Statue of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay and The Stone Map, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

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John Latter on August 23, 2011

This statue of Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay, KCB KBE MVO, (January 20, 1883 - January 2, 1945) stands in the grounds of Dover Castle near the edge of the White Cliffs of Dover, overlooking the harbour and English Channel beyond.

The Statue

The sculpture of Admiral Ramsay holding a lowered telescope was created by Stephen Melton of Ramsgate and unveiled by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in November, 2000.

A close-up is shown in The Statue of Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay in Dover Castle photo.

A side view in The Stone Map and Statue of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Dover Castle.

The front panel on the statue plinth reads:

In memory of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay KCB. KBE. MBO. 1883-1945, Vice Admiral Dover, 1939-42, C-in-C Allied Naval Expeditionary Force June 1944 and of those who died in the Dunkirk and Normandy operations.

The rear panel:

I ploughed a passage through the foam, Dunkirk and Deal - Dieppe and Dover. I brought the flower of Britain home, And took the fruit of freedom over. (A. P. Herbert)

The two side panels are bronze reliefs of battle scenes.

See below for biographical notes about Admiral Ramsay.

The Stone Map

The flagstone crescent in front of the statue has an inner arc (defined by the stonehenge-like array of benches and information plaques) upon which is etched the coastline of southern England from Weymouth (Dorset) in the west to the Wash (Norfolk/Lincolnshire) in the east. Marked in between are: Poole, Southampton, Portsmouth, Shoreham, Folkestone, Dover, Ramsgate, London, and Harwich.

Northern France is shown from St Malo in the west to Dunkirk in the east. Marked in between are: Cherbourg, Carentan, Caen, Le Havre, Dieppe, Boulogne, and Calais.

The sea routes used in the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation (Route X, Route Y, Route Z) are shown along with the D-Day June 6th 1944 main invasion routes from England to Normandy (Utah beach, Omaha beach, Gold beach, Juno beach, and Sword beach):

The Allied invasion of France - Operation Overlord - was the largest amphibious assault in history. On the first day, D Day, June 6th 1944, 130,000 troops and their equipment stormed ashore on the Normandy beaches from over 4,000 landing craft, protected by some 2,000 warships and 10,000 planes.

A further 22,500 airbourne troops also took part.

Fittingly, the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief responsible for the planning and organisation of the naval side of this vast undertaking - Operation Neptune- was Admiral Ramsay.

His success with Operation Dynamo in 1940 (more below), the North African landings in 1942 and the invasion of Sicily in 1943 had made him uniquely qualified for this crucial operation.

Admiral Ramsay is closely associated with Cliff Casemates Balcony, entrance to the Secret Wartime Tunnels (40 yards to the left) and The Restored Admiralty Lookout and Port War Signal Station (60 yards to the right; also see: First World War Admiralty Lookout and Port War Signal Station).

Elsewhere in the photo

Queen Elizabeth Road runs uphill left to right behind the statue.

Barely visible in front of the trees on top of the embankment to the right of the statue are two Royal Ordnance QF 25-Pounder Field Guns on the Saluting Platform.

The Saluting Platform was built in the 1930s above "Long Gun Magazine" (c. 1800), so called because of its proximity to the mound, out-of-shot to the left (west), upon which Queen Elizabeth’s Pocket Pistol once stood. Also once known as "Queen Anne's Pocket Pistol", this remarkable weapon is now housed in the Victorian former Regimental Institute on Knights Road.

The black railings partially covering the bottom of the steps leading up to the Saluting Platform surround the upper entrance to a dual spiral staircase (c. 1870) leading down to the Cliff Casemates (an underground tunnel level that once housed more than 2,000 men, and to date, the only underground barracks ever built in Britain).

The Cliff Casemates stairway is a "minature version" of the huge Napoleonic Grand Shaft triple-staircase across the River Dour valley on the Western Heights.

Out-of shot to the right is the West Wing of the Officers New Barracks, or Victorian Officers Mess.

The photo was taken at 10.16 am on Friday, 19th of August, 2011.

Bertram Home Ramsay (1)

Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay KCB, KBE, MVO (20 January 1883 - 2 January 1945) was a British admiral during the Second World War. He was an important contributor in the field of amphibious warfare.

Early life

He was born in London, into an old Scottish family (see Ramsay Baronets), and attended the Colchester Royal Grammar School (CRGS). In 1898, he joined the Royal Navy. Serving on HMS Britannia, previously the 1860 HMS Prince of Wales, he became an midshipman within a year. Following his promotion, he was transferred to the 1892 Edgar-class cruiser, HMS Crescent.

World War I

During the First World War he was assigned his first command, the "M 25", a small monitor, in August 1915 (listed as a "war loss" in Jane’s Fighting Ships for 1919). For two years his ship was part of the Dover Patrol off the Belgian coast. On October 1917 he took command of another Dover Patrol vessel, the Faulknor-class destroyer, HMS Broke (initially built for the Chilean Navy as the Almirante Lynch-class destroyer, Almirante Goni).

On 9 May 1918, his ship took part in the Second Ostend Raid (Operation VS), a follow up to the Zeebrugge Raid (see the Zeebrugge Bell on Dover's Town Hall), and he was mentioned in despatches.

