On 15 October 2014, the last D-Day Landing Craft the LCT 7074 was refloated, a vital first step in the programme of preventative conservation work to be carried out in order to halt her deterioration and make her safe for sea. The Landing Craft Tank LCT was an amphibious assault ship for landing tanks on beachheads, initially developed by the British Royal Navy and later by the United States Navy during World War II in a series of versions.
Artelia UK Ltd has been commissioned by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) to undertake the role of client side Project Manager to ensure that the LCT 7074 is restored and able to take its rightful place in history. The project consists of transferring ownership of the vessel to the NMRN, re- floating her and carrying out a programme of preventive conservation work, and preparing her to make her safe for sea transport to Portsmouth.
The LCT was partly submerged within Birkenhead docks and in order to move her, was floated into the hold via a stern ramp of the MV Condock, a large sea going vessel which can be partly submerged.
During November, MV Condock will vacate Birkenhead Docks to sail to Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, where the LCT can be transported off the MV Condock to be stored in the main ship hall and treated with stabilising wax. Later phases in this project will include securing funds, specifying the restoration works required, tendering and restoring the vessel.
Once the new home for the LCT has been formed at the NMRC partner Museum, the D-day Museum in Portsmouth. The project is being funded by a £916,000 National Heritage Memorial Fund grant, in recognition of her unique importance as part of the register of National Historic Ships. More fundraising will be needed to complete the restoration work in Portsmouth.
The LCT 7074 is unique because most of the other Landing Craft were worked to complete dereliction, so very few of them lasted until the end of the war as complete vessels. She is in extraordinarily original condition, because they were such simple ships – although she has lost her engines, almost the entire fabric is original to 1944.
Now that the ship is afloat again, Liverpool will have a month to pay its respects before the magnificent survivor sets off on a last voyage.