Collection Description

Mulberry Harbours

Mulberry Harbours collection. First and second accruals.

First accrual

BOX 1a&b
Mulberry - The Return in Triumph. Original typescript, as sent to the pub1ishers, with the author's autograph manuscript revisions and insertions, also printer's and editorial markings. [437] pp. Comprising: Preliminaries (numbered vi-xi); Text in 17 chapters (pages numbered: 1-17, 17a, 18-66, 66a, 66b, 67-308, 308a, 308b, 308c, 309-379, 379a, 380-391/2, 393-420); Bibliography (pages numbered 421-[5]). Note: The typescript underwent considerab1e revision, with some extensive deletions. Chapter I is in the first version, prior to a change from direct to reported speech requested by Lord Mountbatten. The chapter is based on an interview with Lord Mountbatten.

Carbon typescript, uncorrected. Approx. 419 pp. Chapter I is in the first version.

Chapter 16. Final Adjustments. Original typescript, 9 pp. (numbered 392- 400). Penci1led note on the first page in the author's hand: "Not used".

Complete set of Galley proofs, 84 sheets. Bearing reader's queries and the author's extensive revisions, including typescript paste-ups on some 11 sheets. Together with another complete set of Galley Proofs, without revisions or corrections, and a set of block-makers proof pulls of the illustrations to be used, pasted-up with typescript captions.

Synopsis. Mulberry "the harbour that went to France". Original typescript. 21 pp. Lightly corrected by the author.

Synopsis. The Story of Mulberry. Carbon typescript. 7 pp.

Proposed Invasion Book. Carbon typescript. 2 pp. A list of personalities to be approached.

Mulberry. Very first rough draft. Original typescript. 8 pp.

Research Material. Original typescript. 5 pp. A description of the Steer-Webster papers.

Note on amendments to text agreed with Lord Mountbatten, and carried through by the author. Carbon typescript. 1 pp. Stapled to the upper wrapper of a file containing:

Item I Mulberry - Extracts from the original typescript, made at the request of Lord Mountbatten. Carbon typescript. 118 pp. The first page bears two columns of page references made in pencil by Lord Mountbatten.

Item II - Transcript in pencil of tape-recording. Pencilled manuscript. 17 pp. The transcript of a tape-recorded conversation with Lord Mountbatten in which he asked for some amendments to be made to the typescript of the book, including the change from direct to reported speech in Chapter I.

Item III - Mulberry: amendments to the text, as arranged with Lord Mountbatten. Carbon typescript. 8 pp. A typescript copy of item II.

Item IV - Rewrite of pages 13-18 inclusive, of Mulberry. Carbon typescript, 11 pp. The revised Chapter I, as called for by Lord Mountbatten.

Item V - Miscellaneous papers. Mixed typescript. Approx. 9 pp.

"The Harbour". By A.P. Herbert. Carbon typescript. 2 pp. Bearing printer's markings. This poem was set on the verso of the contents page in the published book.

Part II: Colonel V. O. Steer-Webster, OBE, ME, RE (Retd.) papers

Code Names Used in Descriptions of Boxes 2-8
ANNULUS Preliminary code name for BOMBARDON.
ARROW Arromanches.
BEETLE Steel or reinforced concrete pontoons, used to support WHALE bridge spans.
BIGOT Security clearance classification covering all planning for OVERLORD.
BOMBARDON Floating breakwater, moored outside GOOSEBERRY.
CAMEL BAGInflatable waterproof bag, used to provide additional buoyancy in damaged BEETLES.
CORNCOB Scuttled vessel in GOOSEBERRY.
CROC Bridge span used in the Hughes Scheme. See: HIPPO.
DUCK D.U.K.W. amphibious vehicle.
GOOSEBERRY Breakwater formed from scuttled vesse15. Later reinforced with PHOENIX. One GOOSEBERRY was provided for each of the five invasion beaches.
HIPPO Concrete caisson to support CROC bridge spans.
LEVIATHAN Ship used to fill PHOENIX caissons with sand to give them greater stability.
LILO Floating breakwater. Forerunner of BOMBARDON.
MULBERRY Artificial harbours constructed on the coast of Normandy from materials towed across the Channel.
MULBERRY A = American Harbour at St. Laurent.
MULBERRY B = British Harbour at Arromanches.
PHOENIX Concrete caissons sunk at both MULBERRIES to reinforce the original GOOSEBERRIES and provide a greater area of sheltered water.
PLANTER Officer i/c sinking of CORNCOBS and PHOENIX.
RHINOPower-driven pontoons on which cargo was brought ashore from ships moored outside MULBERRIES.
SPUDS Spud Pierheads. The unloading wharves, raised or lowered on spud legs according to the state of the tide.
SWISS ROLL Floating roadway, developed by DMWD as an alternative to WHALE.
WHALE Flexible steel bridge spans connecting the SPUDS with the shore.

