Cumbria

D-Day message in champagne bottle to go to Carlisle museum

Message in a bottle Image copyright Cumbria Museum of Military Life
Image caption The champagne was bought in 1940 and saved for a "special occasion"

A champagne bottle containing a message written by soldiers en route to the D-Day landings is to go on display at the Cumbria Museum of Military Life.

Nine officers of the 6th Battalion, the Border Regiment, had held on to the champagne for a "special occasion".

After drinking it as they embarked for Normandy, they placed a message in the empty bottle and threw it overboard.

A month later it washed up on the Isle of Wight, and was eventually returned to the regimental depot in Carlisle.

'How soldiers cope'

The letter, written on regimental paper and dated 5 June 1944, reads: "If found please post this paper (including the bottle) to The Castle, Carlisle, Cumberland, England.

"Signed HJ Bartholomew, JW Triggs, J Westoll, T Graham (MO), C Askew, RC Troughton, B Oliver, T Heath, T Mackie."

It is believed that all nine officers survived the landings at Gold Beach.

The message in a bottle will go on display at the Cumbria Museum of Military Life, based at Carlisle Castle, when it reopens after refurbishment in the autumn.

Curator Stuart Eastwood said it would form the centrepiece of a display dedicated to D-Day.

He said: "The champagne bottle highlights how soldiers cope with the enormities of an unique moment in history."

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