Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton's eroding D-Day wall to be digitally recorded

D-Day wall
Image caption There are more than 100 names on the wall, etched by US servicemen

An eroding wall graffitied by servicemen preparing to embark for D-Day is to be digitally preserved.

The 62ft (19m) wall on Western Esplanade, Southampton, has more than 100 names etched by US soldiers who were waiting for landing craft from the nearby docks.

Historians have warned the names are in danger of wearing away.

A lottery grant of £86,000 will go towards specialist photography to create an interactive 3D model.

More than 3.5 million servicemen passed through the post en route to Normandy as it was one of the main embarkation points for the invasion.

A small section of the wall was demolished in the 1970s but some bricks were rescued and kept in Tudor House Museum, where its significance was realised.

Image caption Some of the names etched on the wall have already been lost

Martin Brisland, of the See Southampton tour guide group, said the wall was "weathering badly" and some of the graffiti had already been lost.

"These guys carved their names here 75 years ago, but the names won't be here years from now," he said.

"It's of tremendous interest to US visitors - it's a piece of living history."

He added research done in the early 1970s had traced some of the names. One of them, Curt Hodges, was a Texas veteran who went on to fight in the battle of the Bulge in Ardennes.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant will allow the the Maritime Archaeology Trust to run an educational scheme and carry out further research about its history.

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