HISTORY enthusiasts from across the country flocked to a Portland museum to celebrate the isle’s pivotal role in the Second World War.

Castletown D-Day Centre and Portland Castle hosted a living history event to bring the sights and sounds of wartime back to the isle.

People from far and wide turned up in their finest military outfits, dressed as Allied or German soldiers or as ‘bombed out’ civilians.

Stephen George, curator and co-founder of the museum, said: “This is the point where American troops embarked for Europe and where German prisoners of war were brought back because they were kept in Portland Castle. The whole county was a busy place, but especially Castletown.”

Mr George added: “The Americans were here for quite a long time and impacted on the community a lot. This is about keeping the memory of that alive.

“People call them the greatest generation and if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here.

“People of all ages join in, it’s one of our best weekends of the year.”

At the event there were weapons displays, military vehicles and army ‘camps’ for visitors to explore.

Tony Salter, visited from Newport in Wales. He said: “We do this most weekends all over the country. They are all different but this is a very good event. I love the museum.

“We are very lucky we don’t live in those times.”

Graham Collins from Fleet went along with his son Henry.

Mr Collins said: “We absolutely love it. We are quite new to this but it gets very addictive and we have already been to six or seven events this year.

“Both of my grandparents were in the war and it’s about honouring them and paying homage to them for their sacrifice.”

Jason Pleace, from New Milton said: “The museum is a little gem all tucked away down here. It’s all interactive and events like this help bring it to life even more.

“It’s quite fun pretending to be one of the mannequins and making people jump.”

Sue Horton from Melksham came dressed as a ‘bombed out’ civilian. She said: “We do these events all over the country. We love this one and sometimes the smaller events are better because it is like a little community and they look after you.”

Museum owner Derek Luckhurst, said the event is something that the area needs: “This could be a huge annual event and it is just what Castletown and Underhill needs. It gives the area a real atmosphere.”