The Flood and the Snow

There has been much television and newspaper coverage of the floods, 60 years ago, that affected much of the Essex coast including, of course, Canvey Island.

David Johnson recalls his father telling him of the telephone call he received late that evening from the police warning him of the very high tide expected that night. He went to Johnson & Jago's yard to see the railway line at Leigh Station under water. The water was rising in the boatsheds and was in danger of lifting the boats off their cradles and in the smaller shed through the roof. It was decided to drill holes in the hull of the wooden boats to allow them to fill with water and hence remain on their cradles.

Michael Dolby remembers being one of many from Leigh who launched their dinghies to help evacuate Canvey residents.

What has not featured so much in the news is the snow that fell 50 years ago on Boxing Day 1962 with the freezing conditions remaining for many weeks. It was so cold that the sea froze!

Wiggins Family

Now living in Blackheath, Chris is to be seen
proudly wearing an Endeavour T shirt.
One of the enjoyable consequences of our restoration of Endeavour is how people with connections to the boat have contacted us. Recently a family of Walkdens visited Mike King, and a new family tree was opened up.

Before the Johnson & Jago partnership carried out boat building in Leigh, our Endeavour was built by the predecessors Cole & Wiggins and Chris Walkden, pictured, is the granddaughter of Charles Wiggins. Soon after building Endeavour, the Wiggins' moved to Great Wakering, and some of his family worked at what is now Suttons boatyard.

Chris's uncle, Joe, formed a partnership with Suttons as well as operating a trawler which was part of the white weed industry after the war.

Endeavour is Historic!

We always realised that, but now she has been officially recognised as such. The National Historic Ships UK is a body set up by the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport to maintain a register of ships that meet a rigorous check that they demonstrate a particular type of craft or have other historic connections.

A letter from them on January 15th stated that "Endeavour is a vessel that merits inclusion in the register" and wishes us every success.

The defaced red ensign
There is no financial assistance available, but we are on a list available to film or TV companies that may need to hire authentic vessels. We are able to fly a special defaced* red ensign to signify our status. Two other local craft on the list are the barge Tollesbury and the paddle steamer Medway Queen

* Defacement is a term used in heraldry and vexillology to refer to the addition of a symbol or charge to another flag

Educational Programme

Peter shares a 'yoke' with an enthusiastic pupil at Chase.
Our educational programme which had so far involved Primary and Junior school children has now evolved to include Secondary schools with Peter Dolby's visit to Chase High in Westcliff.

The PowerPoint presentation has been refined to engage children of an older age with links to British Pathe newsreels of Leigh cockling and the Dunkirk evacuation added. The pupils were years 9 and 10 (13 to 14 years) but included a six former, Alex Brice, who is very interested in local history.

Alex asked whether we knew of a veteran of the evacuation she could talk to. We are most grateful to Frank Grove, an Honorary Life Member of the Trust, for allowing Peter, Alex and Chase's Head of History, Victoria Lang to visit him at home. You can read her report here.

The Day I Met A Dunkirk Veteran - Alex Brice

Frank with his Dunkirk Medal
Before meeting Frank Grove, I knew little of Dunkirk and the "little ships", however when I spoke to this remarkable man I soon learnt to forget what I thought I knew about war. Less about honour, duty and glory and more about real men with little training doing their best to stay alive, wading through mud and occasionally getting caught with their trousers down.

From a young age I read books about historic events and wars but they never prepared me for the heart swelling tale Frank had to tell. The nightmares, the losses, the friendships won and lost. You would have thought after this entire ordeal in Dunkirk that men would stop and settle down for a short time but what I never realised was how short of time they really were. After being interrogated due to accidentally leaving some uniform behind, this wounded hero had 24 hours leave. That's less than a weekend before carrying on in other places across the globe.

Frank and Alex reflect after the account of
graphic experiences in France and Belgium in 1940.

What needs to be taken from Frank's chilling story is that although men were lost on the fields and sea, the rescue on the beach was a success. Every day people from small towns came together to rescue their countrymen and they did better than ever expected, even with all the obstacles, which is worth more than a medal that the soldiers had to pay for*, that is living proof of the country supporting their heroes no matter what. As a teenager I am always looking for inspiration to believe in the good side of bad situations and this is a prime example of something I will definitely take with me.

