Endeavour Christmas 2019 Merchandise

Hello Trust supporters – have you considered Endeavour Merchandise for your Christmas presents?

All cards £3 for 10 (a selection of 4 types of cards.  All cards contain lovely photos of Endeavour and some of her history on the rear).












Endeavour bag for life - £5













Mugs - £5

Leigh-on-Sea Tea Towel - £3

Endeavour engraved pens - £2

Endeavour keyrings – mixed photo - £2

Endeavour Colouring book (very limited availability now) £4.





Canvas prints –
(Small) 10cms square - £10
(Med) 20 cms square - £11
(Large) 20cms x 30 cms - £12












All the above will be delivered, with a smile, free of charge in the Leigh-on-Sea or the neighbouring area.
Postage is available – depending on delivery address - please contact Rob Everitt to order or to enquire further.

Prices correct at the time of posting, but please be aware that they may change after Christmas 2019 - ask Rob for details!

Welcome to the Winter Newsletter

This edition contains a lengthy report on Endeavour's trip to  Antwerp, the discovery of rot in her transom, AGM news and details of one of Endeavour's Dunkirk movie co-stars!

Please drop us a line if you have any comments, or visit us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourTrustLeigh/

It's a Long Way to Antwerp in a Cockle Boat - by Paul Gilson

Above: Endeavour in the procession up the Scheldt in Antwerp during the liberation celebrations. Photo credit: Oostende Voor Anker


Endeavour set another record when she went to Antwerp in Belgium to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the city's liberation from German occupation by Canadian forces. The voyage amounted to over 400 miles!  

Endeavour and five other little ships also accepted the invitation to join in. The following is based on the Endeavour’s log book entries by her captain, Paul Gilson.

The plan was simple, gather at Ramsgate and cross to Nieuwpoort, Belgium. Well three of us did, Mimosa, Mary Scott and Endeavour. Tom Tit, Elvin and Hilfranor would be catching us up.

The Boat has Rot!


Endeavour will not be on view in Leigh for three months while she undergoes repairs to her decks and hull in St Osyth.

Rot was discovered during an inspection by shipwright, Brian Kennell, the man who rebuilt her in 2004. We had already decided to work on the deck to trace leaks. An initial view was that the caulking on the seams needed replacing, a job which would take time and labour.

AGM News

The Leigh-on-Sea Endeavour Trust’s Annual General Meeting has much to discuss this year.

Endeavour will be going to Dunkirk with the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, but, only once urgent repairs are completed.

Hollywood Star Falls On Hard Times

Above is a photograph of the Revlis, whom you might recognise as Moonstone, the boat Mark Rylance’s character takes across the Channel in Christopher Nolan’s 2017 film Dunkirk, in which Endeavour also had a role.

Welcome to our Summer Newsletter

This edition contains news of Endeavour's trips to take part in the D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth, her trip to Antwerp, and the announcement of the Summer Reception.
All this and a round up of other news, including the annual subscription reminder!

Please drop us a line if you have any comments, or visit us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourTrustLeigh/

The Longest Day 2019

Photo: Mark Rutley (www.markrutleyphotography.co.uk)
 160 miles in 22 hours!

In May Endeavour set a new record for a voyage traveling from Leigh to Portsmouth in just over 23 hours for the 160 mile trip to be part of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings commemoration.

We believe that the crew aboard for the epic journey were the oldest – so far! For the return trip the crew was Andy Wood, Paul Gilson and Chris Bailey, our three main skippers. For Chris it was his last aboard the boat.

Dunkirk Little Ships had been invited to escort veterans into the Solent on their way to Normandy. The boats were also the first non-naval vessels to moor in Portsmouth's brand new Historic Dockyard. With a series of events in the Solent up until June 6 it was clear more than one crew would be needed.

The Mayor Looks In

Southend Mayor, Councillor John Lamb, with his wife, Pat, the lady Mayoress dropped in on Endeavour's stall at the Leigh Community Event at Bonchurch Park on June 9th.

They are pictured with Paul Gilson and Andy Wood. The free event was organised by Leigh Town Council to promote community groups and local charities, more than 30 of which took part.

Regatta Time!


Endeavour will be on show at Leigh Regatta on Sunday, September 15 and members of the crew will be manning our stall on Bell Wharf as usual. This event, which was once organised by local scout groups is being sponsored by Leigh Lions Club.

