Recreation of Eisenhower’s visit as Tangmere Tower campaign progresses

Matt Gover-Wren at the recreation of General Eisenhower's dinner
Matt Gover-Wren at the recreation of General Eisenhower's dinner

Hopes of restoring Tangmere’s former RAF tower had a leap forward this week, with a planning application put in for the first phase of work.

A fundraising dinner for the campaign was held at Chichester Harbour hotel to mark the 75th anniversary of General Eisenhower’s visit to the area ahead of D-Day.

The original Eisenhower dinner at The Ship Hotel in 1944

The original Eisenhower dinner at The Ship Hotel in 1944

During his time on these shores, Eisenhower stayed at the then Ship Hotel and brought his top military commanders together for a meal, which was recreated down to the seating plan by military historian Paul Beaver – albeit slightly reimagined for modern taste.

Matt Gover-Wren, from the Save Tangmere Tower campaign, said: “It was great to work with Paul and to see so many military and civic dignitaries gathered together – a truly memorable evening.

“We also are delighted to announce that our planning application for phase one has now been successfully submitted to the local authority for consideration.”

Guests of honour included His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon and Air Marshal Edward Stringer, alongside Chichester MP Gillian Keegan, Mayor of Chichester Martyn Bell and the chairman of Chichester District Council Elizabeth Hamilton.

Historian Paul Beaver at the recreation of General Eisenhower's dinner

Historian Paul Beaver at the recreation of General Eisenhower's dinner

Serving members of the armed forces from the United Kingdom and the United States also attended, alongside military historians, veterans and others who have supported the campaign so far.

Paul Beaver, an Honorary Group Captain, acted as master of ceremonies and the meal was organised in-line with military mess rules, with toasts and speeches from both Mr Gover-Wren and AM Stringer.

HGC Beaver said: “It was great to be able to support such a worthy campaign to save this historic building from obscurity and bring it back to life for the community.

“We hope there will be more opportunities to work together in this cause in the future.”