* Frank is pictured with the medal referred to above. This is the 1940 Dunkirk Medal awarded, with document, to the French defenders of the Dunkirk pocket but expanded in 1970 to include most of the British who served in the Dunkirk sector. Frank was one of the last to be evacuated and cannot recall the name of the boat but it was similar to a Thames barge and took him all the way back to Ramsgate.

Community Programme

The story of Endeavour has kept Peter Dolby busy over the last few weeks with five talks; to the Society of St. George, the Crossing Boundaries - Thursday Group, the Westcliff Probus Club, the Chelmsford Branch of the Inland Waterways Association and the Crowstone St. George's URC Ladies Fellowship.

More talks are booked for the coming months including one in 2014!

Where is Endeavour?

Endeavour, as shown here, is snugly berthed on a pontoon in Leigh marina sporting her new cover. Made by Windward Sails of Leigh it has been carefully designed to keep out much of the winter weather but at the same time allowing the air to circulate underneath. This should reduce deck maintenance at fitting out. When the weather eventually improves she will be lifted out and the maintenance work will commence. If you have some spare time and want to help please contact Finlay who will be pleased to hear from you.

If you ever wondered how your Leigh ward councillor spends his time outside the chamber and when not busily involved on ward matters he is more often than not seen in the vicinity of a tea room or, as seen here, making a new running mooring for the dinghy. Peter is working furiously to finish before his wellies get wet.

How Many Endeavours?

Grateful thanks to the member who passed over this copy of Port of London magazine, published ten years ago. The two Endeavours visited London at the same time and, at this time, our own Endeavour had recently left Strand wharf for her restoration at Great Totham. Hence three Endeavours on the Thames at the same time was missed by a few months! 
The Endeavour had just finished a cruise for American tourists visiting historic European ports. HM Bark Endeavour is the replica of Captain Cook's famous ship and first visited London on her maiden voyage in April 1997.

Events 2013

On 25th to 27th May there is the 'little ship' return to Ipswich for the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships' Annual Commemorative Cruise. This will include a service held dockside on Sunday 26th May commencing at 1100.

Preparations are in hand for Endeavour to attend and there will be places available on board for members. We anticipate offering three different places; for the whole trip which will require hotel accommodation, the outward leg (Leigh to Ipswich) and the homeward leg (Ipswich to Leigh). More details will be issued shortly and as we expect an enthusiastic response from members you may wish to let Mike King know in advance of your interest.

We are working on a summer reception at which we plan to have Endeavour alongside a pontoon at the Essex Yacht Club

Opportunities will be available to members to go on board, talk to officers & committee members and share a glass on the Wilton. The provisional date is on Thursday 18th July.

Following on from the highly successful annual dinner held last year at the Estuary Club we are delighted that the Sunday lunch at the same venue on 24th February has also proved popular.  Linda and Finlay Marshall reported that we were sold out within days.

My Pageant weekend - Esther Brown

Esther and the Crew
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was always going to be a momentous public event, wherever you were in the Country, or world for that matter, there was an opportunity to become involved. However some were more involved than others, and I was privileged to be part of the Pageant. For me this opportunity arose whilst I was on work experience in the House of Lords with Lord Clarke of Hampstead, a Life Member of the Trust. Not keen on being on the water he very kindly offered me his application form and I was delighted to be accepted as a member of Endeavour's crew for this 'once in a lifetime opportunity'.

On day one we were up at the crack of dawn when Paul Gilson, Jeremy Squier, the rest of the crew and I set off up the Thames. We arrived within a few hours, leaving us time to look around at the array of boats. There was a vast variety; Dunkirk Little Ships like us to yachts like Amazon and tall ships such as Tenacious and Belem. However one thing they did all have in common was how exquisite each one was. My particular favourite has to have been Mariquita, the J class yacht moored opposite us, she was beautiful and I am determined to own her when I am older! 

On day two it was just Paul, Jeremy and myself on board. 

Day three was undeniably the highlight of the trip, it rained heavily but then it has rained for the majority of the Queen's reign so I didn't see it as a particular problem. 

We were joined on board by the Mayor of Southend, Cllr. Sally Carr, and many other members and guests, and despite the weather we all gathered on deck to watch the procession of boats sail past. The only disappointment was that the Royal barge stopped at Tower Bridge, a little bit further up the river to us.
The weekend was a memorable one for many people, it is certainly one I am unlikely to forget! 

Therefore I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Paul, Jeremy and all the crew for being such marvellous company, as well as Mike King and all the Endeavour Trust in addition to Lord Clarke of Hampstead for offering me this unforgettable experience.

