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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Overview of D-Day

Codenamed Operation Neptune, D-Day remains the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of France, and the rest of Western Europe, and laid the foundations for Allied victory in Europe.

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Castletown’s Involvement

In June 1944, Weymouth and Portland were at the heart of Operation Overload, with thousands of British and US troops embarking from both ports for the beaches of Normandy. Weymouth played host to over a half a million troops and nearly 150,000 vehicles in the run up to D-Day with Portland serving as an important embarkation point for the larger equipment such as tanks, guns, amphibious vehicles and other heavy equipment.

'The Big Red One'

Castletown D-Day Centre sits on the site of embarkation for the US 1st Division (The Big Red One) and US 29th Infantry Division who set off from Castletown Pier for the assault of Omaha Beach. The US 1st Division experienced the worst ordeal of D-Day operations with 2,400 American casualties. For many, Castletown was the last home they knew, and our museum pays tribute to them, and all US servicemen who served on D-Day.

Our museum provides an immersive experience of what it was like in the days leading up to D-Day. An authentic recreation of the busy wartime dockyard that once stood on this spot, Castletown D-Day Centre provides a unique opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and emotions of those departing for the beaches of Normandy in 1944.

 

Our History
Castletown Regeneration

Reviving an old naval town

Our museum was founded by local businessman, Derek Luckhurst, who wanted to pay tribute to the efforts of all those involved in the D-Day landings, as part of The Castletown Regeneration Project. Started in 2014, the initiative has worked to regenerate the area following the departure of the Navy from the site in the 1990s.

"I’ve always had a fondness for Portland, and Castletown in particular, because, as a boy and a younger man, I spent a fair bit of my time travelling through it or visiting its pubs and eateries (the Greasy Spoon being a real favourite).

My father ‘Lucky’ worked in the Naval Base after the War, as did my 2 uncles (Tom Pike Junior and Hughie Frampton) and my grandfather old Tom Pike (a rigger and deep sea diver – just like my father). I spent many a day on ‘Naval Base Open Days’ wandering around the facilities, boats and ships with my dad."

Openings Calendar

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