Military History Collection

The Military History Collections cover two areas. First, D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in 1944; and secondly, the military heritage of Portsmouth, particularly its role as a fortified garrison town.

The principal exhibit at the D-Day Museum is the 272 foot (83 metre) long Overlord Embroidery: the world's longest embroidery. It was inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry and tells the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in a series of thirty-four appliqué panels, each 8 feet long by 3 feet high. The D-Day Museum also holds a significant collection of personal material, including artefacts, photographs, letters, diaries, maps and oral history. The Museum has large exhibits relevant to D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, including Sherman and Churchill tanks, an American LCVP (landing craft, vehicle and personnel), a DUKW (amphibious truck), jeep, scout car and a rare Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle - one of the specialised armoured vehicles developed for the D-Day landings.

Portsmouth was for generations the most heavily defended town in England. A collection of canons, mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries, is displayed at Southsea Castle. A garrison of regular troops was based in Portsmouth. Volunteer units were also raised, and there are related collections of uniform, equipment and photographs: for example, from the Home Guard in the Second World War. Relics and memories of the Blitz and life in wartime Portsmouth are also preserved in the collections.

Please go to our Enquiries page if you have an enquiry about this collection.


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