Why I've Joined - Walter Waye

A few months back I visited Leigh with my wife and family and after lunch in the Boatyard restaurant ventured in to the Heritage Centre and noticed copies of the Endeavour newsletter.

I was born in Leigh in 1931 and lived in a bungalow in Station Road and spent my early school days at Leigh North Street. I must have been a 'good boy' because I well remember the headmaster giving me sixpence (2 1/2p) for running an errand for him.

I left Leigh when I was 8 years old and now live in Chelmsford. I return with my family to revisit my roots as often as I can.Having read the newsletter I contacted Peter Dolby and arranged to meet him the next time we were in Leigh. Unfortunately I could not go on board Endeavour as she is too difficult for me to access on her mooring. 

Walter has very kindly donated to the Trust a copy of Joshua Levine’s book, Forgotten Voices Dunkirk and an original copy of the Daily Express printed Friday, 31st May, 1940, the front page of which reported on the Dunkirk evacuation.Peter suggested that I came back for the Fishing Festival at which I was delighted to be able to go on board where she was moored off Bell Wharf.

My brother was in the Royal Engineers during World War II and was rescued from Dunkirk. Like so many others he didn't tell his full story but I recall that he said that he was in a line of many soldiers in the sea off the beaches waiting for the 'little ships' to come in. He was regularly under machine gun fire and many of his colleagues were lost.

I am delighted that I came across the newsletter that day and am able to support the Trust as an old Leigh boy and in memory of my brother.

The Annual Dinner

David Norman speaks
Members, new and old, and guests assembled for the Trust's annual dinner at the Estuary Club in Leigh on Friday 26th October. Mike King introduced Officers and Guests and David Norman followed with an excellent after dinner speech recounting his memories of life growing up in Leigh, his experiences of sailing locally and his past year as Southend's mayor.

David concluded with a personal
presentation to Paul Gilson, of a CD by the Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends, signed by all the shanty men, in recognition and thanks of Paul's work as Endeavour's skipper and committee vice-chairman. Paul and his family have had a very difficult time of late but he has resolutely continued to support the Trust including skippering the boat in the recent Pageant. Paul accepted the presentation amid much applause.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening with good company, good food and liberal wine concluded with the raffle draw. On
behalf of the Trust, Peter Dolby thanked the individuals and organisations which kindly contributed wonderful prizes and vouchers for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Prize Draw. Peter thanked everyone who supported the Prize Draw which raised £1,400 to help fund the Trust's growing community and educational programmes and the ever increasing costs attributable to the maintenance of our historic local wooden cockle boat and Dunkirk 'little ship'.

Tickets were drawn by Mrs Joy Robinson and the six winning numbers were 01180, 03323, 02674, 02664, 00097 and 02554. The picture, above right, shows Howard Robinson, John Bertola and Ian James displaying their prizes. Further prizes were donated by Stockvale Ltd and Osborne Bros.

The winner of the 1/25 scale model of Endeavour was Neil Blake (left) pictured at home having taken delivery. Unbeknown to everyone, Neil was playing snooker in the Estuary Club when his ticket was drawn!

Leigh Fishing Festival

Endeavour once again took pride of place moored alongside Bell Wharf at this year's festival. 

Committee members were on hand to answer all the questions of the enthusiastic visitors, many of who were welcomed onboard. We also had our usual stand in one of the marquees, and again visitors were eager to learn about the achievements of the Trust and our intentions for the future.

Many items of merchandise were sold and Linda and Finlay Marshall could not sell enough raffle tickets. They were almost literally bowled over by willing purchasers. Importantly many new members also joined. A PowerPoint slide presentation added to the stall's interest.

Updates on Two Other Little Ships


Back in 2001 we ventured to Rochester as we had learnt that Resolute, Leigh cockle boat and 'Dunkirk little ship' was there. 

However, we found her condition too bad for restoration but there by chance was Endeavour.

Our restoration story started then but for Resolute well some years later, in 2006 she was transported to Glasgow where BAE Systems hoped to draw up plans for her rebuild. This picture shows her poor condition on arrival in Glasgow.

They came down to Leigh to see Endeavour in 2010 and were very interested in our own experiences. More recently she was taken on by the Maxi Richards Foundation but due to cuts in funding she is now back at BAE Systems. Resolute remains on the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust list of vessels under their care and we hope to report more positive news in future newsletters.

