Mulberry Harbour Diorama

Discussion in 'Modelling' started by Noel Burgess, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Thought you would like to see this, which I found in a review of the "On Track Model Show" held in Folkestone at the beginning of March
    Apparently it is the work of Barry Sharman and was made some 20 years ago, Barry has just finished tidying it up in time for the 70th anniversary. The review also mentioned that the Landing Ship Tank is about six feet long.

    There are a wonderful variety of models of softskin vehicles in the diorama which can bee seen at the bottom of the first and top of the second pages on this Flickr page -
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    That certainly was a pretty good show, thanks :)
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Yes, 'twas.
  4. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day noel burges,sm.26 mulberry harbour diorama. thank you for the flick page.great models.a credit to all involved.regards bernard85
  5. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    The story of the harbour at Folkestone has mainly been concentrated on the railway and its particularities. The information on the shipping is quiate sparse when the fishing fleet and the cross channel steamers have been accounted for.

    The area of interest for some marine models to liven up the harbour scene on the layout is centres around life boats and WW2 events at Dunkirk, the planned Sealion invasion and D-Day. There are snippets of information in books and on the internet which I have gathered together to form an opinion of which ships played a part.

    I hope that you will be able comment on my findings so far and I would love to hear more of the Dunkirk little ships and any other unusal craft in the harbour.

    1. 1940 - Dunkirk:

    a. Folkestone Belle (now Southsea Belle) motor launch, was built in oak and mahogany at Cowes in 1928, used as a ferry at Hayling Island, was requisitioned in 1940 for Dunkirk via Ramsgate, returning with about 100 men and the crossing took 19 hours.

    b. Bluebell - There were three Bluebird boats owned by Malcolm Campbell, and all of these went to Dunkirk, Winser gives the skipper of Bluebell as Mr Booth.

    Bluebell 2: is the motoryacht CHICO, 80 tons 73 ft, 11 kts, built in 1932 at Miller's yard in St Monans, Fife, to a G L Watson design, requisitioned by the Navy in December 1939, and fitted with Lewis guns and echo sounding gear, commissioned as HMS CHICO in March 1940, based at Dover on minesweeping duty. At 2130 on 25th May a force of seven trawlers, three yachts (the Grey Mist, Conidaw and Chico), and two drifters sailed for Calais Roads ready to evacuate troops the moment an order to do so was received. On 30th May the Chico (under Sub -Lieut. J. Mason, RNVR, Winser gives the owner name as Mr Onslow) left Dover for Dunkirk where she embarked 217 troops and returned to Dover. On the 31st she ferried nearly 1,000 troops from the Dunkirk shore to ships, disembarking a further estimated 100 troops herself on her return to Dover. On 2nd June, she was transferred to life-saving duties on Route X - a new middle route prepared between Dover and Dunkirk, from the North Goodwin to the Ruytingen Pass and thence into Dunkirk Road. She saw further action with enemy aircraft in the Channel and is thought to be the ASR vessel berthed in Folkestone Harbour in 1942 as described below.

    2. Jan 1942: Royal Naval Patrol Service: Local Air Sea-Rescue Service was provided at Folkestone by fast patrol boat BLUEBIRD commanded by Ty/Sub Lt J D Caldwell RNVR. (Don Kindell, Admiralty Reports Dover Command RN Ships, The term fast patrol boat is very misleading as I believe that this vessel was HMS Chico, the second Bluebell boat of Sir Malcolm Campbell, and it was only capable of cruising at 11 knots. It appears that she was mainly employed on servicing the rescue floats anchored in the Channel.

    3. May 1943: Combined Operations base. Base was commissioned as HMS Allenby on 14/3/43 and paid off on 10/4/45. Some records show that the base was in existence as early as 1/12/42. Possibly called Bluebird III before 12/42. If so reverted to Bluebird III 11/45. The Royal Pavilion Hotel provided accommodation for the RN unit and stores. (Combined Operations forum).

    4. June 1944: Operation Neptune on D-Day:

    a. Landing Craft base constructed, with ramps consisting of x1 LST and x3 LCT Hards (NT1).

    b. Operation Glimmer – x12 HMDL’s formed part of the decoy operation and sailed out towards the French coast flying balloons to represent a fleet of larger ships.

    c. Follow up Force L – on evening of D-Day a WREN was in the harbour and watched troops loading into LCI’s.

    d. Ferry service for leave troops, mail ships, and landing of unusual loads from LCT’s (captured German equipment and salvaged aircraft).

    e. Mulberry Harbour tugs: the sections of the Mulberries were parked at Dungeness, and Seymour Castle (now Devon Belle) was used as a tug to move components around the Folkestone area (from ADLS). Built by Ferris & Blank, Old Mill Creek, Dartmouth, in 1938, she is 60 feet long and 37 tons.

    5. Late 1944: Training Base: Lt. Brown, Peter Henry, Oct1944 – Mar1945, lent to HMS Allenby (Combined Operations base, Folkestone) as training officer at base for minor craft pool.

    Other Bluebells: Bluebird of Chelsea, 23 tons, 52 ft, built 1931 by Thornycrofts of Southampton, as a twin petrol-engined wooden carvel-built motor yacht, Went to Dunkirk after two false starts, first due to engine trouble and then over-crowding. Her return from Dunkirk was even more fraught: after first refilling the fuel tanks with water, then fouling her screws on debris, she returned under tow. Her later wartime service was spent in Scotland performing transport work for the RASC, then later on the South coast around Weymouth and Gosport possibly as a radar decoy ship. Her history after this is sketchy, although she was renamed Blue Finch and found herself on the Atlantic coast of the South of France:

    Bluebell 3: BLUE BIRD of 1938 previously Bluebird II, Goole Shipbuilding Co Ltd, 107ft, 12 kts. In September 1941 Blue Bird was posted to Londonderry, N. Ireland engaged in the H.M. Customs Examination Service with a complement of two RNR officers and 16 crew, to patrol the coast of Ulster and Eire to intercept 'neutral' cargo vessels and to identify coasters in the channel approaches.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018

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