This Historic Ship is designated as part of "THE UK NATIONAL HISTORIC FLEET".
It was in 1937 that consideration was first given to the provision of shore-to-shore tank carriers and landing craft. It was a supreme measure of collaboration and effort when another of the principal shipbuilders, Hawthorn Leslie, delivered the very first Tank Landing Craft in History
in November 1940. This was only made possible due to the enthusiasm and co-operation of all concerned at their Hebburn yard on Tyneside enabling the delivery of an entirely new type of craft. This was designated as an L.C.T. MK I. The craft encompassed some novel features - some of which we now take for granted such as a ramp which was hinged just above the waterline (the forerunner of the Roll-On Roll-Off ferries) and a double floating dock type of hull. Furthermore, the vehicles were protected from the weather and concealed from view by the side tanks from which a canvas cover was suspended over the hold.
A total of 235 LCT Mk 3s were completed. This total includes 71 to slightly modified plans, which were built by the main shipbuilders during the winter of 1943 – 44. In the modified vessels an American Sterling Admiral petrol engine was fitted in lieu of the Paxman Diesel. The LCT 7074 was one of these 71 modified craft and was built by Hawthorne Leslie and Co. Ltd at their Hebburn Yard on the River Tyne. She was launched without ceremony on the 4th April 1944 and was completed on the 6th April 1944.
After commissioning she sailed down the East Coast from the River Tyne and joined the 17th LCT Flotilla in Great Yarmouth. Then the flotilla sailed to Harwich and later to Felixstowe to join the build up for D-Day.
LCT 7074 is the last surviving LCT that took part in the D-Day landings. More than 700 landing craft tank provided the backbone of the invasion of Normandy. LCT's could carry eleven Sherman tanks and LCT 7074 carried ten to Normandy; nine got on the beach without being hit or breaking down. The 800 LCT's, which were mainly manned by British crews, were the backbone of the largest amphibious force ever launched from this country. LCT's carried almost all the tanks, heavy artillery and armoured vehicles landed in Normandy. For months after the invasion LCT 7074 ferried supplies for the Allied Armies to ports across the Channel. The former Chief of the Defence Staff Field Marshal Lord Bramall has described the LCT 7074 as "An irreplaceable part of Britain's military and wartime History
LCT 7074 then returned to Southampton to load American reinforcements to take back to Normandy for the assault on Cherbourg. Then in April 1945 she was taken to Liverpool for conversion into an emergency repair ship with plans for her to join operations in the Far East. They never materialised however due to the Japanese surrender and the conversion was not completed. On the 19th April 1945 LCT 7074 ended her life as an active landing craft having given sterling service in the D-Day Landings.
At the cessation of hostilities at the end of the Second World War LCT 7074 was presented as a gift by a grateful Admiralty, to the Master Mariners of Liverpool who had performed such heroic deeds in the Battles of the Atlantic. The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board willingly provided a berth. On the 20th September 1948, Admiral Sir Max K. Horton, in the company of Admiral Sir Percy Noble, The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, The Earl of Derby and Viscount Leverhulme, re-launched the most exclusive club in Liverpool.
After her extensive remodelling, the rather plain warship had lost her unromantic number and was renamed "The Clubship Landfall". The Merseyside Master Mariners Club had a membership of some 100 active or retired ship's masters at the time. The venture had the full support of the Merseyside Ship Owners Association and the Landfall was installed as a landmark in Liverpool's maritime History
Eventually she became part of the Historic Warships Birkenhead collection and became laid up in East Float awaiting restoration. Sadly in January 2006 it was announced that the Historic Warships Birkenhead had gone into liquidation and the visitor attraction would close. The collection has been requested to vacate their berths as soon as possible as the site is required for redevelopment. As a result the future of the collection and this historic Landing Craft is now at risk, with scrapping a distinct possibility and it would be a national tragedy if this historic ship and last surviving active participant of the D-Day Landings of this type was allowed to go to scrap. The Historic Warships Birkenhead visitor attraction sadly closed on the 5th February 2006 and she is now owned by Peel Ports and remains stored in Birkenhead Docks facing an uncertain future. Peel Ports wish to have the ship sold and removed if at all possible. So time is running out for this historic landing craft.
She is listed by the National Historic Ships Unit as part of the "Core Collection" of "THE UK NATIONAL HISTORIC FLEET" in the National Register of Historic Ships. This means that she is officially recognised to be of pre-eminent national importance, spans the spectrum of achievement in UK maritime History
and illustrates changes in construction and technology. Therefore she merits high priority for preservation in the long term and deserves significant public support.
Sadly time is rapidly running out of this historic vessel, and if a realistic restoration and preservation bid is not found for her soon, then it is likely that the National Historic Ships Unit and other partners may consider a "deconstruction" process as the best way forward. Sadly if this occurs then it will mean that she will no longer exist as a complete ship and therefore as an intact historic relic she will be lost to present and future generations.
AT RISK BUT REMAINS A VALUABLE AND WORTHWHILE PRESERVATION OPPORTUNITY