We reported in last December's newsletter that Caresana, a 1933 built lifeboat, was hidden away alongside the Sea Scout building in Old Leigh.

After a short stay in Smallgains Marina on Canvey she was towed up river to Shepperton where she is pictured. Much gear has since been stripped out and stored ashore and an overall cover constructed and fitted.

The superstructure needs extensive renewal, the electrical system will have to be completely replaced and the engines require a full overhaul.

Under the tender care of the DLSRT we are sure she will soon be ready to join other Dunkirk little ships.

Bank of England Welcomed on Board

Members of the Bank of England Sailing Club raised their interest rate on a hot sunny Saturday in August. They joined Paul Gilson and Chris Bailey for a trip across the estuary.

They are seen here ready to cast off from the Essex Yacht Club pontoon. All were signed up as new members of the Trust and more are expected to experience life on board Endeavour in the future.


Annual General Meeting 2012

This year's AGM takes place on Friday 19th October at 7.30 at New Road Methodist Church Hall.
Come and hear what has happened over the last year and our plans for the year ahead. Plenty of time is allowed for questions and comments and we very much welcome members' thoughts and ideas. Agenda and minutes will be sent out well in advance of the meeting

We're pleased to present the agenda, minutes and Chairman's Report from the 2012 AGM, along with the balance sheet. Click the links below to open:

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant

All aboard the Skylark. Trust members and guests on  the river taxi. Next step to board Endeavour!On Sunday 3rd June, over 1,000 boats mustered on the Thames for the Diamond Jubilee smashing the world record for the biggest parade of boats in history. The Pageant was also the largest collection of historic vessels ever assembled on the Thames. Millions of people braved the weather, lining the banks of the river Thames, to watch the seven mile flotilla, in honour of Queen Elizabeth II reaching her 60th year on the throne - a feat only equalled by Queen Victoria in the last century.

The Trust is extremely proud of our little ship and is delighted that Endeavour was part of this historic, once in a lifetime event. It seems such a long time ago that the committee discussed Endeavour's participation in the Pageant. Should we be part of the flotilla joining fellow Dunkirk Little Ships within the historic vessels section or should we enter in the 'Avenue of Sail', moored below London Bridge?

In August, after much debate, we agreed that Endeavour would lose much of her authenticity and uniqueness with the mast down and we should apply to participate in the 'Avenue of Sail' section along with other vessels with too high an air draft to pass under the bridges. This section included tall ships, sailing barges, cockle boats, oyster smacks, herring drifters and fishing trawlers.

We thought and assumed that an 'Avenue of Sail' would provide a splendid part of the Pageant route for Her Majesty's barge to pass through. In the June edition of Classic Boat we read "The Pageant will weave through the heart of London to Tower Bridge, then through an Avenue of Sail, made up of hundreds of traditional Thames sailing boats, oyster smacks, square riggers, naval vessels and other impressive ships". 

We were not informed that our mooring position was downriver of HMS President until a very late stage. This transpired to be beyond the pier used for the Queen's disembarkation from the Royal Barge. Also and very unfortunately the on board view from Endeavour was restricted by HMS President, moored, as she was, between us and the disembarkation pier.

This was extremely disappointing for our members and guests including our Mayor Sally Carr, who had been on board for several hours braving appalling weather.

We have written to Lord Salisbury, Chairman of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, acknowledging the success of this remarkable tribute event but at the same time expressing disappointment in the role given to the 'Avenue of Sail' participants, some having travelled from Wales, the South West and Continental Europe. 

Trust members and sponsors sailed Endeavour from Holehaven Creek, Canvey to London to take her place in the Avenue of Sail. The picture left, shows Paul Gilson and Jeremy Squier casting off, ably assisted by Esther Brown.

The picture above, shows all on board and just some of the crowds on the river bank and balconies.
Endeavour looked her best thanks to Paul Lawrence and his team of helpers who spent so much time rubbing down, painting and varnishing. Many positive comments have been received on her appearance. 

Well done to everyone involved!

Our thanks also to Dauntless Chandlers who continue to supply paint and other items and to Leigh Marina for the use of their facilities during the weeks of maintenance work.

