D-Day: Unique exhibition tells the story of the Normandy Landings through 80 objects

The 80th Anniversary of the D-Day landings is being told through 80 unique objects in a special online exhibition being held by Portsmouth’s D-Day Story museum.
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Portsmouth’s D-Day Story Museum is partnering with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the National Army Museum, the Royal Airforce Museum and the Imperial War Museums and has been releasing images of new objects every day as a countdown to the commemorative events taking place in Portsmouth on June 5.

Cathy Hakes, head of museums at Portsmouth City Council, said: “We want to make the story of D-Day as accessible as possible to as many people as possible and especially the younger generation. Here at the D-Day Story, we have around 30 of the objects. In this year of D-Day 80, we just want to make sure that the stories are kept alive.”

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The collection of images, film and details of objects that bring to life the events that took place before, during and after the Normandy Landings are being published on the D-Day Story’s website and social media from. Of the 80 objects, 30 of them are on display at the D-Day Story in Southsea.

Pictured is: Highbury Primary School pupils with cllr. Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council.Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-9196)Pictured is: Highbury Primary School pupils with cllr. Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council.Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-9196)
Pictured is: Highbury Primary School pupils with cllr. Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council.Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-9196)

Attendees at a launch event included Commodore John Voyce who is the Portsmouth Naval Base Commander and Henry Montgomery, 3rd Viscount, who is the grandson of Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. Field Marshal Montgomery was known for the major contributions he made to the shape of 'Overlord' and the overall campaign in north-west Europe.

Year 5 pupils from Maple Class at Highbury Primary School were also at the launch of the exhibition as they have been been studying VE Day and went along to Cosham Library when they saw the D-Day display. They told us what they thought about some of the objects including Betty White's Coat, Shirley Whittle's Flag and Bertie, Captain Ted North’s ventriloquist dummy.

One pupil said: “It’s really cool to know that we’re able to come here and see these nice cool objects because not many people would have the chance to do this.”

Pictured is: (l-r) Viscount Henry Montgomery, Rachel Donelly from Imperial War Museums, Marc Hanson from D Day Story Trust, cllr. Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, cdre John Voyce, Iain Duncan from RAF Museum, Melanie Marsh from National Army Museum, Andy Renwick from RAF Museum, Matthew Sheldon from NMRN and Cathy Hakes from Portsmouth City Council. Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-9275Pictured is: (l-r) Viscount Henry Montgomery, Rachel Donelly from Imperial War Museums, Marc Hanson from D Day Story Trust, cllr. Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, cdre John Voyce, Iain Duncan from RAF Museum, Melanie Marsh from National Army Museum, Andy Renwick from RAF Museum, Matthew Sheldon from NMRN and Cathy Hakes from Portsmouth City Council. Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-9275
Pictured is: (l-r) Viscount Henry Montgomery, Rachel Donelly from Imperial War Museums, Marc Hanson from D Day Story Trust, cllr. Suzy Horton, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, cdre John Voyce, Iain Duncan from RAF Museum, Melanie Marsh from National Army Museum, Andy Renwick from RAF Museum, Matthew Sheldon from NMRN and Cathy Hakes from Portsmouth City Council. Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-9275
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Another pupil said: “It's like really nice to know that families have been sharing their stories and stuff with all their artefacts and everything with all of us.”

These memorabilia items will help explain the many elements of what remains the largest amphibious warfare invasion in military history.

Portsmouth City Council leader, Councillor Steve Pitt said: "The D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy by Allied forces marked the beginning of the end of WWII in Europe. 80 years later, it has never been so important to keep alive the stories and sacrifices of the many thousands of troops who took part.

Pictured is: Viscount Henry Montgomery.Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-9297)Pictured is: Viscount Henry Montgomery.Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-9297)
Pictured is: Viscount Henry Montgomery.Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-9297)

"So we are delighted our D-Day Story Museum has partnered with major national museums to launch our D-Day in 80 Objects, so all ages can learn about the significance of D-Day ahead of the 80th anniversary events.”

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Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education added: “It's about continuing history and continuing the story. “So the great thing about the exhibition is it's obviously available online for the whole country but more specifically in Portsmouth, it's about recognising local people and local contacts. It's about continuing history and continuing the story.

“So the great thing about the exhibition is it's obviously available online for the whole country but more specifically in Portsmouth, it's about recognising local people and local contacts. These are the shores where young men and boys went off to on the operation and actually what we want is we want people to be able to remember that story.

Pictured is: Tamsin Prowse (10) and Taylor West (10) from Highbury Primary School.Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-6548)Pictured is: Tamsin Prowse (10) and Taylor West (10) from Highbury Primary School.Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-6548)
Pictured is: Tamsin Prowse (10) and Taylor West (10) from Highbury Primary School.Picture: Sarah Standing (180324-6548)

“Sometimes it's their families but more importantly we want children to get here. So we're aiming to try and get 10,000 local children to actually come and see the exhibition and still looking for sponsorship if anyone's interested it's on the website.”

You can visit the museum to see its vast D-Day collection, which includes the Overlord Embroidery, vehicles, uniforms, medals, maps and recordings of veterans who were there. A book of the 80 objects is also being published and will be available from June.

Find the D-Day in 80 Objects on the D-Day Story website as well as the D-Day Story social media.

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