward will be to make a record of it and then break it up which would be a tragedy.'
The 183ft vessel is one of only three in the world and the the only surviving one from the D-Day landings. It was recorded as having carried 10 tanks to Normandy on June 6 1944.
Dr Mee added: 'This is a project we are all very excited about, but there were a couple of things we were concerned about. Particularly around the maintenance and upkeep and how the partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy will work. '
The council's culture boss, Cllr Steve Pitt, believed the council would not be able to cover the costs if the funding fell though. He said: 'We are working on the assumption the funding will come through.
'£5m is an awful lot of money for the council to consider. A ‘plan b’ should be worked on.'
It is thought that over the next 10 years the project would to generate around £360,700 from increased visitor numbers.
There were also fears that the money expected from the council was too much. Cllr Frank Jonas said: 'In terms of the £84,000 from the council, that seems remarkably high to move the two existing tanks and the trees.
'I think it is very expensive and as for opening the tanks up to let people look inside them is very interesting. You could open the hatch but I think health and safety should have something to say about that.'
Confirmation on the funding is expected in the autumn.