Whilst going through back issues of The Times online, I discovered that in between:
Conan Doyle was also an early campaigner for the Channel Tunnel.
Though ideas of a tunnel connecting mainland Britain and France were not new even then – they had been bandied about since 1802 – with the possibility of a European war looming, Conan Doyle could see that having the tunnel in place would be a key strategic advantage.
In a letter to The Times' Editor, dated March 10th 1913, Conan Doyle states:
“Should we ever be forced to send troops to the Continent, it (the tunnel) provides a safe line of communications, besides ensuring an unopposed transit.”
Evidently mindful of the 'European situation', Conan Doyle dedicates exactly half of his 6-point proposal to the tunnel's utilisation in war. He continues:
“(The introduction of a Channel Tunnel…) enables food to be introduced into the country in war time, and would help us to hold out, even after a naval defeat.”
Though nothing came of Conan Doyle’s campaign during his own lifetime, it seems he may well have caught the ear of people in authority.
The Wikipedia article* on the origins of the Channel Tunnel, under the title ‘Proposals and attempts’, states that:
“In 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference, the British prime minister, David Lloyd George, repeatedly brought up the idea of a Channel tunnel as a way of reassuring France about British willingness to defend against another German attack. The French did not take the idea seriously and nothing came of Lloyd George's proposal.”
*Conan Doyle is not mentioned in the article.
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