Museums mark the 65th anniversary of D-Day

By Culture24 Staff | 04 June 2009
  • News
  • Archived article
photo of boats and trucks on a beach

(Above) Picture courtesy IWM

This weekend sees the 65th anniversary of D-Day, and a number of museums are holding special events to commemorate the occasion.

The Royal Armouries Museum Leeds

The Royal Armouries have commissioned a powerful tribute to the role of British World War Two Royal Naval (RN) veterans in the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach, premiering at the Royal Armouries Museum on June 6 2009.

Filmed by D-Day veteran's son and World War Two oral historian Martyn Cox, the production aims to acknowledge the role played by both the British and American troops on the Normandy beaches.

Martyn is the son of the late Lieutenant Stanley Cox RNVR, who was second in command of a landing craft on D-Day. The film features rarely seen archive footage of the landings alongside testimonials and accounts from RN veterans and US soldiers who went ashore in RN landing craft.

"Sadly, I never filmed an oral history interview with my father but I found a short written account of his D-Day experiences in his belongings after he died and I plan to use an excerpt in the film," he said. "I recently managed to track down one of his shipmates, John Shine who on camera told me more of the story."

re-enactor in WW2 uniform

(Above) Picture courtesy D-Day Museum, Portsmouth

"After the US troops and vehicles they'd carried on LCT1123 had got on to the beach, it became clear that their tank landing craft was stuck and jammed on top of a submerged American vehicle. It took more than two hours while under German fire from the low cliffs before they managed to cut themselves free and get off the beach."

"John describes on camera that just as my Dad yelled from the bridge for him to keep his head down, a German bullet slammed into the mast behind my Dad's head. A few inches the wrong way and I’d never have been born and so not made this film."

The film will premier at midday and the Royal Armouries will be holding a series of other events throughout the day, from 1940s hair and makeup workshops and swing dance to a cavalcade horse show.

Call 08700 344 344 or visit the Royal Armouries website for more details.

re-enactors in WW2 uniforms

(above) Picture courtesy of D-Day Museum, Portsmouth

D-Day Museum, Portsmouth

A packed day of events has been planned at the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth with free admission and a special late night opening to celebrate D-Day 65.

There will be presentations on the equipment and uniform that a US airborne soldier would have worn at the time by the 101 Pathfinder re-enactment group.

Families taking part in the Museum's family trail will have the chance to win a copy of Dorling Kindersley’s new book 'World War II: The Definitive Visual Guide.'

For more information go to the D-Day Museum website.

a jeep

(above) Picture courtesy of D-Day Museum, Portsmouth

Party in Portsmouth

The Royal British Legion’s Party in Portsmouth will mark the 65th anniversary of D-Day in true 1940s style at three sites near the seafront.

Enjoy 1940s music and dancing at the bandstand site with sounds of the Memphis Belles and Ray Gelato and you can join in some wartime moves with the Lindy Hoppers.

There will also be a D-Day 65 free bike ride around Portsmouth and you can take part in at any point along the route from the 1k to the 15k mark.

For more information go to the British Legion website.

a photo of some soldiers

(above) Picture courtesy of IWM

The Imperial War Museum, London

The Imperial War Museum will be showing a series of films in its cinema to mark the 65th anniversary on June 6.

The films include footage from the landings and documentaries about the events of the D-Day landings.

For more information, go to the IWM Museum website.