Southwick D-Day Revival 2018

2018 was my fourth consecutive visit to the show. On the first occasion Tony and I visited alone, for the next two we brought our ladies along and for this last time we were joined by our good friends Brian and Aleli.

Being my fourth visit I was wondering if perhaps some of the interest and excitement would begin to wear off for Tony and I…. but I need not have worried, as usual there was so much going on the day flew by. I particularly like the cavalcade containing as it did an excellent selection of vehicles, brilliantly turned out.

So without further ado on to the ‘snaps’

Around the show

I love jeeps in fact I’m considering buying one, it’s all a matter of making the space in my single garage to keep it in.  I’m always delighted to see a good selection of these splendid 4 x 4s and Southwick did not disappoint!

Military Police Museum
Inside the military compound at next to Southwick house is the Military Police Museum. On previous visits I managed to miss making a visit, but this time I organised my time better and spent an educational 30 minutes inside. Quite sobering was learning the dangers of being a policeman in the British army in WW2 especially when on traffic duty at crossroads which were regularly shelled by the Germans.

Pegasus Bridge
To link the Southwick village event to the actual invasion I like to include a few pictures from the scene of the action in Normandy. This time I’ve selected Operation Deadstick, the action to capture the bridges over the Orne River and the Caen Canal.

All of my pictures are actually from around the bridge over the Caen Canal at Benouville. As a result of the action the bridge became known as Pegasus Bridge and while the original was removed some years ago, it has been  preserved in the nearby museum and its large replacement  ridge is very sympathetic to the look of the orginal.

Revamped D-Day Museum, Southsea
Since 1984 Clarence Esplande in Southsea has been home to one of the best museums dedicated to D-Day in the the UK. I have previously featured this museum on my Southwick 2017 page, since then the museum has undergone a complete refurbishment and so a second visit was a ‘must’

Along with a name change – the museum is now called The D-Day Story – the presentation  has completely changed making much greater use of audio-visual displays. On first entering the museum visitors are met by a virtual British office who delivers a briefing to set the scene and prepare the visitor for what they are about to see.  Further virtual characters appear later on giving insight into the D-Day story from the perspectives of both Allied and German and soldier and civilian.

An impressive collection of artifacts supports the story together with 3 full-size vehicles, these being a British Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle (BARV), a DUKW amphibious truck and a British 25pdr artillery piece.

Still present in the museum is the most impressive D-Day Tapestry, the image of the Tapestry is protected and therefore I am unable to present any photographs.

Visitors who may be hard of hearing or who may have site difficulties are also well catered for, the virtual characters are complete with captions and some Braille captions are provided.

So is this revamp an improvement on the previous interpretation? The answer is a definitive ‘yes’ catering as it does for both the more casual visitor and the enthusiast, this is always a difficult balance for museums but The D-Day Story has it pretty much spot on. I thoroughly recommend a visit and suggest you allow 2-3 hours to fully appreciate the museum and the story it tells plus take some refreshment in the well appointed cafe.

And finally…
So 2018 saw another great show at Southwick village, which year on year never fails to entertain and impress. I always like to end with a ‘final picture’ and this time I’ve chosen Bob and Pierre. I wonder what they are talking about…? Maybe you’d like to caption the picture and send it in to me as a comment? There’s no prize I’m afraid but I’ll happily publish your name and caption against the picture and even stand you a drink at next year’s show!


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