D-Day Story Museum Portsmouth display objects-02

US Army lifebelt recoverd from Omaha Beach.
Les Eastwood, a sailor who served on Landing Craft Tank 7057, found this American soldier’s lifebelt on Omaha Beach just after D-Day. The life belt consisted of two separate tubes which could be inflated either through blowing into a mouthpiece, or with CO2 cartridges. The CO2 cartridges were in a tube near the buckle, secured by a screw-on cap. To inflate the life belt, two levers fitted inside the belt forced the cartridges into the sharp points on the insides of the caps which pierced them and released the gas into the tubes. The life belt had to be worn higher than the waist, otherwise the weight carried on a soldier’s upper body might cause him to turn upside down, with potentially fatal results. These life belts were sometimes also tied to items of equipment such as mortars, Bangalore torpedoes etc. to help them float in case they were dropped in the water during the landings.

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