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D-DAY MEMORIAL, Southsea
Southsea’s D-Day Memorial is situated close to its Canoe Lake and South Parade Pier. It resembles a tank trap, thousands of which were placed around Britain’s coast in the Second World War as part of its defence against invasion. It was almost another world; the seafront was closed off from 1943 to all without a special pass and the beach was covered with barbed wire for the duration. It is hard to imagine that thousands of troops boarded landing craft from South Parade Pier – additional, temporary, piers were built from scaffolding alongside to speed up the embarkation process – as well as from the Camber on Old Portsmouth, Portsmouth Harbour Station and what is now Portsmouth International Port. Portsmouth was the main departure point for units going to Sword Beach in Normandy. Local people watched them march through the city, undoubtedly wondering how many would return safely. 27 men from Southsea were killed on D-Day and during the Normandy campaign.
The memorial looks its age. It was unveiled by Field Marshal the Rt Hon Viscount Montgomery of Alamein on 6 June 1948.