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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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

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