PORT ‘T’

The Maldives in the 1940s

We have heard it all before!

It’s the dramatic story of how the Royal Marines hacked a base in a tropical Maldivian jungle. This secret naval base with full defences was code named ‘Port T’ and was a vital link on the convoy route to Australia and for certain operations in the Indian Ocean. Similar to Pluto, Fido, Mulberry or Neptune, ‘Port T’ was built by the Royal Marines attached to the first Mobile Naval Base Defence brigade. I created this photo essay based on Peter Doling’s account of the life and times of Port T and RAF Gan.

Addu atoll is a rough triangle of coral islets in the extreme south of the Maldive Islands, 590 nautical miles from Colombo and 3,000 from Australia.
The reigning Sultan of Maldives during WWII was Hassan Nooradheen II.
Precisely six weeks to the day, the batteries fired their proof rounder despite the fact that the Devon and Kent RM Coast Regiment at Hithadhoo and Meidhoo were reduced by sickness.
A crushed coral path
Remnants of a Maldives causeway built during WWII
Hospital ship Vita
In the picture is a traditional sail-powered Dhoni in the 1940s. (Today the Maldivian fishermen have changed to diesel-powered cruisers with many using satellite navigation)
Mulee-Aage palace Maldives
The Queen Mary
Wilfred Boyd Fellowes Lukis was born in Ceylon In 1896. He married Grace Holmes Simpson and had one child. Lukis died in 1969 in Maidstone, Kent, England.
The first runway in Gan, aligned NW/SE was 4900 feet long and 150 feet wide. The western and Southern taxiways were also completed
(Above) A Sunderland flying boat taking off over the partially constructed Port T Gan. (Below) A Sunderland in Koggala Ceylon
The last photo of Admiral Chūichi Nagumo (front row centre) and his staff in Saipan 1944
A Supermarine Walrus being launched off a ship. Pic courtesy: Regional James Pudney
A Walrus Immediately after launch
A Supermarine Walrus taxiing after launch from the mothership
Being hoisted back to the carrier
A Supermarine walrus in Koggala ceylon
A Supermarine Walrus being towed by an elephant in Ceylon — 1943
The Yaahunbaraas in 1941 at Hithadhoo island.
Abbeyyage Ibrahim Didi
British War Memorial at Gan
A Naval gun installed by the Royal Marines in Addu Atoll in 1942 now on display at the British War Memorial Gan.

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