The Regatta is one of the most popular events in the Old Town raising money for local charities and scout groups. Musically there will be performances by the Hoy Shantymen at Bell Wharf on board the boat as well as giving members the chance to look the boat over before she goes off to Maldon for repairs in October.

Antwerp Through the Canals


At the time of writing Endeavour is on her way to Antwerp in Belgium along with a fleet of Dunkirk little ships. Paul Gilson was in command with Alan Bartram and new member Andrew Sales as crew.

The boat was heading for Ramsgate before sailing in convoy to Nieuwpoort.

The Winter Warmer

We shall be holding our annual dinner on Thursday November 21st at the Estuary Club, London Road, Leigh (map).

Endeavour will be undergoing repairs in Maldon over the winter to make her perfect for her return to Dunkirk next year so come and hear our plans for the future as we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the "great escape" from France.

The dinner is an opportunity to escape the winter gloom, stock up on Christmas cards and gifts and perhaps win something nice in our raffle. Tickets cost £25 per person and we shall be offering a three course meal. The Estuary Club has an excellent selection of wine and beers available.

A form for tickets and your orders can be downloaded here.

If you have a raffle prize you would like to donate please contact Finlay Marshall on 01702 712308.

Newsletter Online

Many Trust members use computers in their daily lives and we want to access them with the Newsletter.

Chris Burls, our Membership Secretary has been trying to get email addresses for as many people as possible. Emailing the newsletter saves on printing and postage costs; the more members getting their copy that way means we can use the money saved to pay for repairs.

You can email Chris your details by clicking here.

Members Cruise

Back in June Endeavour sailed with members and three young artists having their first trip. As well as the crew of Paul, John Cotteridge and Danny Westlake we had 10 folks on board for the trip.

Among those having their first experience on Endeavour were three pupils from Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Elizabeth Greer, Helayna Stimpson-Cook and Layla Sato-Cubbon. The girls came top in a drawing competition following a talk at the school by Finlay Marshall.

The cruise took the party along the foreshore, up the pier, then over to Kent and back to Bell Wharf.

The weather was kind with a calm sea although a few splashes got aboard.

September Means Subscriptions

We have a new Treasurer in Rob Everitt who, like all treasurers, wants money. As the sailing season draws to a close it is also time to renew subscriptions.

Many of you pay annually via Standing Order. May we remind you that fees increased but some have not altered their SO to take them into account. Please amend them appropriately. Thank you!

The annual costs are:

Individual - £17.50
Family - £25
Senior Citizen & Under 18s - £12.50
Life membership - £175

If you are not currently a member but would like to join, please download the membership form here and return it to us!

Endeavour at Rest

Photograph by Martin Heyhurst

Chris Bailey RIP




We are shocked and saddened to have to report the unexpected death of the Endeavour Trust's treasurer, Chris Bailey, seen below just weeks ago steering Endeavour home from the D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth. A great friend to the Trust, an able seaman and liked and respected by everyone he met, Chris's passing will leave a gaping hole in the lives of all that knew him. Today, Endeavour's flag is at half mast as a mark of respect.

UPDATED: Details for Chris's memorial service are below.

Members' Cruises

Members have been asking whether they can experience Endeavour on the water so, this summer, the Trust plans to run a small number of ‘Members' Cruises’.

The first (weather permitting, of course) will be on Saturday June 15th, and the second will be on June 29th or 30th (tbc). We hope to arrange a couple more trips later in the summer, depending how these first two go!

The idea is to give members an “Endeavour Experience”. You’ll be sitting safely in the hold, and we anticipate being able to run two short cruises on June 15th - one before lunch and one after - of approximately an hour each. We’ll run out from Leigh and back again.

In the first instance, members interested in a place, should drop an email to Rob Everitt and we will respond promptly - maximum two places per member. Places will be assigned on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, and are limited in number, and only available to members, so please indicate your interest ASAP!

Welcome to our Late Spring Newsletter

This edition contains news of Endeavour's return to the water, the emergence of old footage of Endeavour in the 1970 trawler races, a report on her sister ship Letitia, and the announcement of the Summer Reception.

Please drop us a line if you have any comments, or visit us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourTrustLeigh/

Ready for Sea Again!

Endeavour returned to her mooring in time to make the trip to Portsmouth for the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings. Her stay in Thames Marina involved quite a bit of work. First of all, inspection of the engine including starter motor and injectors being serviced was carried out by Andy Wood and marine engineer Neil Roulston from Maidstone, Kent who kindly donated his time and labour for which we owe thanks.

