Open every day | 10:00 - 4:30 (last entry 3:30pm)
Castletown D-Day Centre
Admiralty Buildings, Castletown,
Portland, Dorset, UK, DT5 1BD
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1940s weekends are a family favourite

Local people, visitors and military history enthusiasts enjoy our popular events at Castletown D-Day Centre including our regular 1940s weekends.

Visitors encounter a rare selection of authentic World War Two vehicles, have a go at operating remote-controlled tanks, browse for vintage goodies at the stalls, and engage with passionate military reenactors.

Past events have seen live 1940s music from singer Franz Atkinson, refreshments in the period tearoom and a special appearance from none other than Captain America!

Though by no means essential, any visitor who dresses up in period wartime attire is rewarded with half-price entry.

Our regular 1940s weekend are the perfect opportunity for the whole family to engage with WW2 history in an interactive, tactile way that few other museums can offer.

Visitors have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in an authentic recreation of a wartime dockyard, getting hands-on with the very vehicles, equipment and weaponry that soldiers embarking for Normandy would have used.

The Castletown D-Day Centre is an authentic recreation of a busy wartime dockyard where thousands of American troops departed for the Nazi-occupied beaches of France.

The D-Day Centre includes an impressive array of authentic WW2 artefacts and vehicles, including a full-size replica Spitfire, a Bofors 40mm gun and even a restored Sherman tank, plus interactive audio-visual displays, tank tours and a D-Day bunker.

In exciting news, the D-Day Centre has a rare window for additional volunteers to join the museum’s growing team. Volunteering positions are flexible and are suitable for anyone aged 16 and above.

Anyone interested in volunteering can drop in to find out more or use the contact form on our website to get in touch.

As a Community Interest Company, the Castletown D-Day Centre relies on support from visitor admissions and is part of Castletown Regeneration Project spearheaded by Agincare Founder and Chairman Derek Luckhurst.

For the latest news and updates about Castletown D-Day Centre events, go to the Facebook page @castletownddaycentre

Award winning D-Day Centre needs YOU!

Castletown D-Day Centre is calling for volunteers to boost its ranks in order to meet popular demand from visitors this summer.

The Centre has been busy since opening earlier this year, and with summer holidays fast approaching, managers at the award-winning attraction want to extend opening times to seven days a week.

Volunteers will help ensure that visitors enjoy a stunning experience discovering the crucial role played by the Port of Portland during D-Day in June 1944.

The exciting family attraction features an authentic recreation of the busy wartime dockyard where thousands of American troops departed for the heavily defended beaches of Nazi occupied France.

 

Join our enthusiastic team

 

Staffed by true enthusiasts, donning military costume, the Centre’s friendly and highly knowledgeable staff and volunteers help visitors enjoy a truly immersive World War 2 (WW2) experience.

Volunteers carry out a variety of fun and interesting roles from driving military vehicles and hoisting the flags, to welcoming visitors, working in the shop and delivering tank tours.

Our volunteers are ambassadors and custodians of the stories and sacrifice of the brave men who departed for the shores of France on D-Day, and also of the incredible contribution of men and women in the dockyard and surrounding area.

If you have an interest in local or world military history and are looking for a unique and interesting opportunity then please get in touch to find out about joining our fun and friendly team, uniform provided!”

The D-Day Centre, which is a Community Interest Company and relies on support from visitor admissions, is part of Castletown Regeneration Project spearheaded by Agincare Founder and Chairman Derek Luckhurst.

The Centre has rapidly gained a strong reputation and high profile locally and nationally, most recently featuring on Sky’s History Channel this week with its founder Derek Luckhurst.

 

An award winning attraction

 

As well as five-star reviews on Google and Facebook, the D-Day Centre has also been awarded a prestigious Travellers’ Choice Award by TripAdvisor.

Visitors encounter a wartime harbour scene where men and equipment are being loaded onto a landing ship moored alongside the dock, making ready for its imminent departure for the occupied beaches of Normandy.

The Centre includes an impressive array of authentic WW2 artefacts and vehicles, including a full-size replica Spitfire, a Bofors 40mm gun and even a restored Sherman tank, plus interactive audio-visual displays, tank tours and a D-Day bunker.

To enhance the D-Day experience, visitors are encouraged to get hands on with the equipment, climb on the vehicles and even dress up in authentic WW2 uniforms – it really is history you can handle.

The Centre is easy to find, it has a Sherman Tank parked outside Admiralty Buildings in Castletown, Portland, with free parking nearby.

Interested in volunteering? Drop into the Centre to find out more or use the contact form on our website to get in touch.

M16 half-track named after Weymouth fundraiser Poppy Butcher

The Castletown D-Day Centre has honoured local fundraiser Poppy Butcher by naming their prized M16 half-track personnel carrier ‘Poppy’.

