When General Eisenhower, the supreme Allied commander of D-Day needed to gather his top advisors together for a ‘bonding session’, he chose the Ship Hotel in Chichester, West Sussex. This March, to remember the event, the ‘Save Tangmere Tower’ campaigners will restage the dinner with the same menu, along with guests to represent those there in 1944. The celebration is set to take place on Thursday 21 March at the Chichester Harbour Hotel.
The ‘Save Tangmere Tower’ campaign is bidding to save the derelict Second World War control tower at RAF Tangmere that he would have visited. The airfield and tower has so many connections to the Battle of Britain, SOE spy flights into France, D-Day and British world record-breaking high-speed flight.
Supported by the Special Forces Club, custodians of the Special Operations Executive legacy and 601 (County of London) Squadron, the first Fighter Command Squadron to have American volunteers flying in 1940, the dinner will see current senior military, historians and supporters of the campaign gather to commemorate and celebrate.
“We are very excited that people will be coming from Washington and France as well as across Britain to help us,” says Matt Gover-Wren, campaign lead.
Military personnel will be joined by local dignitaries including the local MP and councillors. The Save Tangmere Tower campaign say they have asked the well-known historian and broadcaster, Paul Beaver to help create a memorable evening. “To be working with Paul with his SOE and 601 Squadron connections has been a brilliant experience, to be part of this great evening will be something special. The evening will help us to fund academic studies in order to complete phase one of the project, which include a feasibility study and economic appraisal.”
Paul Beaver said: “This event is about recreating the night in question in 1944, paying tribute to Allies across the world that will again join us to mark this occasion. We have tried to recreate as much as we can, even by following the original menu.”
Gover-Wren also praised the staff and management of the hotel. “They have been extremely supportive and been very positive and approachable for this event, which marks part of our local and national history,” he said.