V The towing of all components across the Channel was a Naval commitment. Once they were sited in final position, the Phoenix units for the breakwaters were sunk down by parties of Royal Engineers especially trained in the operation of the flooding valves, but the final siting and aligning of the units immediately prior to sinking was an Admiralty responsi bility. Our Department had previously designed the layout of the harbours, which included the alignment of the breakwaters, and the positions and widths of the entrances, and we had pre pared all the plans required for this. Accord ingly, it was arranged that a Civil Engineering Adviser should be seconded to the Naval Stall', and Mr. j. H. Jellett (now Chief Docks Engin eer, Southampton Railway Docks) was flown home from Malta, where he was Superintending Civil Engineer, for this duty which he carried out as Captain J. H. Jellett, R.N.V.R. I shall always remember two little personal incidents connected with Jellett at the time: when he landed in this country he found that he had got shingles and was very worried in case he should not be fit on "D" Day. After a long day pouring over plans together, he came home with me for an evening meal. My wife was not expecting him, but by a happy coincidence we had Dover soles! A few days later Jellett was on the first ship of the mighty invasion procession to establish Mulberry B at Arro- manche. A fortnight after "D" Day there occurred a storm of very rare intensity for the summer. Unfortunately, some of our fears were sub stantiated. No Phcenix units were bowled com pletely over but quite a number were shifted bodily, and many collapsed because their sides were not strong enough. As a result, the whole of the American harbourMulberry A was abandoned as a 100% loss and some 50% of Mulberry B was destroyed, although this did not prevent the harbour from being used. The Mulberry projects as a whole have been very properly acclaimed as a marvel of Military Engineering, but it is important to appreciate the distinction between Military Engineering, carried out as a matter of life and death under the stress of war, and Civil Engineering, which as its name literally implies, has to be carried out in time of peace as a means of living. Two weeks after "D" Day, upwards of £40 million had been spent on Mulberries A. and B. Two days later, as a result of a storm which was only severe judged by summer standards, over £30 million of this effort had disappeared. As an example of Military Engineering which, of course, was what it was designed to be. Mulberries were a 25°,, success and, therefore, an outstanding Military achievement. Considered as a piece of Civil Engineering, however, they were a 75%, failure, and one of the biggest recorded. Continued on page 29)

Krantenbank Zeeland

Watersnood documentatie 1953 - diversen | 1949 | | pagina 2