Supermarine Spitfire Replica on loan from the Imperial War Museums at London Bridge Network Rail Station.
Central London commuters passing through London Bridge Network Rail Station had the chance to see a full-size replica of the WW2 Spitfire from the Imperial War Museums (IWM) on display from May 31st until June 9th, marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
London Bridge Station was chosen for the spitfire display, as the Network Rail Station is close to HMS Belfast. The WW2 cruiser was one of the first warships to fire on the Normandy beaches on D-Day in support of the Canadian and British Army on Juno Beach, opening fire at 5:27am on 6th of June 1944.
“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.” says John Delaney, head of Second World War at IWM.
History of the Spitfire on display in London Bridge Station
The Spitfire is often remembered as the aircraft which won the Battle of Britain in 1940, although it also played a significant part in the Normandy invasion in 1944.
Ian Hanson, The Network Rail Director for the South Each 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 were sure will thrill our passengers too.”
The Southern Railway was the railway operator through London Bridge at the time. Before and after D-Day, it made a vast contribution to the war effort. From the testing and critical evacuation of civilians away from London to moving army troops returning from Dunkirk. The railway played a vital part in Britain’s military support system.
Despite the Network Rail Station suffering heavy bomb damage, The Southern Railway maintained a civilian passenger service, even through blackouts.
The Southern Railway owned a dockyard before the outbreak of WW2. This was also greatly used to ship military freight personnel during the conflict and especially around D-Day. Over 2.5 million British and American Veterans passed through the dockyards at Southampton from D-Day to VE day.
Imperial War Museums at London Bridge and Waterloo Stations
As well as this amazing event in Network Rail’s London Bridge Station, IWM distributed a free limited-edition newspaper. This was full of facts and stories about D-Day and available at London Bridge and London Waterloo train stations.
Both train stations also showed small digital clips regarding D-Day. These were shown on screens and the SpaceandPeople Mobile Promotions Kiosk for commuters to see when passing through.
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