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The coat with badges belonging to Betty White, one of the items featured in D-Day in 80 Objects.

Image credit: Portsmouth City Council

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With D-Day approaching its 80th anniversary on June 6, a new book has been launched to offer a new perspective on the operation through the possessions of the people who were there.

D-Day in 80 Objects features objects such as a special suit worn during secret reconnaissance of the landing beaches, the boots worn by a US Army Ranger during the assault on Omaha Beach and a child’s jacket covered with the badges she collected from passing troops on their way to get on board ships.

The book has been created by The D-Day Story museum in Portsmouth – run by Portsmouth City Council – and the D-Day Museum Trust in collaboration with museums across the UK and US.

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D-Day in 80 Objects front cover.

Image credit: Portsmouth City Council.

“This book provides an insight into the epic story of the Normandy landings in a very accessible way and reflects the sheer determination of the war-time generation to liberate occupied Europe,” said Portsmouth City Council councillor Steve Pitt.

"It shows how all the Allied countries played a part and the crucial role of places like Portsmouth, the home of the Royal Navy, and one of the places where thousands of troops began their journey to the battlefields.”

Each of the museums involved in the project has selected objects from their collections that help tell the story of the events that unfolded 80 years ago.

Among those selected by the Imperial War Museums (IWM) is a ‘biscuit tin radio’ parachuted to the French Resistance. These small secret radios were concealed inside waterproof tins and enabled Resistance members to listen to messages with secret meanings broadcast to them by the BBC before and after D-Day.

The D-Day Story museum in Portsmouth also contributed many of its own objects. Among them is a ventriloquist’s dummy used to entertain the troops.

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D-Day captain Ted North's ventriloquists dummy named Bertie, also features in D-Day in 80 Objects.

Image credit: Portsmouth City Council.

The book is written by Steve Humphrey, a reporter for BBC news programme South Today. “The 80 objects help to tell the story of D-Day. The stories of those who gathered intelligence, made the equipment, the civilians who invited troops into their homes and those who served, on land, sea and in the air,” he said.

"The D-Day veterans are always self-effacing about their role. They always say the real heroes were their mates who didn’t come home.”

The book is priced at £20 and can be bought from The D-Day Story online shop.