D-Day: the Australian Story

16 May 2019 - 15 September 2019
Mezzanine Gallery, Anzac Hall

Image: courtesy of US Naval History and Heritage Command, #26-G-2343

Image: courtesy of US Naval History and Heritage Command, #26-G-2343

Invasion! On 6 June 1944 the world awoke to the dramatic and long-expected news that Allied forces had stormed ashore on the heavily defended beaches of northern France, supported by 24,000 glider-borne troops and paratroopers aboard 1,200 transport aircraft and 700 gliders. More than 6,500 Allied ships and landing craft had put to sea from ports along the length of the British south coast, supported by 12,000 fighter aircraft, in what was the largest amphibious operation in military history. 

Months of planning, training, reconnaissance, construction of military equipment, and a campaign of Allied air attacks on German transport networks and fortifications had led to this point. The operation was designed to liberate Western Europe from Nazi occupation, taking pressure off the Soviet armies in the East, and shortening the war. 

Thousands of Australians risked their lives to play a part in the liberation of France. Theirs is a little known story in one of history’s most dramatic events.