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The revolutionary Bailey Bridge has played an important role over the years – initially providing critical connections in the Second World War, but more recently in getting vital supplies to people across the globe, both in civilian and military applications.

The modular, rapidly deployable Bailey Bridge has its origins in the years before the Second World War, when civil servant Donald Bailey came up with the concept, producing his original sketch on the back of an envelope in 1936.

His idea was largely ignored at the time, but then war broke out. An upgraded version of the First World War Inglis Bridge failed, as the new and improved military vehicles were too heavy. So on 14 February 1941, Bailey received a letter from the War Department telling him to prepare for a full-scale trial of his bridge design in May that year at the Experimental Bridging Establishment at Christchurch, Dorset.

Successful trials meant the Bailey Bridge went into production in July 1941 and was issued to the army that December. British, Canadian, Australian and US engineers used the system – its rapid rollout showed just how progressive and easy to implement it was.
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