Peter Goes Trawler Racing

Back in 1970, when Peter Wexham and Dave Spurgeon owned Endeavour, they entered the local trawler race competing against boats from as far away as Rye to the south and Harwich from the north as well as other ports in between.

Back to Skool

Various members of the Management Committee have been busy giving talks to clubs and schools around the borough. The Trust has an obligation to explain Endeavour's place in history.

Our treasurer, Chris Bailey, has spoken to Rotary Club members and Finlay Marshall has been to two primary schools this year and we hope to visit others during the year. Students at Our Lady of Lourdes were doing an art project and the top three will sail aboard Endeavour during the summer.

Community Day in Bonchurch Park

The Trust will be taking part in Community Day at Bonchurch Park on Saturday, June 9th. The free event is organised by Leigh Town Council to promote community groups and local charities.

There will be over 30 stalls apart from us including, Leigh Lions, Royal British Legion, the RNLI and Essex County Fire and Rescue Services. To entertain the crowd will be Broadway Belles, Talking Tots, Leigh Starlite Majorettes, Leigh on Sea Theatre train and the Feel Good Choir.

The fun starts at 1pm until 4pm. The Endeavour gazebo will be on site containing our latest merchandise and invitations to join the Trust and take part in preserving an important part of the town's history.

A Proud Leigh Man

An early supporter of Endeavour when she returned to Leigh was David Johnson who had the task of auditing our accounts each year. He died in April.

David grew up in the Old Town when his father took over the former Sutton and Wiggins boatyard. They had moved to Wakering where it is now Sutton's Boatyard. In Leigh, Johnson Sons and Jago was formed with Len Johnson working the yard after Mr Jago was drowned. David learned about boats and took a particular interest in engineering.

Down by the Riverside - Summer Reception Announced

Endeavour will be on show in the Old Town when our summer reception is being held at Osborne's Cockle Shed on Thursday, June 27th when members and friends get together to hear the latest on our cruise to the Solent.

The Hoy Shantymen will be on hand to entertain us while we enjoy fish and chips, beer from the Leigh Brewery and ice cream. Needless to say we shall be holding a raffle during the evening. If anyone is able to donate prizes for the raffle, please contact Chris Bailey or Finlay Marshall.

As mentioned elsewhere we need to have a lot of work done on the boat next winter and your participation in the evening helps defray costs.

A booking form is downloadable from here.

Tickets for this year's event are £16 per person.


Letitia Comes Back to Home Waters


After some years in Lowestoft, the only other Leigh Dunkirk boat is heading to Rochester having been bought by Donald and Linda Spence. The couple, who have been crewing aboard other ADLS boats for some time brought her to St Katherine's Dock, London to join others in the fleet.

Through a Fog Darkly

Going to sea in fog is not the ideal way to earn a living, but in post-war Britain times were tough. Rationing was still in force until the '50s, wages were low and Endeavour and the rest of Leigh's boats had to go to sea. Joe Deal was skipper then and his crew included the late George Cocks whose reminiscences we have touched on in the past, and who wrote the following account: ‘One morning it was very cold, dark and foggy when Bill and I went down to the boat. Other fishermen were moaning about the horrible weather with quite few wanting to go back home. Dawn was trying to cut through the fog and I said to Bill, "Are we going out?" He replied, "We shall go when the trees come clear on Two Tree Island.”’

Dunkirk Memorial Service at St Clements



St Clements Church is holding a memorial service to remember and commemorate the fisherman of Leigh who went to Dunkirk on June 1st 1940 to help rescue the British forces trapped there. 

Prayers will be said for the crew of Renown, Frank Osborne, Harry Osborne, Harry Noakes and Harold Graham Porter who gave their lives in the service of their countrymen.

The simple service will be a mixture of remembrance, music, readings and prayer, including two minutes silence and a recitation of The Losing of the Renown.

A chance to remember, with thanks, the role of Leigh in the history of this nation.

All are welcome.

Welcome to our Spring Newsletter

This edition contains news of a number of high profile trips for Endeavour, a request for your email addresses, a report on our annual dinner, sad news of the death of supporter Alfred Smith and some memories of fishing in Southend in the 1940s.
Please drop us a line if you have any comments, or visit us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourTrustLeigh/

Historic Voyages Home and Abroad

"This could be Endeavour's busiest year and the most ambitious," Paul Gilson told members of the management committee at their January meeting as he outlined plans to take the boat where she has never been before.

