The Channel Tunnel (9 december 1922)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Channel Tunnel is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle published in The Times on 9 december 1922.

The Channel Tunnel

The Times (9 december 1922, p. 11)


Sir, — Mr. Skeus discusses in your columns the question of what would have happened had we had the Channel Tunnel during the war, and raises the bogy that it would have been seized by the Germans.

Surely we have sufficient information at our disposal to show us that the German right wing was very nearly cut off by stretching itself as far as Amiens, and that, if it had extended to the coast, it could hardly have got away. The end of the tunnel would, of course, have been fortified, and a comparatively small garrison could have held it secure, for it would constitute a fortress unique in the history of war — a fortress into which reinforcements and supplies could always be introduced, and from which wounded could be evacuated. With the smooth fields of fire which lie everywhere in that chalk country, it should be impregnable. If the very worst had happened, the cost of a destroyed tunnel would be less than that of a week of war.

On the other hand, so long as the tunnel existed, we could pass over reinforcements to France in all weathers with no danger of submarine attack, we could pass stores and munitions without breaking bulk, we could save all the shipping and all the escorts which were used in the Channel, and we could bring back our wounded swiftly and without discomfort. In money alone it is impossible to compute how much was wasted by our insane policy of obstructing the boring of the tunnel in pre-war days. We came badly out of the Suez Canal business, but our mistakes there were venial compared with those which we have made over the Channel Tunnel.

Now the matter has, as it seems to me, ceased to press. The mischief is done. It was only in view of a great Continental war that it was of really vital importance.

Yours faithfully,

Windlesham, Crowborough.

See also