D-Day, Garlieston and the Mulberry Harbours

Recently, Paul Hannah posted on Facebook that he was retracing the steps of his grandfather Roger, who participated in the D-Day invasion.

This reminded me of a surprising experience my family and I had in the summer of 2017.  We spent a few days with friends in Normandy, visiting Arromanches and other sites of the deployment of the allied forces’ Mulberry Harbours — portable landing piers and roadways that enabled transport ships to unload troops and equipment.  Because of the tidal characteristics and shallow slope of the Normandy beaches, large vessels were incapable of coming close to shore.  The Mulberry Harbours were a solution that enabled the ships to “dock” farther out at sea while long floating causeways moved up and down with the tides and connected the “docks” with the shore.

The remains of a portion of Mulberry Harbour – Normandy, 2017

After Normandy, we flew to Scotland to join some other friends up in Dumfries and Galloway, visiting, of course, Sorbie Tower and also stopping by for the requisite pint at the Harbour Inn in Garlieston, a mere mile to the East.  I had likely seen the memorial before, but I had never realized its significance.  Having just seen the real thing only two weeks before in France, I was pleasantly surprised at the synchronicity of coming across the locale of its prototype so close to Hannay territory!

“1945-1995: For the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II this commemorates the building and trials of Sections of the MULBERRY HARBOUR 1941/4 at GARLIESTON, thus making the INVASION of EUROPE possible and an ALLIED VICTORY a reality”

To find out more about the history of the Mulberry Harbour trials in Garlieston, visit mulberryharbor.info

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