Tools used to help win war handed over

Northampton man's tools, that helped make models for Churchill, handed over to D-Day museum

Saturday, 14th July 2018, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 6:43 pm
No Caption ABCDE NNL-181107-142513001

Hartwell resident, Stephen Masters, visited the Musée du débarquemant in Arromanches to present curators with tools that created part of the model of the Mulberry Harbour for Winston Churchill.

The museum is home to the model of the Mulberry harbour, the remains of the real one can clearly be seen on the beach and out to sea from the museum.

Stephen’s grandfather, Gordon Joseph Taylor, worked for Bassett Lowke, a Northampton model and toy maker, who during the war built scale models for the Admiralty.

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With the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy happening next June, it was only fitting that these tools could be offered to the museum for exhibition.

Gordon had started at Bassett Lowke in 1928, left in 1939 to become an auxiliary fireman, but received a letter from the Admiralty to return to Bassett Lowke to make models for the war effort.

He made everything from ships for the Royal Navy and Royal Airforce to Bailey bridges for the Royal Engineers but the most top secret was the Mulberry Harbour.

Gordon was one of only three men making the model, each one making a different part and none knowing what the other two were making.

He even met Churchill twice when he came to Northampton to see how the model was progressing.

This secretive work led to the production construction, concealment and delivery of an artificial harbour all the way from the UK to the Normandy coast that allowed thousands of men, machines and tons of equipment to re-take the beaches of Northern France and begin the liberation of Europe in 1944.

The Museum will now are expand displays to include these tools and other artifacts.