THAMES BOATS RETURN TO DUNKIRK
 

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Boats from along the Thames were among over nearly 60 Little Ships returning to Dunkirk to mark the 75th anniversary of the allied evacuation.

Many gathered at Teddington last week (May 15th) and at the Royal Docks over the following days before joining others from around the country at Ramsgate before crossing the Channel.

The London fireboat Massey Shaw joined the cross-Channel flotilla for the first time since 2000. She has been restored by volunteers as previously reported by River Thames News.

The paddle steamer Medway Queen, once a familiar sight on the Thames,   joined the others at Ramsgate following extensive restoration work by volunteers and a major hull overhaul at a shipyard in Bristol. The ship is unable to make the Channel crossing. See more about the Medway Queen HERE.


Aureol (left) and Janthea

Other Thames boats joining the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships commemorative voyage include Aureol (above), Bluebird of Chelsea, Papillion, Gentle Ladye, Hilfranor, Lady Gay, L’Orage (Kingston-built and once owned by Association of Dunkirk Little Ships founder Raymond Baxter) , Tom Tit, Thamesa, Mimosa, Silver Queen, Gay Venture, and Janthea(above right).

Among others with Thames connections are three boats built by Salter Brothers of Oxford – Wayfarer, Endeavour, which has been  restored on the Medway , and Kingwood, which was restored after a fire on board at Eel Pie Island in the 1970s.

New Britannic was built by the Frank Maynard boatyard at Chiswick; Lady Isabelle and Ryegate II were constructed by Gibbs of Teddington; Moonraker by Burgoine at Kingston; Nyula at Walton Yacht and Launch Works, Shepperton; Tahilla was from the Thornycroft yard at Hampton; tThe Thames barge Pudge will also sail with the fleet.

In 1940 Toughs Boatyard at Teddington was the assembly point for boats from along the river before sailing for France.

The timetable for events on both sides of the English Channel is:

15th May – Thames-based Little Ships will begin to gather at Teddington on the Friday afternoon.
16th May – Little ships depart Teddington downstream around noon. By approx. 1700 they arrive at the
Royal Docks in East London and take part in the Museums at Night Event
17th May – The Little Ships will be on public display in the Royal Docks.
18th May – Most Little Ships depart Royal Docks for Queenborough. Other Little Ships may begin to arrive in Ramsgate.
19th May – Bulk of Little Ships fleet arrives at Ramsgate.
20th May – Shore events arranged by Ramsgate Council. Little Ships on Display.
21st May – Subject to weather, Little Ships depart Ramsgate approx 0800 escorted by Royal Navy
warships with air support provided by the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight approx. 0900.
Expect Dunkirk approx. 1700 local
22nd May – Back up departure day. Ceremonies in Dunkirk.
24th May – ADLS Memorial Service alongside ships in Basin de Commerce 1130 local time.
25th May – Depart Dunkirk for Ramsgate approx 0600.

Link to the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships website HERE.
Link to details of Little Ships at Royal Docks HERE
Link to Ramsgate's Operation Dynamo 75th anniversary HERE
Link to Museums at Night event HERE.
Link to Dunkirk tourism website HERE.

Story updated May 19th 2015.