Abbreviations Used in Descriptions of Boxes 2-8
C. B. I. Chief Bridging Instructor, R.E.
C. C. O. Chief, Combined Operations.
C. O. H.Q. Combined Operations Head-Quarters.
C. O. P. P.Combined Operations Pilotage Party. Small groups of men who made examinations of beaches during unobserved landings on the enemy coastline.
C. O. X. E.Combined Operations Experimental Establishment.
D. M. W. D.Department of Miscellaneous Weapon Development, Admiralty. Known as the "Wheezers and Dodgers".
D. P. I. W. T.Director[ate] of Ports and Inland Water Transport, War Office, (Quartermaster General's Dept.).
D. Tn.Directorate of Transportation, War Office. (Quartermaster General's Dept.).
D. X. O. R.Director[ate] of Experiments for Operational Requirements, Combined Operations.
E. T. Erection Tank (also known as a CAMEL). A cylindrical tank used to support WHALE spans whilst they were being attached to BEETLES.
I. S.T. D.Inter-Service Topographical Department. Based at Oxford, this unit collated all available information relating to enemy-occupied countries.
L.C.T. Landing craft, tank.
L.S.T. Landing ship, tank.
S.R. F. Shore ramp float.
X. S. A. Scientific and Technical Adviser to D. X. O. R.

Directorate of Transportation Scheme (D.Tn.) and associated material
File containing: 5 folders, 13 typescripts (original, carbon and duplicated), 7 plans and charts and 15 photographs ca. March, 1943-August 1944. The material in this file covers the development of the Whale, Beetle and Spud Pierhead designs.
The folders contain numerous blueprint and coloured sketches and mounted photographs of the prototype designs undergoing trial.
The typescripts include the Proposed Final Specification of Spud Pontoon (14 August 1943) and a report (5 January 1944) on tests of the Mk. I Whale bridge spans. The latter is accompanied by photographs of the tests, including a view of a span " .... twisted through an angle of 40 degrees, each end being taken through 20 degrees but in opposite directions".
The plans include blueprint sketches of the Floating Bridge Mark II (21 August 1943); General Plan of [Spud] Pontoon [Pierhead] prepared by the contractors, Lobnitz and Co. Of Renfrew (22 December 1942) and Applications for Unloading Rolling Stock (High Sided Waggons) 26 July 1943.

Notes on Floating Bridge Equipment, January 1944. Duplicated typescript and sketches. Approx. 200 pp. stapled into wrappers.

Notes on Floating Bridge Equipment. Supplement No. 1 Notes on Erection Drill. 24 March 1944. Duplicated typescript and sketches. 28 pp. stapled into wrappers. Over stamped: Preliminary Print.

Whale Equipment (Erection Data). File containing: 10 typescripts (original, carbon and duplicated). November, 1943-April, 1944. Includes a carbon typescript draft of " Supplement No. 1." (See above) and report on activities at the Cairn Head trial area

Operation Zero. File containing: 2 carbon typescripts and 7 plans and charts. ca. July-October, 1943. Details of assembly, towing, mooring and erection trials of Whales and Beetles.

21 Army Group. File containing: 24 typescripts (original, carbon and duplicated) and 1 chart. September, 1943-May, 1944. Correspondence, reports and draft orders relating to the towing and erection of both Whale and Phoenix.

Model Towing Trials. Duplicates text, graphs and sketches, 36 pp. gathered into limp linen folder. n.d. Data relating to experiments with models of the Directorate of Transportation Scheme equipment.

[National Physical Laboratory Reports]. Carbon typescript. Approx. 97 pp. Together with blueprints and photographs. July, 1943-July, 1944. A series of highly classified reports on various experiments carried out models of proposed Mulberry components at the NPL test tanks at Teddington. The photographs (both mounted and loose) show the equipment before and during the tests.

