D-DAY AT TANGMERE 75 EXHIBITION UPDATE
During D-Day (6 June 1944) much of the aerial fighter support for the landings was conducted from established airfields and temporary Advanced Landing Grounds in Sussex. Of the 44 squadrons based in Sussex that day, 26 (60%) were non-RAF, made up of Canadians, Poles, Free-French, Czechoslovaks, Belgians, Norwegians and New Zealanders. Throughout the day the Allies enjoyed complete air superiority, with a total of 1,547 fighter sorties flown over the beach-heads, providing 36 fighters continuously over both the British/Canadian and American beaches.
Because of its proximity to the Normandy beaches, Sussex was also important for the operational control of the aerial activities that covered the ships crossing the Channel and over the beach-heads. This operational control was conducted from the RAF Tangmere Sector Operations Room set up in the College Hall at Bishop Otter College in Chichester. Many of the operational personnel were women enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).
The end of the temporary exhibition was planned to be Sunday1 September but due to considerable interest shown by our visitors the decision has been made to keep this summer’s exhibition open until 31 October. The exhibition provides detail on the Sussex D-Day airfields, the fighter aircraft that flew from them and on some of the pilots who flew and fought that day, 75 years ago. Supporting the exhibition are three films, the first is on the three fighter aircraft types that flew from Sussex airfields in support of the landings and the second and third films are on the V1 flying bomb attacks on England that commenced a week after D-Day.
Entry to the exhibition is included in the Museum entry price.