Southsea, Portsmouth was no different from anywhere else in the country in what it endured during World War 2 but was extraordinary for its role in the D Day landings to liberate Europe from the Nazis.
On the shoreline of Southsea beach is the D Day Story, commemorating the role of the Landings that took place on 6th June 1944. The museum occupies a setting with a clear blue view to the river and sea. There, over 100,000 Allied troops gathered looking out on silent waters waiting for the command to leave.
We remember the men who fought so bravely in the 75th anniversary commemorated today. Without their sacrifice and bravery Europe would have remained in enemy hands, the war that ended in 1945 seemingly impossible to achieve.
Tudor naval history
It is an appropriate site for commemorating naval action as the Solent holds a long military and naval history. Southsea Castle looking across to the Isle Of Wight has existed in one form or another since Tudor times when Henry VIIIth ruled the waves.
The Mary Rose
The Mary Rose, Henry VIII’ths ship sunk in 1545 resides in its low lit museum in the Portsmouth Dockyard.
Worth visiting as well as the D Day Story she lays, protected and rescued from her watery grave by archaeologists in 1982.
D Day Story and the Overlord Embroidery
The D Day Story houses the Overlord Embroidery, a modern interpretation of the Bayeux. It stitches together scenes from 6th June in a long piece of cloth circling the main room.
Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the invasion that took place on 6th June.
Filled with scenes from the day itself it freezes scenes in time, created by artist Sandra Lawrence and made by the Royal School of Needlework between 1968 and 1974.
It is an incredible piece of artwork to walk round, the faces of so many immortalised in thousands of stitches, a frame by frame cartoon of key moments of D Day.
Fashion history: the impact of World War 2
Visitors see exhibits dedicated to the impact of war, including the impact on clothing and fashion.
The government’s measures to control clothing and apparel during WW2 was an enormous undertaking both for Whitehall administratively and for the people of Britain to comprehend.
Everyone but everyone was affected; women, men and children did not escape and those in the forces also. But faced with the sacrifice men were making everyone understood it was necessary, no-one moaned.
While men fought bravely people did their bit pulling together for the war effort on the Home Front.
The end of rationing in 1952
When all rationing ended in 1952, the war years had seen a massive change to clothing manufacture and the world of fashion also. Not only about siren suits: changes to clothing made during WW2 had an influence felt even today.
Government efficiencies were strong enough to bear any national dislike. The influence of of war affects fashions and experts still discuss the experience and impact of restrictions that so many lived through and endured.
Throughout the D Day Story, exhibits show how war worked on the ground; for those in uniform, getting married, knitting for the forces or wearing Utility fashion designs.
It is an extraordinary museum. The presence of the Overlord Embroidery emphasising the great importance of the story of D Day to Britain and the creativity, craft, ingenuity and adaptation made by the British public overall.
On 6th June 2019 we remember those across the world who fought bravely, giving their lives to ensure our freedom today.
© HouseofMirelle.uk 2019