70th Anniversary - Return of Little Ships to Dunkirk 2010 - Paul Gilson

Part 1 – Voyage from Leigh-on-Sea to Ramsgate

This trip was the big one. The media had been hyping this up for weeks. This was the 70th anniversary of "Operation Dynamo – The Miracle of Dunkirk" when the "Dunkirk Little Ships" return to France to commemorate the troops rescued from the beaches.

We are more used to the Endeavour now. She is a good sea boat but she is very wet. There is nowhere to hide, you are part of the boat and you have to take it on the chin.

For this trip my crew had some changes. I still had Peter Dolby and Finlay Marshall but I also had two of the Osborne family, Graham and Trevor.

Their family had owned the Renown and a relation had been lost when she hit a mine while under tow in 1940. Finally, Cameron McGregor, alias Jimbo, a fine figure of a man, our translator and speaker of many tongues, some of which other people could understand, especially the French and Germans. Jimbo and I had played rugby together for many years. I was loose head prop and he was my second row. We knew each other intimately he would say.

The format was the same as five years earlier. We could leave Leigh on Tuesday or have the fall back day as Wednesday for our outward bound trip to Ramsgate. I had been watching the changing weather forecasts for over a week and it had not changed much.

Fresh to strong easterly for Tuesday, freshening throughout the day and very fresh on Wednesday.

I was not looking forward to this at all. We had put some gear on board on Monday evening so we only had to put on board water to drink, food and the bags of clothes that we had to wear.

 When I put my blazer on board I made every effort to hang it up so it would not be creased at the many of the functions that we would be attending. As others put their gear on board, they followed suit and hung their best clothes in the same place as mine. The other cases were placed in the hold and covered with a large canvas to keep them dry.

The hatches were placed and covered with a canvas cover; she should then be water tight. This was going to be very wet. "Everyone must put on their life jacket and full wet weather gear. It is not quite as windy as last time, but we will be straight into it - it would have been ok but someone forgot to put on a wheelhouse!" I was desperate to get going.

(To Be Continued)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your message. I'm afraid that to prevent spam, all comments are moderated but we will aim to approve it quicker than it takes to redo Endeavour's anti-fouling...