Dunkirk Memorial Service, 01/06/21

A memorial service to commemorate 81 years since the Dunkirk evacuations and the loss of the Renown will be held at The Carvery, St Clements Church, Leigh-on-Sea, at 1pm on Tuesday 1st June.

An order of service can be downloaded here.

Finlay Marshall RIP

The Trust is sorry to have to announce the death of Finlay Marshall.

Finlay first became involved with Endeavour following the public meeting that was held in 2002 when the Endeavour Trust was initially established.

During his long association with Endeavour, Finlay was involved with the restoration of the boat, learning many new skills. He became a regular crew member, and was on the boat when it returned to Dunkirk in 2005, describing it as "one of the best sails I’ve had in my life."

He went on to become a respected Committee member and a Trustee. He turned his hand to whatever was needed on the boat, and had helped to paint her from top to bottom numerous times.

Finlay was one of the crew members on Endeavour when she appeared in Christopher Nolan's 2017 film Dunkirk.

Finlay used his long career in the press to manage all the news information for the Endeavour Trust Newsletter, and he would constantly badger folks for 'copy'. He was a great storyteller, and had countless local children enthralled with his many school presentations on the history of Endeavour, which he loved doing. He even met, and was interviewed by Pudsey Bear for Children in Need.

Together with Endeavour, Finlay proudly became involved with the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, and regularly attended reunions with the boat, and where he was much respected. He felt honoured to help veterans onto the boat, and he was proud to be involved in the D-Day celebrations on Endeavour in Portsmouth in 2019.

David Norman MBE, Chairman of the Endeavour Committee, described Finlay as "an absolute stalwart of the Endeavour project from the outset. He turned his hand to anything, from crewing our boat on the Dunkirk run to preparing press releases and organising events. He was also a good-humoured participant in our Committee meetings and brought considerable expertise to our proceedings."

He will be sorely missed by his colleagues and friends at the Endeavour Trust. As fellow trustee Mike King put it, he was "Mr Dependable. He was always there." He was a lovely man.

We send our condolences to Linda and family for their sad loss at this time. They will be in our thoughts, as will Finlay.

Endeavour Information Board

The Trust's Rob Everitt is currently hard at work renovating the Endeavour information board from near the Peter Boat in Old Leigh.

The board has been in place since 2010, when it was unveiled by then Major of Southend, Ann Holland, but is now showing considerable wear and tear from being in such an exposed position.
Rob is having to employ a fair amount of elbow grease to get rid of the rust.

We're also going to take the opportunity to revamp the information on the board with some updated text and photos, so watch this space!

Welcome to the Spring 2021 Newsletter

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, it will come as little surprise to discover that our first newsletter of the year is history-based. We are delighted to be able to present an extract from a long out-of-print account of the Leigh boats at Dunkirk from a book entitled The Sands of Dunkirk by Richard Collier.

We have a piece about the extraordinary man that led the Leigh ships to Dunkirk, Sub. Lt. Martin Solomon. We're sure you will be as fascinated as we were when researching the article.

We're also putting out a call for anyone that can help us with information about the Leigh men that went to Dunkirk.

We are also asking for anyone that wants to crew Endeavour (once it is safe to do so again, of course) to get in touch.

Please drop us a line if you have any comments, or visit us on our Facebook page

The Sands of Dunkirk

Photo Montage by Fraser Marshall

In 1961, journalist, military historian and novelist Richard Collier published a book entitled The Sands of Dunkirk about the 1940 evacuation, a copy of which has recently found its way into the hands of the Trust.

The book used personal recollections and wove them together to tell the story from the first-person perspectives of those that were there. Long out-of-print, the book provides an interesting insight into what it was actually like for those involved.

In the book there is a section, slightly under a page in length, that talks about the Leigh boats. The first part is about an incident that occurred when Endeavour arrived at Dunkirk and encountered heavy shelling. The later part gives harrowing detail about the loss of the Renown.

Sub. Lt .Martin Solomon, Commander of the Leigh Boats at Dunkirk

A rare photograph of
Martin Solomon

This is a slightly expanded version of the article that appeared in the newsletter, due to the greater amount of space we have available.

Sub. Lt. Martin Solomon was the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve commander in charge of the Leigh boats at Dunkirk.

Martin Herbert Bernard Solomon was born in Kensington, London, in October 1915. His father was a prominent British Zionist who, after the war until his death in 1948, advised the British authorities in respect of Jews in the British area of Germany.

Solomon was educated at Rugby and Christ's College, Cambridge, and became a theatrical manager and producer in London, working on shows at venues including the Savoy and Kingsway Theatres. One show for which Solomon was producer was 1937's Flying Blind at the Arts Theatre, Westminster. The lead was James Mason, just as his ascent to Hollywood stardom was beginning, opposite the actress who would become his first wife, Pamela Kellino. He would also manage the rising stars John Mills and Leigh-on-Sea-born Michael Wilding.

ADLS Dunkirk Return Postponed

It will be disappointing but not surprising to members to hear that the situation with COVID-19 has resulted in the already-postponed 2020 Association of Dunkirk Little Ships’ Commemorative Return to Dunkirk, due to take place in the spring, has been postponed until 2025.

This is extremely sad but entirely necessary and we look forward to being there when it happens.

Fancy Crewing for Endeavour?

It was an objective for last year that we would take Endeavour out under sail. The virus put paid to that, but we would love to see her sailing again as soon as possible.

We’d love to do more trips and outings —  whether under sail or on motor — giving more people the opportunity to enjoy Endeavour, but to do this, we need more volunteers.

If you’re an enthusiastic weekend sailor, you’re exactly who we’d like to hear from! Training can be provided. Get in touch and as soon as we can, we’ll have you out on the water with us sharing Endeavour with the world again.

We also need people to help with maintenance and fundraising. Any time you can spare can be put to good use.

Please send an email to rob@endeavourtrust.co.uk for more information, and thank you to those that have already contacted us via the printed/emailed newsletter!

Thank You!

The Trust would like to thank Valerie Grover for the generous donation of £500 on behalf of her late husband John.

We would also like to thank John Hill and Pam Blakeby; not only does John loan his garage for Endeavour storage, but they donate to the Trust each year!

COVID-19 not only impacted our ability to get out on the water with Endeavour, but also had a big impact on our ability to raise funds in a year when significant and expensive work was required to maintain her.

Any donations are gratefully received and help keep Endeavour sailing. For donation info visit endeavourtrust.blogspot.com/p/donate.html

Who Were the Leigh Men at Dunkirk?

 In this edition of the newsletter, we have presented a long out-of-print account of the Leigh boats at Dunkirk and a short biography of their commanding officer.

We would like to have just as much information on the men who crewed the Leigh boats at Dunkirk.

If Endeavour means anything, she represents not just a wooden vessel that went to Dunkirk, but all of the men of the town who risked their lives to save others in Britain’s darkest hour, and she is also a focus to help us think about the fishing industry over the years and what it means to our town. It is vital that we preserve the connection between her and the town so that she continues to be important for future generations.