Dunkirk and Her Little Ships - 70 Years On.

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Boat Type: R.N.L.I. Lifeboat

    Boat Length: 45ft 6ins

    Boat Beam: 12ft 6ins

    Boat Draft: 4ft 6ins

    Boat Displacement: 25 tons

    Boat Engine: 2x Ford 4D 72hp Diesels

    Boat Construction: Carvel

    Boat Builder: J S White, Cowes IoW

    Boat Year: 1929

    [​IMG]

    Reportedly towed to Dunkirk by the tug Foremost 87 on 2nd June, 1940 along with Thomas Kirk Wright. This Newhaven lifeboat saved 51 soldiers at Dunkirk and has listed A/B W.J. Morris, Coxwain as part of the crew. The mission nearly ended in disaster when she was left high and dry for 4 hours before returning on 3rd June, arriving at Dover at 0845 hrs.

    Cecil & Lilian Philpott was in service at Newhaven from 1930 to 1959; apart from Dunkirk she was launched 159 times and saved 99 lives. In November 1940 she was rammed and nearly cut in half by HM trawler Avanturine, but she survived. Later she served in the RNLI's reserve fleet at various lifeboat stations around the coast increasing her score with a further 76 incidents, and saving 49 more lives.
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Boat Type: R.N.L.I. Lifeboat

    Boat Length: 41ft

    Boat Beam: 11ft 8ins

    Boat Draft: 3ft 6ins

    Boat Displacement: 15 tons

    Boat Engine: 2 x Parsons Pobeagle Diesels

    Boat Construction: Mahogany on oak

    Boat Builder: Gorves & Gutteridge, Cowes IoW

    Boat Year: 1932

    [​IMG]

    The then named Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn served for thirty years, during which time she was launched at Shoreham 244 times and saved 143 lives.

    Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn was initially towed to Dunkirk by Kindred Star, a Naval Drifter on 1st June, 1940. She is reported as making three trips from the beaches of Dunkirk back to Dover, but naval crews did not keep detailed logs which are the rule in the RNLI. There is a story that the naval officer in charge protected his men from shrapnel and strafing by constructing a makeshift wheelhouse from steel plate.

    On 16th November 1941 she was called out to the President Briand, a minesweeper, which was in danger of being driven ashore by a strong south wind off Shoreham. The lifeboat's coxswain was put aboard the President Briand and the SS Goole, a blockship, went out to tow her in. By then, the wind had increased to a gale and the Goole also got into difficulties. The lifeboat attempted to tow both ships, but the ropes parted. She had to go alongside six or seven times before taking off all twenty-one men including the lifeboat's own coxswain. She came back to harbour through heavy, breaking seas eleven hours after she had first gone out. The acting coxswain, James Upperton, in charge for the first time, earned a silver medal for gallantry and Henry Philcox, her motor mechanic, the bronze medal.
     
  3. kfz

    kfz Very Senior Member

    Boat Type: R.N.L.I. Lifeboat

    Boat Length: 45ft 6ins

    Boat Beam: 12ft 6ins

    Boat Draft: 4ft 6ins

    Boat Displacement: 25 tons

    Boat Engine: 2x Ford 4D 72hp Diesels

    Boat Construction: Carvel

    Boat Builder: J S White, Cowes IoW

    Boat Year: 1929

    [​IMG]

    Reportedly towed to Dunkirk by the tug Foremost 87 on 2nd June, 1940 along with Thomas Kirk Wright. This Newhaven lifeboat saved 51 soldiers at Dunkirk and has listed A/B W.J. Morris, Coxwain as part of the crew. The mission nearly ended in disaster when she was left high and dry for 4 hours before returning on 3rd June, arriving at Dover at 0845 hrs.

    Cecil & Lilian Philpott was in service at Newhaven from 1930 to 1959; apart from Dunkirk she was launched 159 times and saved 99 lives. In November 1940 she was rammed and nearly cut in half by HM trawler Avanturine, but she survived. Later she served in the RNLI's reserve fleet at various lifeboat stations around the coast increasing her score with a further 76 incidents, and saving 49 more lives.

    wow, what lovely boat. She looks a happy thing. A ketch is she?

