Collection RC0295 - Mulberry Harbours collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Mulberry Harbours collection

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1942-1947 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

1.2 m of textual records and other material

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Administrative history

Mulberry Harbours were artificial harbours, assembled and built in Britain, and transported to France during World War II. The initial components for the two harbours, one for the American sector, and one for the British-Canadian sector, arrived in France on D-Day, 6 June 1944. By D-Day plus 7, the harbour erected in the British sector at Arromanches, Mulberry B, was operational. Mulberry A, in the American sector at St. Laurent, was so badly damaged by a storm that it could no longer be used. Colonel Vassal C. Steer-Webster headed the War Office branch co-ordinating all aspects of the invention, design, development, trials and siting of the harbours.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The collection consists of two accruals. The first accrual comprises the fonds of Colonel Steer-Webster as well as the partial fonds of Michael Harrison, author of Mulberry: The Return to Triumph (1965). Michael Harrison has written over fifty books of fiction, biography, travel and history. It consists of typescripts, correspondence, charts, sketches, photographs, maps, models. The second accrual contains correspondence addressed to H. V. Phillips in the Ministry of Supply as well as photographs, plans and printed materials.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The first accrual was purchased from Bertram Rota in early 1976.In a letter to McMaster University in January 1983, Harrison writes that he sold only part of his Mulberry fonds to Bertram Rota and offers the rest of the fonds to McMaster. McMaster apparently turned this offer down. In his letter he notes that Bertram Rota put his partial fonds together with the Steer-Webster fonds to form the collection which was then sold to McMaster in 1976. The second accrual was acquired at an unknown date.


The first accrual is organized into the following series: Mulberry: The Return to Triumph typescripts and proofs with corrections by Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979); Directorate of Transportation in the War Office Scheme and Associated Material; Alternative Schemes for Piers for Use on Flat Beaches; Phoenix and Bombardon Breakwaters; Miscellaneous Equipment; National Physical Laboratory and Quebec and Washington Reports; Information Regarding the Enemy Coast; Operational Reports, Histories; Photographs and Models; Printed Works.

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Further accruals are not expected.

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