Floating Pontoon

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  • Posted on: 21 July 2015
  • By: patrick

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Over three years ago Portland Port and Derek Luckhurst first met to discuss an Underwater Curiosity Park with the idea of creating a novel dive site in Portland Harbour that is resilient to poor weather conditions and, therefore, ideal for beginners and a haven for the more experienced divers in

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Phoenix Caissons

Portland Harbour is the largest artificial harbour in the UK and located within 50m of Crabbers’ Wharf are two of the famous Phoenix Caissons from the World War II Mulberry Harbours. As part of the D-Day operations in Normandy, nine Phoenix Caissons were assembled in Portland Harbour for the Mulberry Harbours which were created to unload the tanks, ammunition and supplies off the ships to support the Allies immediately after they had captured the beaches. The Phoenix Caissons were designed to be moored seaward of the main Mulberry structure formed by Phoenix breakwaters (64m long open-topped reinforced concrete caissons).

The Phoenix Caissons are 2 huge structures made of concrete, each measuring 200 feet long by 32 feet wide by 60 feet high and weighing 7,700 tons. They actually floated and were towed over to Normandy in June 1944 to form part of the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches, off Gold Beach.

Located on the Phoenix Caissons are now 6 statues, each individually designed to represent a named individual who was one of the millions involved in D-day, the largest maritime invasion of all time. It is intended that, periodically, each statue will be re-dedicated to another individual and a roll of honour will be maintained for posterity of all those individuals who have been immortalised by the statue dedication ceremony. There are 2 statues representing the American forces, 2 statues representing the British forces and 2 statues representing the civilian effort. For further information and to find out the full history on each of the statues please visit the D-Day centre.