Castletown celebrates D-Day role with new statues
A special memorial service has been held at Portland's Castletown D-Day centre today. Six statues of real soldiers who lived on the island have been erected on the floating mulberry harbour and can be viewed from the museum's lookout point.
The statues, representing six wartime figures, were unveiled on the Phoenix caissons at Castletown's Mulberry harbour yesterday, marking the 74th anniversary of the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944. The statues comprise two US GIs - to commemorate the many hundreds of thousands who came through Portland ahead of D-Day - two Portland dockyard 'mateys' and two British naval figures, an officer and a rating.
Founding member of the centre Derek Luckhurst said Portland played a big part on the day 74 years ago: "Hundreds of thousands of allied troups left from these shores to invade Normandy, and Castletown and indeed Weymouth were instrumental by co-hosting the beginning of the end of Nazi-occupied Europe."
Derek added that it is important to remember the many soldiers who lost their lives and that the statues are an emotive, permanent reminder: "Today is a commemoration and a dedication. Each statue has been allocated a name of a real person. Two people were born on Portland - Jim Marshal, who was a deep-sea diver, and Dicky Whittle who was a dockyard hand who was helping to load all the ships. Another Portlander was in the Navy, sub-lieutenant Herbert 'Boy' Male and a petty officer Sydney Dunmore, who was born in London but who moved down and was based here. "We also have two statues representing the hundreds of thousands of GIs who came through here - Captain Michael Miller and Sergent Santo Benigno."