‘The D-Day at Tangmere 75’ exhibition finally closed at the end of October. It had been planned to hold the temporary exhibition in the Museum’s cinema for only four weeks commencing on 10 August but it soon proved very popular and it was decided to keep it open until the 31 October.
It is estimated that approximately 5,000 visitors took the opportunity to visit the exhibition which included display boards on Sussex Advanced landing Grounds, detail on the two Canadian Spitfire Wings that were based at RAF Tangmere on D-Day and stories of three pilots who flew from Sussex airfields in June 1944 (Spitfire pilot and Ford wing leader Johnnie Johnson, Mustang pilot and Coolham ALG based Charlton ‘Wag’ Haw and Wing Commander Peter Brooker who few Typhoons from Thorney Island).
Very popular with visitors was the screening of a film on the three types of fighter aircraft that covered the Normandy landings (Mustang Mk III, Spitfire Mk IX and the Typhoon 1B). Two documentary films were also shown on the first German vengeance weapon, the V-1, first launched against England one week after D-Day.
As with previous Museum temporary exhibitions, a programme of talks was organised; Dr Andrew Smith, a senior history lecturer at Chichester University, gave a fascinating talk on how the French celebrated the 10th anniversary of D-Day in 1954 and the Museum’s Director, Dudley Hooley, gave a talk on the glider borne attack on Pegasus Bridge – this proved so popular that Dudley was asked to repeat his talk.