LCT 7074

Summary

LCT 7074
Class overview
Builders: Various
Operators:  Royal Navy
Built: 1944
In service: 1944-45
Completed: 235
Preserved: 1
General characteristics
Displacement: 640 long tons (650 t)
Length: 192 ft (59 m)
Beam: 30 ft (9.1 m)
Draught: 3 ft 10 in (1.17 m) (forward)
Propulsion: 2 × 460 hp (343 kW) Paxman diesels or Sterling petrol engines, 2 shafts
Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph)
Range: 2,700 nmi (5,000 km)
Capacity: 300 long tons (305 t) of cargo
Complement: 12
Armament: 2 × single 2-pounder pom-pom or 2 × single Bofors 40 mm guns
Armour:
  • Wheelhouse : 15 lb
  • Gun shields : 20 lb

LCT 7074 is the last surviving landing craft tank (LCT) in the UK. LCT 7074 is an amphibious assault ship for landing tanks, other vehicles and troops on beachheads. Built in 1944 by Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Hebburn, the Mark 3 LCT 7074 was part of the 17th LCT Flotilla during Operation Neptune in June 1944.

LCT 7074 was decommissioned in 1948, and used by the Master Mariners' Club of Liverpool as their club ship Landfall. It served as a floating nightclub in the 60s and 70s and was acquired by the Warship Preservation Trust in the late 1990s. It was moored at Birkenhead for restoration but the Trust went into liquidation and she later sank in the dock. The vessel was raised by the National Museum of the Royal Navy in October 2014 and transported by sea to Portsmouth for restoration.[1]

Design

LCT 7074 was one of 235 Mark IIIs LCTs. The vessel was built by Hawthorn Leslie and powered by American Sterling Admiral petrol engines. Launched on 30 March 1944, the vessel was commissioned into the Royal Navy shortly afterwards.

D-Day

LCT 7074 had two officers and 10 ratings and she was first commanded by Sub Lt John Baggot RNVR who sailed the vessel to Great Yarmouth where she joined the 17th LCT Flotilla. In the build-up to D-Day, LCT 7074 arrived at the River Orwell, near Felixstowe where she was loaded with 1 Cromwell tank, 2 Sherman tanks and 7 Stuart tanks.[2] As part of the 17th LCT Flotilla (Assault Group L2), LCT Squadron "H" of the Eastern Task Force, LCT 7074 successfully landed nine of the tanks on Gold Beach.

Following the invasion, the craft spent several months ferrying vehicles, troops, supplies and ammunition across the Channel. In 1945 LCT 7074 underwent conversion to become Naval Service Craft (Large) 19 for use in the Far East. However, the end of the war in the Pacific meant that she was never deployed.[3]

De-commissioned in 1948 she was renamed Landfall and became the club ship for Master Mariners’ Club of Liverpool. The craft was later converted into a riverfront nightclub. In the late 1990s, the Warship Preservation Trust acquired LCT 7074 and undertook minor restoration work but when the trust went into liquidation in January 2006, all restoration stopped.[4]

Salvage, restoration and display

LCT 7074 was partly submerged at its mooring at East Float in Birkenhead, but following a £916,000 grant from the National Memorial Heritage Fund (NHMF), the craft was salvaged by the National Museum of the Royal Navy during a two-day operation on 15 and 16 October 2014. Over 100 dives by Liverpool diving company Salvesen UK Ltd were required to enable her to be refloated. The LCT was raised and floated into the hold of the MV Condock, which transported the LCT to the BAe Systems Naval Dockyard, Portsmouth to undergo restoration.[5]

Following restoration LCT 7074 will go on display at Portsmouth's The D-Day Story museum.[6]

References

  1. ^ Kennedy, Maev. "D-day tank carrier Landfall refloated for restoration". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  2. ^ "World's last D-Day Landing Craft Tank to be restored and displayed in Southsea". Museum Crush. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  3. ^ Fisher & Hewitt, pp.194-195
  4. ^ "Landfall". National Historic Ships UK. Archived from the original on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Historic landing craft LCT 7074 is coming to Portsmouth!". Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  6. ^ "D-Day landing craft raised from dock". BBC News. Retrieved 2 January 2015.

Bibliography

  • Fisher, Stephen & Hewitt, Nick (2020). "Warship Notes: Resurrecting LCT 7074". In Jordan, John (ed.). Warship 2020. Oxford, UK: Osprey. pp. 194–198. ISBN 978-1-4728-4071-4.

External links

  • LCT 7074 re-float time-lapse at Birkenhead
  • Landing Craft Tank Squadron by Lt-Cdr. Maxwell Miller