    Kev
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Boat Type: R.N.L.I. Lifeboat

    Boat Length: 46ft 6ins

    Boat Beam: 12ft 9ins

    Boat Draft: 3ft 3ins

    Boat Displacement: 17 tons

    Boat Engine: White Petrol

    Boat Construction: Mahogany

    Boat Builder: J S White, Cowes, I o W

    Boat Year: 1925

    [​IMG]

    Mary Scott was launched in 1925 and was around half way through her predicted service in lifeboat terms, when she she was called upon to take part in Operation Dynamo. Mary Scott was towed to Dunkirk by the paddle steamer Emperor of India together with two other small boats which was part of a second batch of RNLI boats sent to France. Between them they took 160 men to their mother ship, the Empress of India which was mainly done by towing her whalers to and from the shore. When the Emperor of India sailed for England from Malo at 0238 hrs with 213 troops the Mary Scott made a journey with fifty men to another transport vessel.

    Whilst operating off the beaches her engine broke down and could not be restarted so Mary Scott was beached and abandoned at La Panne, east of Dunkirk. Sub-Lieutenant Stephen Dickenson, her Commander (a former RNLI Inspector of Lifeboats), together with her crew, came home to Dover in the Louise Stephens, the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston lifeboat.

    Mary Scott was later re-floated and brought back to Dover with French troops on 4th June,1940. During her last twenty-eight years in the service, she saved forty-seven lives. As the Southwold lifeboat, she was launched thirty more times before the station closed in 1940. She then continued to serve in fifty-two more rescues as part of the RNLI relief fleet.
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Boat Type: Sailing Barge

    Boat Length: 80ft

    Boat Beam: 20ft

    Boat Draft: 3ft

    Boat Displacement: 49 tons

    Boat Engine: Perkins 6354 Diesel

    Boat Construction: Oak on oak

    Boat Builder: Stones, Brightlingsea

    Boat Year: 1892

    [​IMG]

    At the begining of World War 2 Greta was chartered by the Ministry of Supply to carry ammunition from the army depot at Upnor near Rochester in Kent to naval vessels anchored in the Thames estuary. At that time seagoing ships picked up all other loads at London docks but the danger of a large explosion, especially in an air raid, made it far safer to trans-ship dangerous cargo outside the dock area, further down the river. Greta would come alongside ships where they lay at anchor allowing them to transfer her explosives down river.

    Sadly at this time next to no information is available regarding her role in Operation Dynamo.

    The Admiralty discharged her from war service in 1946.
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Boat Type: Motor Yacht

    Boat Length: 78ft

    Boat Beam: 15ft

    Boat Draft: 5ft 6ins

    Boat Displacement: 67 tons

    Boat Engine: 2x Gardner 4L3

    Boat Construction: Teak

    Boat Builder: Camper & Nicholson

    Boat Year: 1936

    [​IMG]

    Owned and commanded by Lieutenant C A Lundy RNVR, she left Hamble on 29th May 1940 with other craft (Ahola, Ankh, Caryandra, Eilla II, Lahloo, Noneta, Seriola and Thele) from the Portsmouth Inner Patrol Group for Dover. After reaching Dover she sailed for La Panne arriving at 0530 hrs on 31st May, 1940. At one time she was boarded by Commodore Stevenson from HMS Keith who took command of her and became his flagship.

    Lord Gort, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, was taken in the Bounty from the minesweeper Hebe to the destroyer HMS Keith.

    On the 31st May, 1940 Commander Stephenson onboard the Bounty off La Panne came alongside and boarded the minesweeper, Devonia at 1600 hrs and gave the order for her to be beached (For pictures and the Devonia's story click HERE)

    On 1st June between 0100hrs and 0830 hrs Bounty took around 1,000 men to destroyers before fouling one of her propellers while carrying 150 troops. Commander Stevenson and Lieutenant Lundy moved to the yacht Seriola which towed her back to Ramsgate.
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Boat Type: Motor Yacht

    Boat Length: 107ft

    Boat Beam: 20ft

    Boat Draft: 9ft 10ins

    Boat Displacement: 175 tons

    Boat Engine: 2 x Baudoin DP12 400hp Diesels

    Boat Construction: Steel

    Boat Builder: Goole Shipbuilding Co Ltd

    Boat Year: 1938

    [​IMG]

    Blue Bird II was the last of the three yachts owned by Sir Malcolm Campbell, holder of the world land and water speed records before the war. His previous two boats, also called Blue Bird, - as were his record breaking cars and power-boats - were the 29-tonner, now called CHICO and the 16-tonner Bluebird of Chelsea. All three went to Dunkirk in 1940.

