D-Day 75 - Celebrating the legacy of British construction and engineering
A new film celebrating a feat of engineering which turned the tide of World War II has been released by Wates on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Using rarely-seen images from the Wates Family archives, original newsreel footage and interviews with surviving veterans, Wates has worked with D-Day Revisited – a charity established to commemorate the anniversary – to create the film – Memories of Mulberry – celebrating the Mulberry harbours and the British servicepeople who used them.
The film features rare images of Wates engineers in 1943 constructing the Mulberry harbours in the lead up to one of the most significant moments in the Allied war effort, (see our image archive below). In total, the harbour enabled 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles and 4 million tonnes of supplies to land before it was decommissioned.
The Mulberry harbours were artificially-constructed floating docks that enabled ships carrying vital supplies, military vehicles and troops to safely anchor off the French coast, on a stretch of land lacking any safe harbours. They were designed and constructed in secrecy by around 200,000 British engineers in the seven months leading up to the D Day landings on 6 June 1944, and helped service personnel who recall ‘fighting the sea’ at the same time as they battled against the German army.
“As we mark the 75th anniversary of the D Day landing, we look back with pride at our role in bringing an end to World War Two, and supporting our armed forces. Our purpose today remains as it was then: to work together to inspire better ways of creating the places, communities and businesses of tomorrow.”
James Wates, CBE, Chairman of the Wates Group.
To this day Wates Group continues to support the work of the armed forces, working with the Ministry of Defence and its supply chain – including building the base of the new Lightning jets at RAF Marham; BAE System Submarines’ new training base for apprentices and maintaining housing for services personnel and their families. Wates has also pledged to honour the Armed Forces Covenant, including a commitment to provide work opportunities for veterans.