On the 6th June 1944 allied forces launched the biggest amphibious military attack in history, landing along 50 miles of the heavily fortified Normandy coast and creating a significant dent in Hitler’s Atlantic wall that ran all the way from Spain up to Norway. In order to sustain ‘Operation Overlord’ as the Battle of Normandy was called the allied forces, led by the British, decided to build a port where they could offload thousands of men, vehicles and tons of supplies. It was the beginning of the Mulberry Harbours situated off the coast at Arromanches les Bains and regarded by many as the key to liberating Europe from Nazi Germany.
The very next day after this now infamous 6th of June the first ships to assemble the artificial port were scuttled from across the Channel. And two days later saw the submersion of the first Phoenix caissons. Watertight structures that were sunk to the bottom of the sea to break the tide and make the port less prone to rough seas. On the 14th of June the unloading of the first cargos started. During its busiest week, more than 18,000 tonnes of goods were unloaded each day. Making it crucial during Montgomery’s large-scale offensive against Caen later that month.
The images taken of the remains of Mulberry Harbour are a stark reminder of the enormous and truly ingenious effort that went into liberating Europe from Nazi dictatorship. And the risks that were taken in order to get there. Like silent witnesses of a present rooted in one of the darkest days of Europe. In honour for all of those that sacrificed their life, so that we can live in freedom.