The D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, in the south of England is the only museum in the UK dedicated entirely to the history of the Allied forces landing on the Normandy beaches on the 6th of June 1944 – better known as D-Day.
Andrew Whitmarsh. a historian from the Portsmouth D-Day Museum explained how the it came about: “The preparations for D-Day took place all way along the south coast of the UK and in other places as well. But there were so many things going on locally.
‘You had lots of the troops that were going to land on D-Day gathered in this area and then they embarked on the ships and landing craft. Also the Allied commanders met at a place called Southwick House which is just a few miles north of Portsmouth in the days leading up to D-Day. They were reviewing the weather and taking decisions about when to launch D-Day.”
The museum focuses on various aspects leading up to the Normandy landings such as the key role women played during the war, working in factories and other jobs deemed crucial for the success of June 6.
But most importantly, the Portsmouth museum has its D-Day veterans. Eighty-eight year old Frank Rosier landed on Gold Beach on the 6th of June, 1944.
He often comes to the museum to talk to young people about why something that took place 70 years ago should never be forgotten: “We’re a bit blasé at times about our freedom. In our country we haven’t been under the foreign hilt since William the Conqueror, 1066. And I think at times we take it for granted. And you can’t taste it. You can’t smell it. You can’t feel it. But if somebody took it away you’d know all about it.”
Throughout the summer, Portsmouth will host a variety of events to commemorate D-Day – and to pay tribute to those who participated in what has been called the biggest invasion in modern warfare history.