La Tour Penchée

Having found that 1996 letter that formed the bulk of yesterday’s blog I spent a while looking at photos from 1996 and realised it had been a significant year for us.

It was the year my dad died. That was a blow for me as I rated him as my best friend – not just a dad. I still miss him and quite often, still, photos I take have him in mind.

But 1996 was also the year when post children life began. Not that children had left home by then. Indeed, daughter was but 16. But she was old enough to be left and, we felt, sensible enough too.

Our son was a university student at Canterbury and we realised we had the opportunity to take him and fit in a quick trip to France – just the two of us. And we first did this in October of that year. It wasn’t the first time I had taken a car abroad but it was still a real adventure for us.

Amongst photos I took – colour print film at that time – was this one.


This is close to Oye Plage – about 11 kilometres east of Calais and along the coast. Back in 1996 I captioned it ‘war time relic?’. I had no internet then to look things up on.

But now I know it is called La Tour Penchée or the leaning tower. It is a wartime relic.  The tower was built by the Germans to look like a church tower in the hope that allied airman would bomb that rather than the town a few miles south. Apparently, at the end of the war an attempt was made to blow up the tower. The attempt failed in its purpose and just left it leaning at about 20o. And there it still is.

It’s nearly 20 years on, but good to know what that building was for!


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