The award-winning Castletown D-Day Centre honoured local fundraiser Poppy Butcher by naming their prized M16 half-track personnel carrier ‘Poppy’.

 

Local Legend

 

Poppy Butcher is well-known for her long-standing association with the armed forces. For over two decades, she and her late husband have organised the enormously popular military vehicles parade as part of Weymouth’s Armed Forces Celebrations.

Poppy has vivid memories of Weymouth and Portland during the Second World War, having turned eleven when news of the war was announced on 3rd September 1939. She can recall vividly the day when her father Robert Collins-Dryer, a civilian working at the nearby naval base, was tragically killed by an air raid on Portland Docks on July 4th 1940.

As a teenager, Poppy remembers listening to Churchill on the radio announcing the end of the war in Europe, and how the people of Weymouth partied and danced throughout VE Day.

Poppy has a strong link to Admiralty Buildings where the Castletown D-Day Centre is based, having often visited when the building served as a bustling naval bakery during the war – where many of her cousins worked!

 

Hand painted by Signs O’ The Times

 

 

In recognition of her tireless work for the armed forces community, the Castletown D-Day Centre commissioned local craftsman Chris Newman of Signs O’ The Times to hand-paint Poppy’s name onto the front and side of the M16 half-track personnel carrier.

Poppy was overwhelmed when she found out:

“I am so pleased and honoured to have my name on the M16!”

“I would like to thank everyone at the D-Day Centre for making me feel so welcome!”

Owner of the Castletown D-Day Centre, Derek Luckhurst said:

I was so glad that Poppy and her family could join us for the official unveiling of the M16. 

“She has done so much for the armed forces community in Weymouth and Portland so it felt only right to pay tribute to her namesake.

“Poppy’s memories of the war are so valuable as they help us to understand the vital role that the men and women of Portland played during the Second World War.”

As a Community Interest Company, the Castletown D-Day Centre relies on support from visitor admissions and is part of the Castletown Regeneration Project spearheaded by Agincare Founder and Chairman Derek Luckhurst.

The Castletown D-day Centre is an authentic recreation of Portland Naval Base where thousands of American troops departed for the Nazi-occupied beaches of France.

The D-Day Centre includes an impressive array of authentic WW2 artefacts and vehicles, including a full-size replica Spitfire, a Bofors 40mm gun and even a restored Sherman tank, plus interactive audio-visual displays and a German D-Day bunker.

For the latest news and updates about the Castletown D-Day Centre, go to the Facebook page @castletownddaycentre

The award-winning Castletown D-Day Centre to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day

Visitors to the museum on 6th June can learn about Portland’s historic link to the largest amphibious invasion in history only a stone’s throw away from where thousands of allied troops left for the Nazi-occupied beaches of France.

As a proud ‘hands-on’ living history experience, visitors can handle authentic World War Two uniforms, weapons and equipment – getting a tactile feel for what life would have been like for those who fought for our freedoms. Those feeling brave can even climb aboard the museum’s Sherman tank!

The D-Day Centre also includes a full-size replica Spitfire, a Bofors 40mm gun, interactive audio-visual displays, and even a D-Day bunker.

 

Military Vehicle Convoy

 

All military vehicle enthusiasts will be delighted that a convoy of authentic WW2 vehicles will be arriving at the Castletown D-Day Centre at 12:30 for a static display until 13:30 when the convoy will depart for the 2 pm service at Portland Cenotaph. The vehicles will then be on display at the top of the island (near Portland Heights Hotel) until 15:30.

D-Day Centre Military Vehicles

Cream teas from the Adventure Café will be served in the period tearoom which offers fantastic views across Portland Bay.

To help families of all backgrounds engage with local history, Weymouth and Portland residents will receive half-price admission (see Facebook page for details). Free admission will be given to anyone who dresses up in the wartime theme or brings a period vehicle for the display.

 

Welcoming D-Day Heroes

 

D-Day Hero at D-Day Centre

In the run-up to 6th June, The Castletown D-Day was fortunate enough to have D-Day hero Albert Fenton visit the museum. Sailing for Juno Beach on 6th June, Albert played a key role as a driver responsible for supplying frontline units with food, water, fuel and military equipment. The team were delighted by Albert’s visit and looks forward to seeing him again for a future visit.

In preparation for the 80th anniversary event, the owner of Castletown D-Day Centre, Derek Luckhurst, was interviewed by BBC South Today journalist Briony Leyland as part of a special D-Day feature that will be broadcast on 6th June.

There are still a handful of spaces to join the Castletown D-Day Centre’s dedicated band of volunteers as it marks its biggest year yet. Hours are flexible, with lunch and period uniforms provided. Anyone interested in volunteering at the Castletown D-Day Centre is asked to email d.day.centre.portland@gmail.com

 

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