Museum marks 80th anniversary of D-Day with new exhibition and special events

Fort Nelson D-Day 80

D-Day 80 will be marked at Fort Nelson with a host of events including a new exhibition, artillery trail and a D-Day Firepower Weekend.

The exhibition, D-Day: A Portsmouth Story, will open on May 24th and will hear people with a connection to Portsmouth recalling their memories of D-Day.

The display will feature the planning of Operation Overlord through to the events of D-Day and the quiet days afterwards in Portsmouth.

The people’s voices will be accompanied by images from The News, The Imperial War Museum and first-hand accounts from the D-Day Story and the National Museum of the Royal Navy. The free to visit exhibition will run until the end of the year.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings which took place on June 6, 1944, with troops leaving from Portsmouth heading to Normandy.

A museum trail of 10 people, depicted in laser-cut silhouettes, created by Standing with Giants, will also stand alongside pieces from the Royal Armouries collection which have a connection with D-Day for 14 weeks.

The Sexton 25-pounder self-propelled gun, which played a key part on the Operation Overlord, will be on display in time for the D-Day commemorations as part of the artillery trail.

The Sexton came from Canada in 1943 and was designed to be able to fire and move quickly. It fired its guns from the landing craft in support of troops ashore.

On June 1st and 2nd a special D-Day Firepower Weekend will take place at Fort Nelson to mark the 80th anniversary. The event will feature the Sexton 25-pounder self-propelled gun, historical reenactors, face painting and wartime singing duo Perfect Vintage.

The D-Day Firepower Weekend event is free but tickets must be booked in advance online at www.royalarmouries.org Entry is not guaranteed for those who do not book tickets in advance.

A lecture series will also run alongside the series of D-Day events at Fort Nelson with speakers including Andrew Whitmarsh, Curator of the D-Day Story, and Dr Kate Vigurs, an expert on women in World War Two. Tickets cost £7.50 and can be booked online at www.royalarmouries.org

Public Engagement Manager, Lizzie Puddick, said: “At Fort Nelson we overlook the harbour from where the ships departed for D-Day and can see Southwick House where the operation was planned.

“We wanted to run a series of events where local people were able to tell their story of life in Portsmouth around D-Day. Come and join us to mark the D-Day 80th anniversary.”

Fort Nelson is open Sunday to Tuesday 10am – 5pm. Daily in the school holidays. Admission free. Please book tickets online in advance to guarantee entry at www.royalarmouries.org