    Although her participation at Dunkirk is recorded in A.D. Divine's book, no more details survive and it is though. Although she was tasked to take part in Operation Dynamo it is thought she did not sail to France. A Royal Navy telegraphist, has left an interesting first-hand account of some of her crew and her activities during World War 2. At that time, she was engaged in the H.M. Customs Examination Service with a complement of two RNR officers and 16 crew.

    It was spring 1941 and Blue Bird's Examination Station was west of the Bar Light Vessel, observing the approaches to the Mersey Main Channel off Liverpool. They spent three days at a time at sea, during which the Examination Officer, assisted by the deck crew, checked on all traffic into the port of Liverpool. There were frequent air raids on Liverpool docks and the Birkenhead shipyards. As soon as the alert was sounded, Blue Bird would cast off from the river pontoon and take up station in mid-stream to look out for enemy mines dropped from the air, and for ships approaching by sea. Once she narrowly missed being blown up by a bomb which, had it not failed to explode, would have blown her sky-high.

    In September 1941 Blue Bird was posted to Londonderry, N. Ireland to patrol the coast of Ulster and Eire to intercept 'neutral' cargo vessels and to identify coasters in the channel approaches. This left a fair time for fishing. Bob McKenzie, the coxswain, was a trawlerman in peacetime and many of the lower ranks had been fishermen too. They soon rigged up an improvised trawl, a longline with 100 hooks at a time and hand lines to catch mackerel - all of which provided useful income, or currency for barter with the good people of Eire, when they passed in and out of Lough Foyle. A break in their routine was provided by their periodic visits to Belfast Lough for 'de-gaussing' - a process for making the ship less susceptible to magnetic mines.

    After the war, Blue Bird was de-commissioned from the Royal Navy and returned to Sir Malcolm Campbell. In 1948 he died and five years later, Blue Bird was sold to Jean Louis Renault, the French car maker.
     
    sol likes this.
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Boat Type: Motor Yacht

    Boat Length: 30ft

    Boat Beam: 8ft 11ins

    Boat Draft: 3ft 3ins

    Boat Displacement: Not Known

    Boat Engine: 2 x Ailsa Craig Petrol/Paraffin

    Boat Construction: Carvel, pine on oak

    Boat Builder: Frank Curtis, Cornwall

    Boat Year: 1925

    [​IMG]

    At the time of Dunkirk, the Anne belonged to Mr. P.J. Darby and before the war end belonged to a Dr. McCracken. As in so many histories of Dunkirk Little Ships, her precise war-time service has not been recorded, but her name appears in all the official records.

    Seen here arriving at Dunkirk she required a little help to get into the harbour.
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Anne was the last of the 'Little Ships' to come into the harbour during the ceromony. I beleive some ships had already arrived and did not take part in the actual ceromony.

    If anyone has any further information or wartime pictures of the boats featured feel free to contact me and I will update the appropriate post with credit.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  10. JackW

    JackW Member

    Thanks for posting the 'Little Ships' Andy.
    I was watching the commings and goings of these boats at Ramsgate during 70th celebrations and photographed most of them.

    I have updated the Little ships: Dan Snow BBC2 thread regarding 'Sundowner'

    Jack.
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Someone asked me quite a while ago how long it took to cross the Channel from Dunkirk and for the life of me I can't find the thread now so I thought I'd add it here for the time being.

    I read a short mention taken from the Tug Sun IV's Log that she took 8 hrs to cross the Channel during Op Dynamo. I don't know what crossing that was but I suspect it may have been Route Y.
     

Share This Page