A replica of a Second World War aircraft has been wowing passengers to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, writes Maya Chavvakula.
The Imperial War Museum’s (IWM) replica of the Spitfire, which is synonymous with the battle of Britain, will be on display in front of London Bridge station until June 9.
Ian Hanson, stations director for Network Rail’s South East route, said: “We’re so excited to have a full-scale replica Spitfire on display on London Bridge’s huge concourse.
“The railway played a vital role during the Second World War, including transporting equipment to the front lines ready for the D-Day operations.
“It’s fantastic to be able to be hosting this Spitfire and a great surprise which we’re sure will thrill our passengers too.”
The Spitfire was placed next to HMS Belfast, the Second World War cruiser and one of the first warships to fire on the Normandy beaches on D-Day.
John Delaney, head of Second World War at IMW, said: “This is an unprecedented and unique way to mark 75 years since D-Day and share our historic collection with a new audience.
“It is particularly fitting that the aircraft is so near HMS Belfast highlighting the air and sea born elements of the invasion to liberate Europe.”
The Spitfire is often remembered as the aircraft that won the Battle of Britain in 1940, but it also played a significant part in the Normandy invasion in 1944.
South Western Railways also joined in the D-Day commemorations by recreating a famous farewell embrace at Waterloo station. Two actors enacted the scene pictured at the time where a woman kissed her beloved goodbye as he boarded a train for Portsmouth – before then joining his comrades bound for the French coast.
On June 4 South Western Railway dedicated the name ‘The D-Day Story Portsmouth’ to one of its trains.
This was in recognition of the landmark anniversary, and the city’s dedicated visitor attraction that tells the story of Operation Overlord and the courageous D-Day landings.
Andy Mellors, Managing Director for South Western Railway, said: “So many of those who took part in the D-Day landings travelled from Waterloo down to Portsmouth.
We have a very strong connection to the city of Portsmouth and this train-naming serves as a permanent reminder of the sacrifice made by those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.”
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