THE original pencil drawings for the prototypes of the temporary mobile ports – called Mulberry harbours – which played a crucial role in the D-Day landings in 1944 are to be sold at auction.
The secret wartime plans, designed and drawn by the Welsh engineer Hugh Iorys Hughes in 1942, are expected to raise between £40,000-£60,000 at the Second World War sale at Bonhams in New York on Thursday, June 5.
Portsmouth played a crucial role in the D-Day landings.
The Mulberrys were a response to the need of the Allies to find a port large enough to accommodate the huge amount of supplies required to support an invasion of mainland Europe.
A Bonhams spokesman said: ‘Aware that capturing an existing port in France was next to impossible, Hughes first proposed the idea of floating harbours to the War Office during 1941.’
Hugh Iorys Hughes was chosen to head the project and the plans going on sale, drawn up between June and August 1942, are the basis of what eventually became the Mulberry harbours deployed in May 1944 in time for the June invasion of France.
The spokesman added: ‘The Mulberry harbours made possible the initial landings at Normandy and the continued supply of troops during the Allied invasion that turned the tide of the war.’
· The News has launched a Twitter feed telling the story of the build-up and execution of Operation Overlord in real time. Click here now to follow the story @RealTimeDDay.