Tuesday, 25 February 2014

New D-Day exhibitions at IWM Duxford

Details of forthcoming exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford (www.iwm.org.uk):

D-Day-The Last of the Liberators photographic exhibition
By Robin Savage
Produced by the Airborne Forces Museum(Airborne Assault) and Helion Books
April to December
Mezzanine Gallery, AirSpace

D-Day -The Last of the Liberators is a collection of photographic portraits of some of the last surviving British Normandy veterans. It records, in a unique way, the stories of these remarkable individuals and their emotional but dignified return to the locations, in many cases the exact spot, which are tied to their most profound personal memories of the campaign; places where they saw action or were wounded, where they experienced instances of miraculous chance or where they witnessed their friends being
taken away from them through the horror of battle.

The photographs in the exhibition are 15 of those from a new book of the same name. Taken during the 68th and 69th anniversaries by photographer Robin Savage, they are a record of some of the final visits these brave and dignified men and women will make to the places that imprinted themselves indelibly on their lives.

D-Day -The Last of the Liberators is included in general admission to IWM Duxford. Visitors aged 15 and under enjoy free admission to the museum.

The Padre’s Trail in the Land Warfare exhibition
From May 2014

Our Land Warfare exhibition houses one of the finest collections of tanks,military vehicles and artillery in the country. It charts the technological advances that have changed the face of ground warfare.

The Normandy Experience in Land Warfare vividly tells the story of the D-Day Landings through sound, film and military vehicles set in evocative dioramas.

As part of our commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we are adding a layer of interpretation to The Normandy Experience which gives a very personal view of the D-Day Landings and how it felt to be in the thick of the action.

Captain Leslie Skinner was an army chaplain who landed on the coast of Normandy on the morning of 6 June 1944 with the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry tank regiment. Apart from 29 days spent at home recovering from his wounds, he spent the rest of the war with the Sherwood Rangers as they fought through France and into Germany. It is Captain Skinner’s story that is told in his own voice via extracts from the diary he meticulously kept throughout his time with the Sherwood Rangers.

He saw it as his duty to find the bodies of men who were killed as the Regiment’s tanks advanced. On many occasions, he risked his life to ensure that his comrades’ bodies were recovered or buried. The work could be harrowing and he refused to allow the other tank crews to help.

Padre Skinner travelled all over the front line and the battlefield, talking to the troops and listening to their worries. As this extract from his diary shows, he experienced at first-hand the stark realities of warfare.

25 June 1944: “In burst of machine gun fire I dived into slit trench on top of young soldier… it was his first show and he was all alone. I assured him that the machine gun fire was way up in the air…he picked up a ration box lid and held it above ground. Burst [of fire] cut it in two. It shook me. When firing stopped I moved out. He, poor devil, had to stay. About 11:30…Shrapnel got me across forehead and knocked me out. Lots of blood but soon conscious.”

The Padre’s Trail is included in general admission to IWM Duxford.

(With thanks to Esther Blaine at the IWM)


My latest genealogy books are Tracing Your Family History on the Internet (2nd ed), Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records, and Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet. My next Pharos course is Scottish Research Online, which commences Feb 27th 2014, 5 weeks, price £45.99.

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