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The Restoration of Landing Craft Tank (LCT) 7074

UK Landing Craft survivor of WW2 - an enduring focus for remembrance and education.

LCT 7074 before restoration


This website has recorded the personal recollections of landing craft crews for 21 years, including 40 D Day stories and many other major landings in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Southern France and Holland.

[Photo. LCT 7074 before restoration started. IWM.]

The crews have seldom received the public recognition they deserve in delivering the Allied Armies, their transport, equipment, munitions and supplies to the landing beaches often under heavy enemy fire, explosive beach obstacles and the vagaries of weather and tide.

Where were landing craft on D Day?The National Museum of the Royal Navy has helped provide an enduring focus of remembrance for these brave young  men, and their incredible achievements, through the restoration of Landing Craft Tank 7074 - the only 2nd World War LCT survivor in the UK. She now stands alongside the D Day Story on the seafront at Southsea. It is a jaw dropping and humbling experience to learn about its young crew and the vital, hazardous work they undertook.

[Image. Extract from the Admiralty's "Green List" showing the disposition of 7074 just prior to D Day.]

D Day MapOn the 7th June 1944, as 20 year old Sub Lieutenant John Baggott, a trainee solicitor from Swindon, steered his craft towards the Normandy beaches, he unwittingly secured his place in the history of the largest amphibious invasion force ever mounted. It was his great distinction to command LCT 7074, one of 850 such landing craft deployed during Operation Neptune, the amphibious phase of Operation Overlord. 7074 is destined to become a national icon for all WW2 landing craft deployed before, during and after D Day with its inclusion in the register of the National Historic Fleet under certificate number 713.

The Crew

Sub Lt Baggot and his equally youthful 2nd in command, Sub Lt Philip Stephens, in common with the vast majority of officers who commanded the 4,000 landing craft of many types on D Day, were relatively inexperienced officers recruited from the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). Many were weekend sailors with limited seafaring experience who lacked the knowledge, skills and experience of their full time Royal Navy counterparts. They, however, were simply not available in the numbers required to take command of these craft. These were extraordinary times requiring extraordinary solutions, which placed a heavy burden of responsibility on the young shoulders of the RNVR recruits.LCT 7074 under repair

[Photo montage taken inside LCT 7074 in Oct 2019 by San Ward. Note the fragility of the structure in some places.]

For the purposes of training and offensive amphibious operations against the enemy, all RNVR landing craft officers and RN ratings and their Royal Navy landing craft, were attached to the Combined Operations Command, itself staffed by Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force personnel under the command of naval men Keyes and Mountbatten from July 1940 to October 1943 and Major General Laycock until 1947. Under their stewardship and close liaison with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they provided extensive training in the use of landing craft through dozens of Training Establishments, mainly in central Scotland and the south of England. Visit our Home Page to see how this extraordinary situation arose.

Training of landing craft officers.

This was, arguably, the largest training exercise in history involving many hundreds of thousands from the three services over a four year period from late 1940 to the end of the war. Around 250,000 mainly RNVR, RN and Army personnel, attended the No 1 Combined Training Centre at Inveraray (Scotland) alone, of which HMS Quebec was the Naval component.

[Photo. Invasion craft officers, 16th May 1944 at the Combined Training Centre 'HMS Dinosaur' where officers and ratings underwent basic training in the use of large landing craft. This photo shows officers studying a model of an LCT. IWM (A 23630).]

The task of 7074's twelve man crew was to deliver their precious cargo of 10 tanks and their crews to Gold Beach, Normandy and then, for as long as necessary, to provide a cross channel ferry service carrying more tanks, lorries, equipment and supplies from the UK to Normandy to ensure the advancing Allied Armies had the means to continue their progress towards Berlin. Any loss of momentum would allow the enemy to regroup and counter attack, with potentially disastrous consequences.

LCT 7074 on Gold beach.The 235 Mark 3 LCTs were 59 metres long with a beam of 9.1m. They displaced 300 tons and were powered by 2 x 460 hp (343Kw) Paxman diesel or Sterling petrol engines delivering 9 knots (17 kph/10 mph) through two shafts. In design, their blunt bow, flat bottom and chronic lack of power defied conventions in ship design built up over generations. The unsurprising consequences were vessels whose dismal sailing characteristics were a challenge for their crews in maintaining a planned course and speed, particularly in strong winds or tidal currents. Of course, their shallow draft and forward loading/unloading ramp for landings onto unimproved beaches, determined its unconventional design. They carried either 2 single 20mm Oerlikon guns or 2 single 40mm Bofors.

[Photo left. 7074 7th June 1944 on Gold Beach with enemy prisoners for return to the UK. IWM.]

The Restoration Mission

LCT 7074 is the only vessel on public display from the D Day campaign other than HMS Belfast, moored in the Thames. As a 10,000 tonne cruiser providing gunfire support from miles offshore, she commemorates only half of the story of naval participation in the operation - the other half being the landing craft that faced the enemy's wrath during the initial landings.

The heavy bombarding ships of the Allied navies provided vital cover for the invading fleet and shelled known enemy targets such as heavy gun emplacements on and around the landing beaches and inland as Forward Observation Officers (FOOs) identified new targets.

LCT 7074 restoredThe task of the many types of Landing Craft was very different in delivering "boots on beaches" and all the tanks, transport, artillery and provisions the invading force needed to initiate and sustain the invasion. It was all the more remarkable an achievement since landing craft design, development and manufacture had little history prior to WW2.

[LST 7074 under its canopy at the D-Day Story on Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, Hampshire.]

You tube video of 7074's recovery from a Liverpool dock.

Visit LST 7074

To plan your visit, please click on the D Day Story website at the link below. Use postcode PO5 3NT for sat nav.


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Photo of single poppy.About Us

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