Recreation of Eisenhower’s visit to Chichester in aid of the Tangmere Tower campaign

General Eisenhower held a dinner at the Ship Hotel, Chichester in 1944
General Eisenhower held a dinner at the Ship Hotel, Chichester in 1944

The Save Tangmere Tower campaign is set to recreate an historic dinner held by General Eisenhower at the Chichester Harbour Hotel in Chichester.

It is hoped the event on March 21 commemorating the commander’s event in 1944 at the then Ship Hotel will help raise funds towards restoring Tangmere’s airfield control tower.

Matt Gover-Wren, from Save Tangmere Tower and historian and broadcaster Paul Beaver with the dinner floorplan.

Matt Gover-Wren, from Save Tangmere Tower and historian and broadcaster Paul Beaver with the dinner floorplan.

Historian and broadcaster Paul Beaver has been asked to help bring the re-enactment to life, with guests including military personnell and local dignitaries to enjoy the same menu.

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.”

“No 601 was based at RAF Tangmere on a number of occasions, especially during the Battle of Britain and its members will assist the campaign as much as

possible, to see this unique building be brought back into use.”

The dinner will see current senior military, historians and supporters of the tower campaign gather to commemorate and celebrate and will be supported by the Special Forces Club, custodians of the Special Operations Executive legacy and No 601 (County of London) Squadron, the first Fighter Command Squadron to have American volunteers flying in 1940.

Matt Gover-Wren, who is leading the Save Tangmere Tower campaign, said he was ‘very excited’ that guests would be coming from across Britain and as far as Washington and France to join the event.

He said: “To be working with Paul with his SOE and No 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.”

He added that the hotel had been ‘extremely supportive’ of the event.

Sally Russell, manager of the Chichester Harbour hotel said: “We are delighted to mark this occasion and support where we can. It’s going to be a wonderful night”.

Guests are set to include MP Gillian Keegan and Mayor of Chichester Martyn Bell. The hotel may also be unveiling a plaque to mark the event.

The Save Tangmere Tower campaign is bidding to save the derelict Second World War control tower at Tangmere that General Eisenhower would have visited.

Follow the campaign on Twitter @TangmereTower or email memories of the tower to savetangmeretower@outlook.com