The Mulberry Harbour - a piece of World history on our doorstep

August 24, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Most locals of Southend will have seen these sunken remains that sit on a sandbank approximately 1.25 miles offshore (Thorpe Bay/Shoeburyness).  Not everyone knows what they are.  

Well this unassuming structure has a piece of World history attached. This is part of a “Mulberry Harbour” which were hollow concrete “Phoenix” caissons that were built to become floating harbours to support the D-Day Normandy landings in World War 2 on 6th June 1944. 150 were built. This was one of six actually built up in the River Humber and sprang a leak at the River Crouch and was floated to The Thames Estuary for inspection, where it broke free and settled on a sandbank and broke in two approximately 1.25 miles offshore. It has remained there off the coast of Southend on Sea (Thorpe Bay) ever since. It does attract some visitors, but visits should be very carefully planned and timed, as tides here are treacherous and using a suitably experienced guide is strongly recommended.

Having now visited this for the first time in my life, the experience was uplifting and also humbling to think we were so close to a significant piece of World history.  I'll certainly be going back! 

Mulberry Harbour sunsetMulberry Harbour sunsetA sunset picture of the iconic Mulberry Harbour, which sank in the Thames Estuary before it could be used in the Normandy landings of 1944

 


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