Alternative Schemes for Piers for use on Flat Beaches

Hamilton Scheme. File containing: 1 folder, duplicated lists and sketches (24 pp.) and 6 plans.
Details of the Swiss Roll floating roadway. Designed by R.M. Hamilton and sponsored by the DMWD, this "true" floating road was based on the principle of "rolling dynamic buoyancy" and was considered as an alternative to the D. Tn. Scheme. The trials of the light prototype proved it would be unsuitable for use by heavy vehicles (especially AFVs) and further development by Tn. 5 was ruled out. However, a heavier version was later produced by the Admiralty and they installed it at Mulberry B as their own pier for bringing ashore men and supplies.
The folder contains 8 mounted photographs of sea trials and sketch of the Experimental Prototype Layout. Loosely inserted is a report on the Trials of "Swiss Roll" dated 9 August 1943 (duplicated typescript, 7 pp.).

Hughes Scheme. File containing: 2 folders, 1 typescript and 6 plans.
The scheme proposed by H.I. Hughes was for a slung span cantilever type pier and was also considered as an alternative to the D. Tn. Scheme.
The folders are identical and each contains 8 mounted photographs of sea trials and sketch of the Experimental Prototype Layout. The typescript (3 pp.) Consists of description by Hughes of the General Principles of the Design. It seems likely that his ideas regarding the Hippo reinforced concrete caissons used in this scheme were later incorporated in the design of the Phoenix units.

Phoenix and Bombardon Breakwaters

Sinking and Pumping Data. Duplicated typescript and graphs. 34 pp. stapled into wrappers. January, 1944. Data relating to the Phoenix caissons.

Phoenix. General Description and Notes on Sinking and Raising. Duplicated typescript and sketches. 23 pp. stapled into wrappers. April, 1944

Phoenix - Model Towing Trials. Duplicated text, graphs and sketches. 13 pp. gathered into limp linen folder.

Phoenix - Effects on Towing Resistance ... Duplicated text, graphs and sketches. 5 pp. gathered into limp linen folder. Loosely instead are two groups of sketches (12 pp.) of various Mks. of Phoenix caissons.

Mulberry "B" Portable Wave Breakers. By Lt.-Col. V.C. Steer-Webster. File containing original typescript and pencil sketches. 17 pp. October, 1944 [Four carbon typescripts exist within the collection].

Admiralty Department of Miscellaneous Weapon Development (DMWD) Project No. 78 The Bombardon Artificial Breakwater. File containing: duplicated typescript. 4 pp., 13 mounted photographs and 1 plan. Describes "... in brief the leading features of the ... breakwater".

Miscellaneous Equipment
Baker Dolphin. General Description & Operation Instructions. File containing: 1 duplicated typescript, 4 plans and 11 mounted photographs. A device used in assisting the breathing of ships alongside the Spud Pierheads.
Note: Most of the files pertaining to Miscellaneous Equipment are located in Box 6.

Information Regarding the Enemy Coast

Notes on Coast And Cliffs Between Ver And Colleville. [by Prof. J.D. Bernal, FRS]. Original typescript. 10 pp.

Explanatory Note. [by Prof. J.D. Bernal, FRS]. Original typescript. 6 pp. ca. October, 1934.

Port of Arromanches (See Admiralty Chart 2073). Original typescript. 2 pp. Translation of a description in "Portes Martimes de la France" (1856).

Inter-Service Topographical Department (I.S.T.D.) Report C/48. Beach Courseulles to Arromanches... Original typescript. 4 pp. ca. August, 1943.

Port Capacities N.W. Europe. File containing: 1 typescript (duplicated). Approx. 67 pp. ca. August, 1943

Arromanches Pre "D" Day (Duplicate Set). Envelope containing: 51 photographs (including duplicates). Together with: Approx. 28 maps, charts and graphs. Reproductions of postcards and holiday "snap-shots" used in the preparation of the maps and models of the D-Day invasion beaches. The maps relate to the Normandy beaches and the location of both Mulberries. There is also a mosaic of oblique aerial photographs of the area.

A wooden model of a Phoenix caisson, approx. 6.25" x 2" x 1.75".
A metal model of Kite anchor, approx. 6" in overall length.
Note: See also Box 8 for an additional model.

