Painting depicting the capture of Pegasus Bridge (SOFO Museum Collection).JPG

Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum appeals for county D-Day stories ahead of 80th Anniversary events and exhibitions

  • Museum now appealing for a wider range of Oxfordshire D-Day stories, calls for families to share their stories and childhood memories from 1944.
  • A new D-Day 80th Anniversary exhibition, exploring the stories of Oxfordshire people involved in the Normandy invasion, will open from 18 May to 24 September 2024.
  • Commemorative talk Pegasus Bridge: In Their Own Words will be held online on 22 May 2024 and Sappers in the D-Day Gliders in-person on 30 May 2024.
  • Commemorative talk Sappers in the D-Day Gliders will be held at the museum on 30 May 2024 with Ingram Murray.

Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of D-Day, 6 June 1944, the county’s military museum in Woodstock, Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, will expand on its permanent displays with a special exhibition aiming to tell even more local people’s stories of the build-up, D-Day invasion, and Normandy campaign that followed.

In the run up to the Anniversary, the museum is keen to hear from local people with their own memories or family stories of D-Day, soldier or civilian. With Oxfordshire airbases utilised for all kinds of war work, and soldiers billeted across the county while training or preparing for Operation Overlord, many will have childhood memories of 1944, seeing planes flying overhead or speaking to some of the allied forces. Others will have stories of local people serving in other regiments or branches of the armed forces – the museum urges anyone to get in touch with more information.

David Shouesmith, Chairman of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust, explains that the anniversary ‘is an opportunity to restate and refresh some of the compelling stories of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and the Pegasus Bridge operation in particular, but there will also be many other less dramatic stories of how the county was involved in the run-up to D-Day which we are keen to bring to light, and which may resonate with wider audiences.’

Visitors to the museum can already sit inside a recreated section of an Airspeed Horsa Glider, the type used to carry men of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry to Normandy. One of the museum’s permanent interactive displays, audio headsets allow you to hear Major John Howard recount his memories of the historic Pegasus Bridge operation, while cases display a range of weapons and equipment used by these soldiers and the opposition they faced.

This will be expanded with a new temporary D-Day 80th Anniversary exhibition – opening on 18 May and running to 24 September 2024 – which will provide a wide range of other county stories and perspectives, such as the contribution of many RAF stations and other sites across Oxfordshire.

To celebrate the 80th Anniversary, the museum also has plans for a range of other supporting events. A new online talk will be streamed at 7pm, Wednesday 22 May 2024 titled The Pegasus Story: In Their Own Words. A follow up to the museum’s first ever online event (available on the museum website now), the talk will make use of recorded interviews from veterans of the Pegasus Bridge operation, including John Howard DSO, to provide an unprecedented insight into the events of D-Day. Free to view, the museum will encourage viewers to donate in support of the museum and its archives.

On Thursday 30 May 2024 the museum will also host Ingram Murray for a talk on the Sappers in the Gliders – the contingent of Royal Engineers who accompanied the soldiers of the Oxfordshire regiment on board the gliders bound for Pegasus Bridge. Proceeds from tickets will support the museum and ABF: The Soldiers’ Charity. Ingram Murray, formerly an officer in the Royal Engineers’ Independent Parachute Engineers squadron, is the father of Al Murray, known for his Pub Landlord stand-up persona and Second World War podcast,  history festivals, and books.

Those with an Oxfordshire D-Day story they would like to share with the museum can get in touch using the details below:

Awards & Partners

*Supported by The Visitor Economy Renaissance Programme grant funding, secured by OxLEP Business