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D-Day 80th Anniversary

Open Tuesday, 14 May - Saturday, 6 July

D-Day display case

6th June 2024 marks the 80th Anniversary of D-Day, and due to its proximity to France, Sussex played a vital role in preparations.

In the lead up to D-Day the whole of Sussex was inundated with allied troops, equipment, and vehicles, preparing for Operation Overlord. Operation Overlord began with Operation Neptune, the code name for the Normandy landings more commonly known as D-Day. 

Throughout 1943 and early 1944 allied troops from Britain, Canada, and the US trained in landing exercises across the South Coast, including at the Witterings and Bracklesham Bay. Landing craft troops learnt how to beach and un-beach, tank crews learnt how to manoeuvre their cumbersome vehicles ashore, and ordinary troops learnt general assault procedures that would prove vital later in the year.

Advanced landing grounds, or temporary airfields which were designed to support the allied invasion of Europe were constructed locally at Funtington, Apuldram, Selsey, and Bognor.

May 1944 saw the last and largest major rehearsal for D-Day, named Exercise Fabius. Made up of six separate exercises, it saw 25,000 troops land at a number of designated beaches on the South Coast; Slapton Sands, Devon (Fabius 1 - in preparation for OMAHA Area landings), Hayling Island (Fabius 2 - in preparation for GOLD Area landings), Bracklesham Bay (Fabius 3 - in preparation for JUNO Area landings) and Littlehampton (Fabius 4 - in preparation for SWORD Area landings).

This cube-case display features some objects that were found after D-Day at Goodwood.

Goodwood House was utilised by the 6th, 23rd, and 121st General Hospitals Royal Army Medical Corps in the run up to D-Day. They were tasked with preparing for caring for the high number of expected casualties. This included packing tents ready to be erected as temporary hospitals.

The display also features some identification tags that belonged to soldiers working on the Mulberry Harbours, as well as an interesting diary written by L.Harris from Selsey. They recorded the events in the run up to D-Day.