Mulberry Harbour archive material


In the Beckett Rankine archives are many personal papers handed down to us by Sir Bruce Gordon White and Allan Harry Beckett. These papers relate to Sir Bruce’s activities during both World Wars and Allan Beckett’s work on the design of the Mulberry Harbours and other equipment during the Second World War.

During the Second World War Brigadier Bruce White (as he then was) was Director of Ports and Inland Water Transport at the War Office; in this role he was responsible for the overall planning, design and manufacture of the Mulberry Harbours and he reported directly to Winston Churchill. Sir Bruce’s personal papers provide a fascinating insight into the importance of the Mulberry harbours in the campaign to liberate Europe; they also show the tremendous hurdles that the project had to overcome.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day we will be posting some of this wealth of archive material here for private research and educational purposes. The material is copyright and is not to be used for any commercial use without prior written consent from Beckett Rankine Ltd. 



Development of the Kite Anchor for Mulberry Harbour – Lecture Notes

By Allan Harry Beckett:
The notes below were prepared by Allan Beckett for use in a presentation of his design for the Kite anchor. The note explains the design process whereby he developed the exceptional holding power of the Kite anchor.

“To moor the Whale bridges and keep them straight in any weather required a mooring to each pontoon capable of withstanding a pull of 20 tons. To give a reasonable margin of safety some form of anchor with a holding power of 30 tons was necessary. To lay these anchors quickly over the beaches dictated that they should be light weight and fairly easily handled in small craft capable of operating in..”

Click here for the rest of the article.


Allan Beckett, the Kite Anchor and Mulberry Harbour (PDF, 0.5MB)

This information leaflet was produced by Beckett Rankine for the 6th June 2009 when the monument to Allan Beckett in Arromanches-les-Bains, Normandy was unveiled. The leaflet is in both English and French. 
Click here to download.


Some Aspects of the Design of Flexible Bridging, Including ‘Whale’ Floating Roadways. (PDF, 1.6MB)

“The ‘Whale’ was probably one of the finest pieces of bridge engineering the world has ever known.” So said the Royal Navy’s Rear Admiral Harold Hickling DSO in 1945. This paper by Allan Harry Beckett explains his design of the Whale; the paper was originally part of a series called “The Engineer at War” published by the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1948.
In this paper Allan discusses the design of the flexible bridging and pontoons forming the ‘Whale’ piers at Mulberry.
Click here to download.

Whale Piers for Mulberry Design & Fabrication. (PDF, 6.7MB)

A paper by A Lamond and R G Braithwaite on the fabrication of the Whale roadway spans. This paper was originally published as an article in the August 1945 edition of ‘Welding’ magazine.
Click here to download.


A harbour called Mulberry. (PDF, 6MB)

A personal story by Sir Bruce White KBE (Gordon Rankine’s grandfather) written in 1980, 22 pages.
Click here to download.


The NCE 50th anniversary Mulberry Harbour special issue

This excellent booklet is now available from the NCE’s website here (Part 1) and here (Part 2) . The referring page is here. The booklet features an interview with Allan Beckett on page 6.


Allan Harry Beckett’s record of wartime service. (PDF, 2MB)

Written in 1991 this document includes Allan’s first hand recollections of the design and construction of Mulberry Harbour.
Click here to download.

The Mulberry Harbours. (PDF, 12MB)

Written by Brigadier Sir Bruce White just after the war this paper contains his overview of the Mulberry Harbour project.
Click here to download.

Mulberry Harbour Codewords. (JPG, 36MB)

Are you confused about the codewords used for the Mulberry Harbours? If so you are not alone; this explanatory diagram was prepared in 1946 by the drawing office of the War Office’s Tn5 department which was responsible for preparing many of the Mulberry Harbour design drawings.