LAST week’s coverage in Looking Back of the anniversary of D-Day prompted Cllr John Walsh to get in contact with us to tell us about a local man who played a crucial part in the event.

Arthur Briscoe Allanson did not take part in the Normandy Landings, nor did he see active service in the Second World War, but his contribution certainly played a big part in the success of the military operation which spelled the beginning of the end for Hitler as Allied forces punched through the German defences..

“He was one of the directors, and the general manager of John Booth Steelworks in Bolton,” explained Cllr Walsh who got to know Mr Allanson through St George’s Church, which he attended as a child and of which Mr Allanson was the churchwarden.

“A.B.A. as he was known, received the MBE in June 1946 for his part in the design and construction of the Mulberry Harbours which played such a significant part in the D-Day campaign,” said Cllr Walsh.

Mulberry Harbours were floating artificial harbours which were used to protect supply ships anchored off the coast of Normandy, after the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944.

“A.B.A. wasn’t one of the front-line troops who made that great sacrifice but his part in D-Day and the events thereafter was hugely important,” said Cllr Walsh.

“He was a very modest, dapper man, small in stature but big in presence. He wore a bowler hat and had an umbrella to the fore, and he was always immaculately presented - the epitome of a 1940s gentlemen.

“He was a proud Boltonian but modest about the part that he had played in the war effort. He played a significant role, as did the men at Booth’s who put the harbours together.”

Mr Allanson lived in Carlton Road, Heaton, and died in the mid-1960s. John Booth Steelworks was demolished in 1990.

Cllr Walsh said: “I think it is important to remember him because but for his contribution the troops’ efforts would have all been in vain.”

n If you are a relative of Arthur Briscoe Allanson and have memories or photographs to share, please get in touch with Neil Brandwood on 01204 537015