Antiques Roadshow: D-Day (BBC One, Sunday 2 June 2024)

Antiques Roadshow

Fiona Bruce presents a special edition of Antiques Roadshow, airing on BBC One on Sunday 2 June, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June 1944. Filmed in Normandy, France, and at the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, this episode features first-hand accounts and insights into one of the most significant events of World War II.

The episode explores ‘Operation Overlord’, the largest seaborne invasion in history, which took place across five beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Through items brought by visitors and rare artifacts in museums, the story of D-Day is unfolded, including eyewitness accounts from those who were directly involved.

Marie Scott, a radio operator based in secret tunnels beneath Portsmouth, describes her experience of listening to the invasion as it unfolded. Colette Marin-Catherine, a member of the French Resistance outside Caen, recalls her encounter with the last German soldier she saw. Ken Cooke, a 98-year-old private in the 7th Battalion Green Howards, recounts his emotional landing on Gold Beach on D-Day.

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Fiona Bruce also shares the story of Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis in Normandy. Hollis single-handedly stormed a German pillbox, and his courageous actions earned him the Victoria Cross, now on display at the Green Howards Museum in Richmond, Yorkshire. Bruce meets with Hollis’s granddaughter, Amanda Hart, to gain a personal perspective on this military hero.

At the D-Day Story Museum in Portsmouth, Siobhan Tyrell discovers a coat adorned with badges from 89 different regiments, collected by a young girl on the eve of D-Day. Paul Atterbury uncovers an original ‘Rupert’ dummy paratrooper, one of 500 decoys dropped over Normandy to mislead the Germans. Mark Smith explores a fully restored landing craft tank, the sole survivor of a fleet of 800, and Frances Christie admires the Overlord Embroidery, a modern take on the Bayeux Tapestry, with its designer, Sandra Lawrence.

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The episode also includes insights from General Montgomery’s grandson Henry, who shares one of his grandfather’s iconic berets. Piper Bill Millin’s grandson, John, recounts his father’s landing on Sword Beach, armed only with bagpipes, a moment immortalized in an iconic photograph.

Additionally, the experts travel to Wales to hear from the family of a Black American serviceman who bravely set up barrage balloons over Omaha Beach. They also visit the Met Office in Devon, where Eisenhower’s chief meteorologist, James Stagg’s original weather charts are preserved. Stagg’s forecast caused a 24-hour delay in the beach landings, potentially averting disaster.

Antiques Roadshow: D-Day airs on BBC One on Sunday, 2 June 2024, at 8:00 pm.

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