Row boats passing through the Avenue of Sail with Endeavour in the left foreground

Waitrose in Leigh - Community Matters

In recognition of the Trust's restoration of Endeavour and it's continuing community and educational work telling the story of Leigh's historic involvement in the Dunkirk Evacuation, we were nominated as one of the three causes to receive support in May.
Waitrose in Leigh were pleased to help us in our quest to raise funds to cover this work and our ever increasing maintenance and running costs. Their customers support of the Trust, shown by placing green buttons in our community box, resulted in a £230 cheque.

Change of Committee Chairman

Peter Dolby has decided to step down as Chairman of the Management Committee after four years at the helm. Peter remains an officer continuing in his joint roles of Treasurer and Membership Secretary.

Peter reported to a recent meeting, "I have enjoyed chairing meetings but have found it increasingly difficult to continue my officer roles and the work involved with the educational and community programme with that of Chairman. I am delighted that Chris Bailey, who has a wealth of experience both in sailing and business matters, has agreed to take over from me and we are in very capable hands".

Reta is On The Mend

Many members will know that Reta was admitted to hospital in May. We are pleased to report that Reta is recovering well and has been home for a few weeks now. Although her voice is quieter than normal it is slowly coming back to full power and hasn't stopped her from keeping a firm control of George, even though he can't be trusted with the shopping yet!

Carry on the recovery Reta; we need you back fit and well to keep the boys on the committee in order!

It's Official - Endeavour is 'Good for Leigh'

The Endeavour Trust has been awarded a 'Good for Leigh Community Award' by Leigh-on-Sea Town Council. The award is made in recognition of the Trust for its work in bringing Endeavour home to Leigh and restoring her as a lasting memorial of the sacrifice made by Leigh men during World War II.
The award was accepted at the Council's Annual Town Meeting by Endeavour Trust Chairman Mike King, who thanked the Council for their recognition of the Trust's work for the community and made special mention of all of the sponsors without who the restoration could not have happened.

Click the certificate for a larger version.

Trust Chairman , Mike King, acknowledges the Good for Leigh award received from Council Chairman,
Cllr Pat Holden, at Leigh Town Council's Annual Town Meeting. Mike is flanked by Graham Garner of the
Cory Environmental Trust and Peter Dolby.

Dates for the Diary

LEIGH FISHING FESTIVAL - Sunday 19th August between - 11am and 4pm

Come and see Endeavour moored at Bell Wharf and visit our display in one of the marquees and take the opportunity to talk to the committee members. There may be an opportunity to see the facilities on board at around the high tide at 2.30 pm.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - Friday 19th October at 7.30 - New Road Methodist Church Hall

Come and hear what has happened over the last year and our plans for the year ahead. Plenty of time is allowed for questions and comments and we very much welcome members' thoughts and ideas. Agenda and minutes will be sent out well in advance of the meeting

ANNUAL DINNER AND QUEEN'S DIAMOND JUBILEE PRIZE DRAW - Friday 26th October at The Estuary Club, London Road, Leigh-on-Sea

Tickets available at £20 to include three course meal and wine.

Click the Word Icon below to view the menu and the RSVP form.


Endeavour Photo Gallery

We are extremely pleased to have been sent some excellent pictures charting Endeavour's progress from the sorry state she was in when first re-discovered to some of her many high points since.

Click on a photograph to view a larger version in a separate window or tab.

Found in Rochester, 2001 Found in Rochester, 2001
Found in Rochester, 2001 Rechristening, April 2005

Rechristening, April 2005 Sea Trials, April 2005
At Bell Wharf ready for Dunkirk, May 2005 Leaving for Dunkirk, May 2005
Across to Dunkirk, May 2005 Across to Dunkirk, May 2005
Across to Dunkirk, May 2005 Dunkirk harbour, May 2005
Leigh Fishing Festival, 2007 Leigh Fishing Festival, 2008
At Marconi ADLS Reunion, 2009
EYC Cadet Week, 2009 Leigh Creek, 2009
Leigh Creek, 2009 Leigh Creek, 2010
Dunkirk Harbour, May 2010 Dunkirk Harbour, May 2010
Dunkirk Harbour, May 2010 Leigh Creek, Dec 2010
Ramsgate May 2011

Association of Dunkirk Little Ships Online

Two links that you might be interested in: the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships' official Facebook page can be found here and their Twitter account can be found here.

We hope you enjoy them.

New Merchandise

We now have new caps emblazoned with our logo available to buy. The caps come in one-size-fits-all white at £7.50 each.

To find out about these and the other merchandise available to purchase, including t-shirts, caps and prints, please contact Reta or look at the Merchandise page.