Conservationists who restored one of the last surviving D-Day landing craft tanks to its former glory have received a top award for their efforts. National Historic Ships UK has honoured the team from the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) for its tireless work to restore LCT 7074.
The 193ft vessel was one of more than 800 deployed to take part in the pivotal invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, ferrying troops and tanks across the Channel. After the war, she was transformed into a floating nightclub before being neglected for decades and eventually sinking at her mooring in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, in 2014.
And after years of hard work, the team from the NMRN managed to repair the 300-tonne rusted vessel – which now stands pride of place outside the D-Day Story museum in Southsea.
The NMRN’s heritage team involved in the project has now bagged the third-ever Excellence in Maritime Conservation Award, the trophy of which has been crafted from wood previously removed from Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory.
Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of the NMRN, said it was a proud moment for the team.
Professor Tweddle added: ‘‘It has been a momentous year for LCT 7074 now safely berthed and on display at the D-Day Story in Southsea after a six-year project to save her for the nation.
‘The sheer scale of LCT 7074 is breath-taking and we were honoured to bring her back to life.
‘Her move, from Portsmouth Naval Base to Southsea seafront, in an echo of D-Day itself, was dogged by complexity, delay, working against shifting tides, high winds, and a race against time and road closures, all during Covid restrictions.
‘It could only be achieved with joint partnership working and we are particularly grateful to our partners at Portsmouth City Council, the Royal Navy and Portsmouth Naval Base and to our funders at the National Lottery Heritage Fund.’