Kent Life During the Great War => Military => Topic started by: CommanderChuff on January 29, 2018, 21:27:09

Title: Folkestone Harbour in Overlord - Neptune in June 1944
Post by: CommanderChuff on January 29, 2018, 21:27:09
With the harbour taking shape in my railway model of Folkestone attention is being directed towards maritime matters as a friendly model boat builder has appeared on my social horizon.

At this moment I know of the following maritime events and scenarios which I could apply (perhaps liberally) to my model.

1900: fishing fleet of Cornish luggers.  Paddlesteamer channel ferries and excurson trips.
1910: turbine steamers for passengers and steam ships for cargo.
1914: troops of the BEF were taken to France by ex ferry troop transports.  Casualties were brought back on ex
          ferry hospital ships and loaded onto ambulance trains.
1918: the SS Onward catches fire and is scuttled at the south pier, to be salvaged and reconsitiuted as Mona's Isle
          which had an starring role at Dunkirk as firstship to complete a round voyage, and was at Normandy beaches.
1940: small vessels from Folkestone journeyed to Dunkirk,  HMS Havant dropped off Dunkirk survivors.  A mobile
          railway gun fired at passing e-boats and rocked of the rails.  German and Briitish aircraft crashed near to
1944:  HMS Allenby was established in the Royal Pavilion Hotel, hards for LST x1 and LCI x3 were built and a small
          craft maintenence team setup.  Troops were loaded onto LCI on the evening of 6 June, possibly as part of
          force L.  x12 HMDL's flew balloons as part of Operation Glimmer.  Churchill, KGVI, Montgomery visited the
         invasion forces.  Tanks and guns lined the streets to be loaded at the hards.

I wonder if there are any other interesting to tell of the south Kent coast,

Title: Re: Folkestone Harbour in Overlord - Neptune in June 1944
Post by: Mickleburgh on January 29, 2018, 23:55:15
1914, Sept/Oct: Folkestone was the major route inward for Belgian refugees from the initial German invasion and were housed in the town prior to dispersal around the country. There is a apocryphal painting of their welcome that does not bear much relation to the reality.
1899/1900: Shorncliffe was the assembly point for troops bound for South Africa and who were presumably shipped from Folkestone (but possibly Dover). A Great Uncle of mine enlisted at Dorchester and, along with two others, found to be an experienced groom. Two days later they were sworn to the 10th Huzzars at Shorncliffe, who were about to embark their transport and needed additional horse handlers.
Title: Re: Folkestone Harbour in Overlord - Neptune in June 1944
Post by: CommanderChuff on March 02, 2018, 17:05:02
Thanks for the reply,  there has been some really useful info provided from the WW2Talk forum and it appears that Folkestone was used as one of the two decoy harbours on D-Day.

Dover was fitted out with dummy oil tanks and harbour, complete with rubber LCT and LCP craft, as part of Operation Quicksilver, the deception operation to create a fake US army under Patton.  Folkestone also had LCT ramps built in the harbour and the 10 Btn Worcestershire regiment was tasked with delivering 17 dummy LCT craft. These were big beasts and took many men all night to build up and float off. 

After the landings the harbour was used for receiving leave boats and special equipment and salvaged aircraft.
Title: Re: Folkestone Harbour in Overlord - Neptune in June 1944
Post by: conan on March 02, 2018, 19:35:22
The constituent parts of operation quicksilver

Aerial view of some of the fake landing craft (called 'big bobs'), these are moored somewhere on the east coast

Title: Re: Folkestone Harbour in Overlord - Neptune in June 1944
Post by: CommanderChuff on May 19, 2018, 18:52:04

Thanks for the image and it appears that there is much more to the bigbobs than one can image. 

Quicksilver III was the display of dummy landing craft, including associated simulated wireless traffic and signing of roads and special areas.[9] The landing craft, built from wood and canvas and nicknamed Bigbob's, suffered from being too light. Wind and rain flipped many over or ran them to ground.  One of the most intensive efforts went into simulating the "invasion fleet." The dummies themselves, code-named Bigbobs, were made of canvas stretched over a steel frame, floating on an array of 45-gallon oil drums.  Building the Bigbobs was very labour-intensive, as each kit had more than five hundred parts, filled six or seven three-ton trucks, and took twenty men six hours to assemble. When complete, each one weighed eight tons and looked convincingly like a real landing craft.  BB's were moved on railway trains in Sept1944 with 18 cases used for each BB.

The Worcestershire Regiment were assigned to BB construction in Folkestone March 1944 and a whole Company took 7 hours to build and launch one during the night time.  The Germans dropped several shells into the harbour just before D-Day and damaged a couple.

Thanks again,