FOR the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, here’s a reminder of the role that Chepstow played in helping to make it happen.

At the shipyard, where ships had not been built since the ‘20s, tank landing craft were constructed.

The prefabricated sections were made at yards in the north of England and assembled at Fairfield’s Chepstow.

The first (LCT 589) was scheduled to be launched at 11am on November 11, 1942. Unfortunately it failed to move down the slipway – either the “wrong sort”, or frozen grease on the timbers was blamed – but it was successfully launched the following day. The target was to launch one craft every two weeks. The photograph shows LCT 593 – one of the 60 Mark 4 craft that left Chepstow, many of which were used in the D-Day Landings.

These craft could take six 40-ton tanks, nine 30-ton tanks, or 12 three-ton lorries; and took a crew of 12, as well as 36 troops.

Women – as well as men – worked in the yard during the war, and some worked on the construction of the tank landing craft.

The yard at Chepstow also built parts of the Mulberry Harbours, the pre-fabricated harbours which were used to offload supplies once the beachheads were held, at Omaha and Gold beaches.

Text by the curator of Chepstow Museum.