Resigning from the Royal Navy in 1938, he was coaxed out of retirement by Winston Churchill one year later to help deal with the Axis threat.

Note: Another famous person who served in the Dover Patrol was Charles Lightoller, second mate (second officer) onboard the RMS Titanic, and the most senior officer to survive the 1912 iceberg disaster. Charles Lightoller lived at 8 East Cliff on the seafront almost directly below where Ramsay's statue now stands.

World War II

Promoted to Vice-Admiral, he was placed in charge of the Dover area of operations on 24 August 1939. His duties included overseeing the defence against possible destroyer raids, protection of cross-Channel military traffic and the denial of the passage through the Straits of Dover to submarines.

Operation Dynamo

As Vice-Admiral Dover he was responsible for the Dunkirk evacuation, codenamed Operation Dynamo, between 26 May and the early hours of 3 June 1940. Working from the underground tunnels beneath Dover Castle, he and his staff worked for nine days straight to rescue troops trapped in France by the German forces (the "Dunkirk Little Ships").

For his success in bringing home 338,226 British and allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, he was asked to personally report on the operation to the King and was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

Defending Dover

After Operation Dynamo was completed, he was faced with the enormous problems of defending the waters off Dover from the expected German invasion (Operation Sea Lion). For nearly two years, he commanded forces striving to maintain control against the Germans, gaining a second Mention in Despatches.

Operation Torch

Ramsay was to be appointed as Naval Force Commander for the invasion of Europe on 29 April 1942, but the invasion was postponed and he was transferred to become deputy Naval commander of the Allied invasion of North Africa (Operation Torch).

Under the Allied Naval Commander of the Expeditionary Force, Sir Andrew Cunningham, Ramsay planned the landing efforts.

He defused a potential conflict between Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the British Sovereign, King George VI, when Churchill informed the King that he intended to observe the D-Day landings from aboard HMS Belfast (C35), a Town-class cruiser assigned to bombardment duty for the operation. The King, himself a seasoned sailor and a veteran of the battle of Jutland in the First World War likewise announced that he would accompany his Prime Minister. The two were at civil loggerheads until meeting with Admiral Ramsay who flatly refused to take the responsibility for the safety of either of these two luminaries. Ramsay cited the danger to both the King and the Prime Minister, the risks of the planned operational duties of HMS Belfast, and the fact that both the King and Churchill would be needed ashore in case the landings went badly and immediate decisions were required. This settled the matter and both Winston Churchill and King George VI remained ashore on D-Day.

Operation Husky

During the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943, he was Naval Commanding Officer, Eastern Task Force and prepared the amphibious landings.

Operation Neptune

He was re-instated on the Active List on 26 April 1944 and promoted to the rank of Admiral on 27 April 1944.

The Normandy Landings on June 6th, 1944 and Operation Neptune:

Although the men fighting on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day (Operation Overlord) richly deserve the attention given to their efforts, the job of the naval forces was also of vital importance. In 1944, Ramsay was appointed Naval Commander in Chief of the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force for the invasion.

Death

On 2 January 1945, he was killed when his plane crashed on takeoff at Toussus-le-Noble, southwest of Paris. France. He was en route to a conference with General Bernard Montgomery (1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein) in Brussels, Belgium. A memorial to all who died in the crash was erected at Toussus-le-Noble in May 1993; photographs of the memorial can be seen here.

Awards

A statue of Ramsay in the grounds of Dover Castle

Mentioned in Despatches - 1918, 1940

Knight Commander of the Bath (KCB) - 1940

Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE)

Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO)

Grand Officier of the Légion d'honneur

Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States) For gallant and distinguished service whilst in command of the invasion operations on Normandy

Order of Ushakov, First Class (USSR)

Legacy

A statue of Ramsay was erected in November 2000 at Dover Castle, close to where he had planned the Dunkirk evacuation. His involvement in the Dunkirk evacuation and D-Day landings has led to several appearances as a character in film and television drama - in The Longest Day (1962, played by John Robinson), Churchill and the Generals (1979, played by Noel Johnson), Dunkirk (2004, played by Richard Bremmer) and Ike: Countdown to D-Day (2004, played by Kevin J. Wilson).

Source: Wikipedia entry for Bertram Ramsay

Geology

The White Cliffs of Dover are composed mainly of soft, white chalk with a very fine-grained texture, composed primarily of coccoliths. Flint and quartz are also found in the chalk.

End Notes

Click to see all photos of Dover Castle, a Dover English Heritage site and a Grade I Dover Listed Building

The general listing text for the whole of the castle is appended to a number of photos, a personal favourite is Rare View of Peverell Gateway.

Also see all Dover Statue and Dover Memorial photos.

Dover's 12th Century Norman castle appears in the video, "Dover in World War Two: 1942", a ten minute British Ministry of Information film, released by the US Office of War Information, and narrated by the American journalist, Edward R. Murrow.

A Dover Royal Navy and British Army Royal Artillery history photo.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

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Photo taken in Dover Castle, Castle Hill, Dover, Kent CT16 1HU, UK

Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 20, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/08/19 10:16:34
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 23.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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