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Virtual Earth map of Normandy dock before destruction, Saint Nazaire

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At 350 metres long, fifty metres wide, and a full 16 metres deep the Forme-Ecluse Louis-Joubert, named after the President of St Nazaire Chamber of Commerce, was specially constructed to house the 80,000-ton ‘Normandie’ which had been built in the Penhoët shipyard and launched in 1932. It was the primary means of access from the River Loire to the man-made inner basin of the port.The Normandie Dock was capable of being used either as a dry or wet dock, its ends were capped by giant hollow gates or ‘caissons’, each nine metres wide, which could be wound into ‘cambers’ on the dock’s west side by machinery, contained in Dock Gates (The Caisson) ‘winding huts’ situated at the end of each camber. On the west side of the lock, the impressive pumping- house, by means of which the lock could be either drained or filled - a process which took all of fourteen hours.


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