How It All Started - Part 3 by Mike King

Endeavour pre-restorationIn 24th September 2002 Endeavour was moved to Great Totham by the excellent Trevor Taylor and his amazing well sprung vehicle. Obviously Endeavour, even though she is female, can't talk, but had she been able to I think she would have said, "Oh no - not again! Kent to Leigh Marina, then to Strand Wharf and now another journey; I'm getting fed up with it! When do I get back in the water?"
Sails were made in modern material by Steve Hall, who also presented a huge banner which has been flown on many occasions.
Sails were made in modern material by Steve Hall, who also presented a huge banner which has been flown on many occasions.
But she was well looked after - even cosseted. First she was shored up to make certain her shape was kept while the work progressed, and the two highly skilled restorers - Brian Kennell and Shaun White - decided what new timber was needed, and how to proceed. Replacement oak from Belfairs wood (the first lot was stolen) opepe for the keel, pine, iroko, Douglas fir and larch - the latter from Northern Ireland. As much original timber as possible was retained, although some not in its original position, the hull planking was in poor condition, but was used to line the hold.

A decision was taken to restore her as she was when launched in 1924, with a centre board and narrower side decks - the latter having been widened when converted for shrimping.

 Steve Hall of North Sea Sails working onBrian Kennell shows Peter Wexham how to drive the nails homeWork progressed at a pace, with volunteers oiling the new oak and doing other essential but relatively unskilled work (lots of tea was drunk).

Completely new spars were made, as the originals were destroyed long ago, and the sails and rigging made. Well-known author John Leather had much information on the sail layout, and was extremely interested in the restoration.

Sails were made in modern material by Steve Hall, who also presented a huge banner which has been flown on many occasions.

Mast and SparsAll the hull planking was fitted to the frames with bronze wood screws, each recessed and capped with timber plugs - almost all of which were fitted by Reta Cocks.

Endeavour was completed sufficiently for a detailed survey in 2005, when it was pronounced that 'the work has been carried out to a very high standard'.

She was nearly ready for yet another move by road back to Leigh.

Sailing Programme

We are pleased to confirm that Endeavour is participating in two important events in May and opportunities are available to members to book their places on board. We anticipate that members may wish to take part in some or all of the itineraries involved.

ADLS Commemorative Cruise - Chatham

This year the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships Commemorative Cruise is to Chatham on the River Medway. We will join over 20 Little Ships who are expected to attend.

Other scheduled events include the Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival featuring the Kent produce market, antique & vintage market, artisan market, live music all weekend on the band stand and a children's activity tent.

The programme of events will be as follows:
  • Saturday 24th - Depart Leigh for Chatham
  • Sunday 25th - Commemorative Service on the quay side
  • Sunday 25th - Commemorative Cruise Dinner at Medway Yacht Club
  • Monday 26th - Depart Chatham for Ramsgate

Medway Sunlight Rotary is putting on a Dragon Boat Challenge in Basin No 2 on Sunday after the ADLS commemorative service. This is to raise money for local charities.

 Ostend at Anchor

Ostend at AnchorSince its inception in 1999, Ostend at Anchor has become the most popular and prestigious annual maritime festival of the North Sea. The event is free to the public and regularly attracts over 200,000 visitors from Belgium, Holland, France and Britain.

The commemoration of the centenary of the start of World War I will be a 'double commemoration' for the event as it is the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Ostend on 8 September 1944 by Canadian Forces commanded by Field-Marshall Montgomery of Alamein.

The event organisers have extended an invitation to any ships involved with the conflict during the Second World War including the Dunkirk Little Ships.

The little ships will be moored in the Mercator Dock, located in the very heart of the city. The event includes about 80 performances by music groups, predominantly (but not exclusively) 'shanty' and 'folk'. Those performing are not only from Belgium but also come from the UK, Ireland, France, and the Netherlands. Most performances are on stages and there are also performances on several of the visiting ships.

The event also attracts many exhibitors, commercial and non-commercial, embracing probably every traditional and modern aspect of the maritime world.

During the event there will be several official receptions and functions relating to the Liberation that will involve naval & military representatives plus various VIPs including the Ambassadors of Great Britain and Canada and some Belgian DLS veterans. The crews of DLS attending are invited to participate with the VIP's at these functions.

