This weekend, Taxi Charity committee member Dick Goodwin accompanied veteran Peter Kent to Arromanches to visit the Mulberry Harbour and to meet with the Town Council.
The Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches was one of two portable harbours towed over to Normandy in sections and assembled around 9 June 1944, just three days after D-Day. The other was at Omaha Beach.
These temporary harbours were designed to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto the beaches. Unfortunately the harbour at Omaha Beach was destroyed during a large storm in the Channel on 19 June 1944. Despite only being designed to last for three months, the harbour at Arromanches - which became known as Port Winston - was heavily used for eight months, landing over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles and 4 million tonnes of supplies, providing much needed reinforcements in France.
Its remains are still visible today from the beaches at Arromanches.
Peter was posted on the HMS Adventure, which was deployed off the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches as a support and repair vessel. He was posted in theatre for about nine months before being sent to Canada with returning Canadian POWs and then sailed from Vancouver Island into the Pacific in the HMS Hartland Point to prepare for the Invasion of Japan. The Arromanches Town Council wanted to hear Peter's stories relating to the Mulberry Harbour and he was presented with a medallion giving him the Freedom of Arromanches and treated to lunch by the town.
Although the mayor was unavailable due to a previously planned meeting, he subsequently met with Peter in the town square, making him very welcome to the town.