In June of this year it will be the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of France which led to the end of World War II. The Dunkirk Little Ships have been invited to be escort two ships in the Solent as they leave Portsmouth for Normandy.

Later this year the boats have been asked to be part of the Belgian port of Antwerp's events to remember the town's liberation. Antwerp had been by-passed by the Allies as they pushed the German army back to the Rhine. It took until September 1944 to liberate the citizens.

Endeavour hopes to take part in both events which will be exciting first voyages for boat and crew. Paul explained: "These trips will take some organisation. They are long voyages involving sailing in waters we are not familiar with. We may have to split crews in order for everyone who wants to take part to be part of historic events."

Provisionally, the plan is for Endeavour to rendezvous with the ADLS boats at Ramsgate on May 27th. The fleet would then sail in convoy to either Eastbourne or Brighton and thence to Portsmouth with the chance to visit Itchenor, Beaulieu River and historic Buckler's Hard.

The boats will moor in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Navy facilities with the chance to visit HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum. Crews and skippers will attend a reception aboard Victory on Saturday 2nd June. On June 2nd the boats will escort a commercial ferry with D-Day veterans heading to France leaving them at Nab Tower. The ADLS boats will then head to Cowes where they will sail past the Royal Yacht Squadron before mooring in their harbour. Ships will host RYS members aboard their boats.

The following day they will be guests of the RYS at a lunch and the next day will depart for home.

The Antwerp trip departs from Ramsgate on September 1 for Nieuport, Belgium and the next day will head through the canals to the beautiful city of Bruges. Boats will then proceed to Ghent and by September 5th or 6th will moor in Antwerp's Willemdock. On September 7th the boats will join a parade on the River Scheldt. It is possible the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will take part.

Thames Trips

Slightly less arduous are the now regular trips up the Thames for the Knights of Windsor picnic (see photo right, taken at last year's event) held in the Queen's backyard and the annual Veterans' Cruise to Thames Motor Yacht Club on Sept 14-15th.

The dates for the Windsor trip are yet to be confirmed but last year Endeavour's voyage was eventful in the searing heat. But, it is a real privilege to meet the knights and their families and the sight of a cockle boat that far upriver occasions ribald comments from walkers on shore.

Skipper Gilson sometimes likes to leave for this trip in the middle of the night in order to make Staines and our hotel! The return trip also involves lack of sleep but seeing London at dawn is an experience.

The voyage to Hampton Court is equally fun. On the 14th the little ships embark veterans of modern conflicts from Malaya to Cyprus, Korea, the Falklands and Northern Ireland. On the Sunday, surviving World War II servicemen and women come aboard.

Our treasurer, Chris Bailey is arranging for Bank of England Sailing Club members to take the boat under sail to Whitstable and back during the summer. These former colleagues of Chris are younger and fitter than Endeavour's crew and more used to handling sails. This trip will be on a Ray Day with the boat departing in the morning and returning in the evening.

There will be room for a few members to join them. If you would be interested in joining any of the cruises, be advised, we can only let two people sleep aboard. This means we either book into B 'n' Bs or hotels. Sometimes there is room on the posh boats to put up crew. This usually involves buying lots of wine, beer or dinner...

If you think you can stand it, call Membership Secretary Chris Burls on 01702 553274 or email him.

A Cry for Help

Please help us contact you more easily! Membership Secretary Chris Burls is keen to record members' emails and phone numbers in the Trust's secure database.

This will allow communication with members to be made more immediately and economically. Newsletters will still be sent out by surface mail, unless electronic receipt is specifically requested. Members with email are therefore requested to send their contact details, if not already held. Members without email will be contacted as before.

Our Friend Alfred

Dunkirk veteran Alfred Smith who had been an honoured guest at Endeavour functions died aged 99 last November. The Shoebury-based old soldier's face could be seen on billboards and buses throughout the town as part of a Remembrance campaign. He also appeared on Countryfile standing
alongside Endeavour.

He was a guest at the premiere of Christopher Nolan's film, Dunkirk where he met actor Mark
Rylance, and told the star his experiences. He also met Prince Harry at Kensington Palace ahead of the premiere where he was cheered as he marched down the red carpet.

