The storm that struck the Mulberry Harbours

Professor Thomas Adcock, Associate Professor in the Department, was recenlty interviewed for the University of Oxford's Science Blog about his newly published research: ‘the waves at the Mulberry Harbours.’ This focuses on understanding the ocean environment and how this interacts with infrastructure. Professor Adcock has a passionate interest in engineering history, particularly the Mulberry Harbours, which were used during the Second World War as part of Operation Overlord (the invasion of Normandy). His Grandfather was one of the engineers who worked on their design and construction.

Alan Adcock, Professor Thomas Adcock's Father
Pictured here is Alan Adcock giving his Grandson early lessons in coastal engineering

Operation Overlord was the invasion of occupied Europe by the Allies in the Second World War. Whilst the Allies' primary enemy was the Axis forces, they also faced another foe — the weather.In particular, given the continuous necessity for personnel and supplies to cross the channel there was serious concern that the sea might cause a breakdown in supply lines. A particular problem was that the enemy would render all ports useless.

The solution to this was to construct the components of the ports in Britain and take them with them. These temporary harbours were codenamed Mulberry.

For more on this fascinating story please visit Oxford Science Blog:

For more information about research undertaken in the Department's civil engineering team please visit: 

Published on 14 July 2017