The programme of events will be as follows:
  • Wednesday 28th - Depart Ramsgate for Ostend
  • Thursday 29th - Welcome reception for skippers
  • Friday 30th - Remembrance Parade
  • Saturday 31st - Official welcome by the Mayor and presentation of plaques to skippers
  • Sunday 1st June - Event ends - see you next year
  • Monday 2nd June - Depart Ostend
Please let either Mike King or Peter Dolby know as soon as possible if you are interested.

Events Diary

  • Saturday 24th May to Monday 26th May - ADLS Commemorative Cruise to Chatham
  • Wednesday 28th May to Monday 2nd June - Ostend at Anchor
  • Thursday 19th June - Summer Reception at Boatyard Restaurant
  • Sunday 27th July - Leigh Maritime Festival

Where Is Endeavour?

Nine years have passed since restoration and Endeavour is in need of some professional assistance to maintain her in A1 condition.

She has been in Maldon since the middle of November where shipwright, Brian Kennell, assessed her condition and started some much needed maintenance work.

We have taken this opportunity for a thorough recondition of all the engineering and electrical components under the careful hand of Tom Cox.

Finally, Debbie Cannon will paint the top sides, deck and hatch covers.

All three are based in the Maldon area and have been assisted in part by volunteer members from Leigh.

We have booked her return to Leigh for the weekend 3rd-5th May when we can expect her back in pristine condition and raring to go to Chatham and Ostend.

All of this much needed work, together with boatyard costs, is likely to total in excess of £7,000.

David Norman MBE Msc (Econ)

David Normal MBEEndeavour trustee and committee member David Norman was awarded the MBE in the 2014 New Year Honours list for services to Adult Education.

David has served on the Ruskin College Governing Executive for 20 years and on their Council for 23, chairing both for 10 years. He has given unstintingly of his time to community-based groups and individuals. He is a member of the Board of South Essex Homes, covering all social housing in the locality, and a governor of Westcliff High School for Boys. He has been a Southend-on-Sea Borough Councillor for many years, serving as Mayor for the Council in 2011/12.

All involved with Endeavour would like to say a huge congratulations to David for this well deserved honour.

Community and Educational Programme - Peter Dolby

Since the last newsletter I have given seven talks to local community groups and in March I was delighted to visit Cedar Hall School, in Thundersley. 

The talk interested the children and many of them asked very searching questions. Some enjoyed trying the yokes and baskets on for size. 

Their teacher, Michelle Philpott, was warmly applauded when she too 'had a go'.

The children had visited the Heritage Centre in Old Leigh a couple of weeks previously and drawn pictures of the beach scene and the boats that went to Dunkirk. Two of their drawings are shown opposite.

From the experience gained from the talk and their visit to the Old Town the children acted out a short play about the Dunkirk rescues and talked about what they had learned at a special school assembly for parents. The children wrote some wonderful thank you letters which are so meaningful both to me and our educational programme.

They will visit the Old Town again next month to see 'our little ship' when she is back on her mooring and Mrs Philpott has promised to let them sample some cockles.

Summer Reception

We are pleased to announce that following last year's enjoyable inaugural event we are repeating this year and have booked the Boatyard Restaurant.

To gain the maximum benefit of the Boatyard's sun deck, it will be held on Thursday 19th June, just 48 hours from the longest day!

More details and application forms will follow shortly.

RIP Frank Grove

Frank H Grove RIPA very moving ceremony took place on Wednesday 26th March to mark the death of our Honorary Vice President Frank Grove, who had died aged 94.

Frank was with the 57th (East Surrey) Anti-tank Regiment (TA) and served with the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in France in 1940, in the 44th (Home Counties) Division and was rescued from Dunkirk, although not necessarily by Endeavour.

"We didn't stop to look at the boat's name!" he said. After this Frank went on to fight in Burma, and is one of that generation who defended our country so we might enjoy our lives in relative peace - thank you Frank.
Frank, centre of picture, at Endeavour’s rechristening in 2005
Frank, in the centre, at Endeavour's Re-christening in 2005