As well as being rescued from Dunkirk in 1940 Alfred also took part in the Normandy landings
in 1944. He served with the Royal Army Service Corps. At Dunkirk he spent two days on the beach without food or water. His unit was constantly shelled and bombed. He was one of only 31 survivors out of 107 men.

Alfred waded into the Channel and managed to reach a paddle steamer. Once aboard he collapsed from hunger and only woke when the ship docked in Harwich. He went on to take part in the Normandy landings in 1944. In 2015 the French government award him the Legion of Honour, the country's top accolade for those who served with valour.

After the war Alfred was a driving instructor and a top ballroom dancer who appeared on TV.

Alfred was an honoured guest at Endeavour functions and with the late David Wightman enjoyed a trip aboard the boat.

A Successful Dinner

Local author Dick Durham proved a hit at our annual dinner held the Chalkwell Park Rooms. His
theme was based around the Forts and creeks of the Thames, all places he has sailed around for over 50 years.

Dick has sailed as mate for the legendary bargee, Bob Roberts, aboard Cambria. Dick was aboard when Cambria delivered her last cargo into Felixstowe. Since those days he has owned a series of boats, and made epic voyages.

He spent more than 20 years as a reporter on the red-tops and recalls a career that was often exciting and sometimes surreal. He covered the Seoul Olympics, the first Gulf War, and the King's Cross fire as well as royal stories. He covered crime including the Rettendon Murders.

When he started in Fleet Street he was earning as much as a judge, after he was made redundant he was offered a job as a care assistant, although only if he was prepared to get some training. Instead, he got a job with Yachting Monthly, of which he is now Editor at Large. He also wrote a series of books and last February published a thriller, A Tide for Drowning.

Currently he owns Betty II, a pretty yacht built in 1921 in Leigh by Cole and Wiggins which is also the firm who built Endeavour. Betty II was one of the boats surveying rivers and estuaries for the
invaluable sailors' guide, East Coast Rivers.

Memories from the 1940s

The Trust's Facebook page produces some interesting reactions from followers.

One, Julian Wilson, sent us the picture above of Valerie, a 48ft bawley alongside No 1 jetty opposite the Hope Hotel in Southend just after World War 11. His family owned four bawleys moored east
of the pier and also had two pleasure boats on the Marine Parade pitches. These were New Prince of Wales 1 and New Princess Maud and Mr Wilson recalls Endeavour in Leigh Creek. I remember her just after the war when Dad had reason to come up to our boats on winter lay-ups in the mud berths beyond Johnson and Jago's yard.” He also remembered weekends afloat with 3rd Chalkwell Bay Sea Scouts.

After the war Valerie was fitted out for spratting. Mr Wilson remembers secondhand gear coming from Maldon to re-rig her sails and take part in the first post war Fishermen's Regatta. LO 180 was the company apprentice’s boat. The Ministry and Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Transport gave grants to owners who took on apprentices to train as seamen. Mr Wilson was aboard and trained by Sidney Cotgrove who was lured from semi-retirement for the job and the boss's son duly became skipper. At one time Valerie held the record for the highest tonnage of sprats caught in a weekend trip.

Mr Wilson's father and his partner Albert Brand had bought a LCT - a Landing Craft (Tank) vessel - which they used as a mothership for the firm's four bawleys and smacks. Mr Wilson said: “We’d shoot our nets, recover them when the cod-end came to the surface, call up the LCT on the e-army sets Dad had fitted on the boats.

The LCT would come alongside and we'd swing the cod-end across into her tank deck, release the haul there before going back to shoot the trawl again.” When fishing stopped the LCT went up river to Billingsgate Fish Market where Mr Wilson senior had pre-sold the fish. Later the boats went white weeding which was big earner for boats when fish were scarce.

Sadly Valerie became 'nail sick' and needed complete re-caulking. Repairs carried out during the war had been hastily carried out using available material. Local competition was tough and contracts
from canneries were running out and sprats had stopped shoaling off the Estuary. Valerie was sold to Norfolk for conversion to a yacht. It is not known if she survives.

Mr Wilson has also written a downloadable document about the experiences of the Southend fishing boats that went to Dunkirk, including Endeavour.

Contact website@endeavourtrust.co.uk and we’ll pass your request on.

Endeavour Comes Ashore



Endeavour has left the water in order to undertake the annual checks and maintenance on her hull. You can see her in the cradle that lifts her from the water, then at rest on the hard.