Photographs. Approximately 770 official photographs (including duplicates) of every aspect of the Mulberry project. As well as illustrating the various schemes and pieces of equipment later abandoned as unsuitable (e.g. the Hughes and Hamilton Schemes) this collection provides an extensive photographic record of the D.Tn. Scheme and Phoenix. Together with the photographs in the files described above, they cover the progress of Mulberry from the very early trials and tests, through prefabrication at various sites in Great Britain, parking off the south coast of England and the towing across the Channel, to construction and operation on the Normandy coast. Security classifications, censor stamps, and War Office identification numbers appear on the verso of most photographs.

BOX 6a&b
Miscellaneous Equipment, etc.

S.W. Self Propelled Beam Raft. File containing: 1 large plan.

S.W. Landing Ship, Tank (L.S.T. ) Raft. File containing: 2 large plans and 1 duplicated sketch. Note: Located in Box 3.

S.W. Self Propelled Beam Raft (S. Ramp Float). File containing: 1 large plan.
The three above files all deal with various forms of rafts to be used in shallow water (hence S.W.) to unload transport from LSTs.

Beach Roadways... Duplicated typescript and illustrations. 21 pp. ca. January, 1943. A report on trials of various forms of temporary beach roadway.

Beach Cranes. File containing: 8 typescripts (original, carbon and duplicated) and 4 photographs. ca. March, 1942.

E.B.E. Trailer / S.U. Elevating Trailer. File containing: 6 typescripts (original, carbon and duplicated), approx. 26 photographs, and 1 large plan. ca. March, 1942.

Sledges. File containing: 6 typescripts and 4 plans. c. June, 1942
The three above files all deal with investigations into various methods of unloading stores and transport direct onto beaches without the benefit of piers or landing stages.

Roadless Traction Tracks. File containing: Various publicity material issued by Messrs. Roadless Traction Ltd. of Hounslow, Middlesex.

Crane Ship (Loco). File containing: Carbon typescript. 2 pp. and 3 plans. August, 1943. Data relating to floating cranes.

Floating Dock. File containing: 1 typescript (duplicated), 1 plan and 2 folders, ca. August, 1943. Details of a floating dock constructed from standard pontoon units. The two folders each contain 10 photographs of the dock under construction and test.

Clapper Pontoons. File containing: 2 typescripts (original and carbon ) and 1 large plan. ca. August, 1943.

General Information. File containing: 14 typescripts (original, carbon and duplicated), 34 plans and 3 folders. 1942-1944. Details of many aspects of Mulberry. The typescripts (occasionally duplicating material in other files) include: Notes on the Design of Terminal Pontoon and Specification of Spud Pontoon.

No. 1 & 2 Military Port. File containing: 3 typescripts (original and carbon) and 6 plans ca. February, 1942.

Camp Management. Duplicated typescript. 23 pp. ca. March, 1943

War Establishment (P.F.E.C.). File containing: 2 typescripts (carbon and duplicated).
The three above files relate to the War Department ports at Cairnryan and Faslane and other military bases.

Quebec and Washington Reports.

British Joint Mission: Quebec & Washington Conference. File containing: Duplicated typescript. Approx.108 pp., together with duplicated sketches and blueprints ca. August, 1943
Reports of committees and sub-committees on all aspects of "Artificial Harbours for Combined Operation" as submitted to Cossac.

Operational Reports, Histories, etc.

[File A] 18 typescripts (original, carbon and duplicated). 1944-1945
[File B] 30 typescripts ( original, carbon and duplicated). 1944-1945.
[File C] 26 typescripts (original, carbon and duplicated, 14 manuscripts, 6 charts and 1 panoramic photograph.
The above three files contain an extensive collection of operational, post operational and other reports and histories on the construction and function of the Mulberries. They include: "Mulberry" - Extracts from Minutes, Letters, etc.
"Signals" Part in Mulberry
Operational Aspects of Mulberry "B"
Extracts from Signals Sitreps etc. re Mulberry "B"
Report on Salvage of Phoenix Units
A copy of Capt. J.H. Jellett's very important Technical Report on the Construction of Arromanches Harbour (Mulberry B).
Other material includes drafts of SHAEF press releases, notes for lectures, film shows, etc. and several copies of Steer-Webster's address to the Engineering Institute of Canada in 1946. Finally, there is a draft script (57 pp. duplicated typescript) for a BBC radio documentary "The Harbour Called Mulberry" written by Cecil McGivern.

