Hayling Island was used as a site for the construction of components of the Mulberry Harbours. These artificial harbours were created by the Allies to enable them to land their forces in Normandy more rapidly than could be done directly onto the beaches.
A key part of the Mulberry Harbours was the outer breakwater. To create the breakwater, old ships and concrete Phoenix caissons were sunk in lines. The Phoenixes were large concrete structures, with hollow chambers inside. They could be floated in order to move them, but when water was let into the internal chambers they would sink onto the seafloor. One of the phoenixes developed a fault and could not be used: it remains there to this day, on a sandbank in Langstone Harbour. Most mulberry harbour phoenix caissons were built in already established dry docks but later more where built on the beachside at Lepe, Stokes Bay and Hayling Island.
Data captured by Southampton University Produced by Grant Bettinson