Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

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Garlieston Bay (3877)

Current Priority
2
East
248660
North
546440
Site Type
Mulberry
Period
Mid 20th century

Large rectangular/octagonal craft stranded on rocky beach opposite Garlieston. Possibly a Mulberry-type vessel. In poor condition and suffering from sea action.

Comment by AndyN HER reference = MDG25454 The remains of 2 'Beetle' sections of prototype Mulberry Harbour lie on the shore on the north side of Garlieston Bay. Scheduled by Historic Scotland (ref 12937) in April 2011

Information from David Kirkman December 2014 Garlieston and the surrounding district played an important in the preparations for Operation Overlord during the latter part of World War 2.

In the spring of 1941, after eighteen months of war, the greater part of Europe was in enemy hands, and planning was in progress to carry out an assault across the English Channel. A major part of the planning concerned the means of landing and maintaining a large force under hostile conditions. The Germans had transformed the harbours into fortresses and were ready to destroy the main installations if overrun by the allies. If getting the troops ashore was a problem, getting their supplies to them would be more so.

The planners concluded that an artificial harbour could be pre-fabricated and then taken across the channel for installation on the chosen landing beach in Europe. Support for the harbours came from on high. Winston Churchill, in his letter to Lord Louis Mountbatten on 30 May 1942, specified the use and form of floating harbours: “they must float up and down with the tide; let me have the best solution worked out; don’t argue the matter, the difficulties will argue for themselves”.

Lord Mountbatten transmitted the problem to the representatives which constituted the combined operations. A number of schemes were received and evaluated and it was decided to carry out full scale trials on three of the schemes to decide which was most suitable. The three chosen comprised a fixed pier and pierhead, a floating roadway and a floating bridge and pierhead.

In January 1943 a unit was formed with the task of developing the prototypes and training in their use. It was decided to build a prototype of each project to be tested in March 1943, in order to determine which was to be the most satisfactory. To retain operational secrecy the code name ‘mulberry’ was agreed, and so named because the mulberry tree was a quick growing plant and at that time the mulberry scheme needed to show the same quality.

The area chosen for the development was the stretch of coast on the west side of Wigtown Bay, where there was reasonable access to the beaches; the area was sufficiently remote for discreet operations; the harbour at Garlieston was available to bring in equipment; and the bay was not already being used for military operations. In addition to Garlieston Harbour, Rigg Bay about 1 mile to the south of Garlieston was utilised for testing, and still further south Cairnhead at the Isle of Whithorn was used for testing and billeting soldiers.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Poor
Action
Visit - assess condition of the site ;
Survey - record wreck, perhaps as NAS project

Over to you...

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Record NX 4866 4644 on map 18 in Coastal Assessment Survey Solway North Coast, 1996

Other records:

NMRS
Unknown
SMR
MDG25454

ShoreUpdates

2 ShoreUpdates accepted and 0 pending.

Click on an update to expand it.

23rd February, 2013 by nigeljoslin
Survey Information
User:
nigeljoslin
Date:
Feb. 23, 2013
Tidal state:
low
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
intertidal
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Description:

Large rectangular/octagonal craft stranded on rocky beach opposite Garlieston. Possibly a Mulberry-type vessel. In poor condition and suffering from sea action.

Comment by AndyN HER reference = MDG25454 The remains of 2 'Beetle' sections of prototype Mulberry Harbour lie on the shore on the north side of Garlieston Bay. Scheduled by Historic Scotland (ref 12937) in April 2011

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (above ground):
highly visible (substantial remains)
How accessibile is the site?:
accessible- difficult terrain
The site is:
don't know
Comments and recommendations
Recommendations:

The wrecks are located on rocks (metal structures with some wood remaining) and are substantially corroded by sea erosion....see pics. I think that they would have to be moved to a less corrosive environment, in order to stop the erosion.

I don't think that they are well visited; access involves scrambling over dangerous, slippery rocks.

14th February, 2014 by coombey
Survey Information
User:
coombey
Date:
Feb. 14, 2014
Tidal state:
mid
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
intertidal
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Other threats?:
structural damage/decay
Description:

Large rectangular/octagonal craft stranded on rocky beach opposite Garlieston. Possibly a Mulberry-type vessel. In poor condition and suffering from sea action.

Comment by AndyN HER reference = MDG25454 The remains of 2 'Beetle' sections of prototype Mulberry Harbour lie on the shore on the north side of Garlieston Bay. Scheduled by Historic Scotland (ref 12937) in April 2011

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (above ground):
highly visible (substantial remains)
How visible are the remains? (in section):
not visible
How accessibile is the site?:
accessible- difficult terrain
The site is:
has local associations/history
Comments and recommendations
Recommendations:

Record and monitor. There appears to be another similar structure further north (see photo)but tide too high