Report on Reconnaissance of Mulberry "A" & "B" 5-10th April, 1945.
Original typescript and duplicated sketches. Approx. 92 pp. with 2 large maps and 27 mounted photographs, gathered into wrappers. A complete survey of the Phoenix caissons, prepared to enable D.Tn. to decide on the feasibility of salvaging any of the undamaged units.

Special Papers "A" & "B" (General). File containing: Approx. 6 typescripts (original, carbon and duplicated). February - May, 1944. Miscellaneous papers.

[Misc. A ] 7 plans and graphs and 3 mixed typescripts. The plans include one of the prefabrication area at Richborough, a small port in Kent.
[Misc. B] 13 typescripts (carbon and duplicated).
Copies of personal pages including messages of congratulation on Steer-Webster's receipt of the O.B.E. for his work on Mulberry.

Octagon. File containing: 26 typescripts (duplicated and carbon).
Papers relating to the Quebec Conference of September, 1944. Apart from administrative information there are copies of decoded cipher telegrams passed between Quebec and London on the question of continued security coverage for the Mulberries.

The Story of Mulberry. (Third Draft) 6th Duplicate. File containing: typescript (Introduction, 1 page with handwritten notes), drawings, maps and photographs. A history written jointly by Rear Admiral H. Hickling, Brig. I.L.H. Mackillop and Steer-Webster. Intended as the official history of the project, but never published.
The Story of the Mulberries, typescript carbon, 62 pp., plus table of contents and appendixes; no author listed.

A cardboard plan-model, comprising 88 pieces, used by Colonel Steer-Webster in describing the construction and operation of Mulberry to President Roosevelt.

Printed Works

C.B. 4096 J(11). I.S.I.S. Report on France. Volume 2: Normandy west of the Seine. Part I: Geography. May, 1943. Wrappers.

C.B. 4096 J(13). I.S.I.S. Report on France. Volume 2: Normandy west of the Seine. Part III: Roads. May, 1943. Wrappers.

C.B. 4096 J(15). I.S.I.S. Report on France. Volume 2: Normandy west of the Seine. Part V (A): Coast, Beaches, and Exits. January, 1943. Wrappers.

C.B. 4096 J(15). I.S.I.S. Report on France. Volume 2: Normandy west of the Seine. Part VIII (A): Photographs of Part V(A): Coast, Beaches, and Exits. April, 1943. Wrappers.

C.O.H.Q. Bulletin X/17. The Classification and Testing of Beaches. June, 1944. Wrappers.

C.O.H.Q. Bulletin X/43. Appendix G. Crossing Treacherous Beaches in the Assault: The Roly-Poly. 4 pp. F'cap.

C.O.H.Q. Bulletin X/52. Beach and Mud Roadways. March, 1945. Wrappers.

C.O.H.Q. Bulletin Y/44. Operation Overload: An Assault by an Infantry Battalion: 6th /7th June 1944. February, 1945. Wrappers.

The Combined Operations Directory (Part I). May, 1943. Wrappers.

Evidence in Camera. Vol. 8, No.9. November 27th , 1944. Wrappers. A special edition devoted to Mulberry B.

The Structural Engineer. Vol. XXIV, No. 3. March, 1946. Wrappers.
Entirely devoted to "The Mulberry Invasion Harbours, their Design, Preparation and Installation" by May. W.J. Hodge.

Weekly Naval Notes. Issued by the Naval Intelligence Division, Naval Staff, Admiralty. Friday, 25th August, 1944. Wrappers. Contains: "Portable Ports for Normandy".

Wood (Cyril Raymond James). "Phoenix". Institution of Civil Engineers, 1947. Wrappers.

Wood (Cyril Raymond James). "Reinforced-Concrete Pier Pontoons and Intermediate Pierhead Pontoons". Institution of Civil Engineers, 1947. Wrappers.

Advance copies of lectures to be given at the Conference on War-Time Engineering Problems, 4, 5, and 6 June, 1947.

Second Accrual:

Letters, photographs, official booklets, and plans relating to the construction and operation of the Mulberry Harbours, collected or addressed to H. V. Phillips of the Ministry of Supply.

BOX 10
Framed photographs

Collection Description

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Contact: archives@mcmaster.ca
Last Reviewed: October 6, 2006