Members of the Isle of Purbeck Sub Aqua Club (IPSAC) are laying poppies on a tank in Poole Bay today, 6th June, in memory of six men who died during the build-up to D-Day on 6th June 1944.

In 2017 IPSAC began a project to record and research the history of the seven sunken Valentine Tanks in Poole Bay in time for the 75th anniversary of their sinking.

Today, 80 years after Operation Overlord (D-Day)  on June 6th 2024, IPSAC will be diving on a Valentine Tank in Poole Bay to leave six poppies commemorating the six sailors who died during Exercise Smash, which was a D-Day rehearsal.

In memoriam

Valentine tanks are also known as 'DD' or 'duplex drive' tanks: they had tank tracks but could be launched at sea and moved through the water using a propeller. To stay afloat they had a huge canvas screen around the tank, which could be dropped on landing.

Valentine Tank

On Sunday 2nd June the Countryfile programme on BBC1 showed some amazing footage of the sunken Valentine Tanks, and told the story of the men who helped identical ‘swimming tanks’ land on the beaches of Normandy.


Earlier this year members of IPSAC worked alongside the National Trust, the Regimental Association of the Royal Dragoon Guards, and the owner of the last remaining working Valentine Tank to produce a week-long exhibition to tell the story of the tanks. A highlight was the last working tank coming up the beach, just as they did in Normandy on D-Day. Unforgettable and hugely noisy.

Valentine Tank

Valentine Tank

A truly amazing piece of research was finding pictures of all six men who died. Now, five years after the 75th anniversary, IPSAC are marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings with a special memorial dive.


Members will be placing six poppy crosses on Tank Number One during a memorial dive with the names of the men who died.

IPSAC, a BSAC branch who truly believe in diving with a purpose. 

Wreck Appreciation SDC Course

Wreck Appreciation Course

The Wreck Appreciation course is the start of your journey to diving with a purpose and developing your own wreck projects. Completion of a BSAC Ocean Diver course (or have equivalent certification from another recognised training agency).

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