ADLS Commemorative Cruise to Chatham

Endeavour stands out among the 'little ships' moored in Chatham
Endeavour stands out among the 'little ships' moored in Chatham
When new members Bob Everitt and Anne Hinton van't Hof read in the April newsletter that places were available for the Chatham commemorative cruise they went overboard with enthusiasm. They met up with Paul and crew members; Jeremy, Peter and Finlay on Billet Wharf and in normal Endeavour weather set off for Chatham. With a little gentle persuasion Bob and Anne agreed to pen their experiences of life on board. They also share a love of photography and a few of their snaps have been used here.

Bob Everitt writes:

Peter with the ADLS pennant
Peter with the ADLS pennant
"What a privilege it was to join Endeavour and her expert crew on the first leg of her Ostend journey over to Chatham.

"It's only when you get on board her that you realise how compact she is, and how extremely social she is, as you can't help but talk to everybody on board as they step over and around you - no nice snug cabin with windows on Endeavour!

"The weather wasn't great when we left Leigh, but it didn't seem to matter as we motored over to the Medway, refreshed all the way with tea from Finlay!

"As Peter raised the Dunkirk Little Ships flag on the bow I couldn't help but think back 70 years and realise the history...

The sun came out as we entered the Chatham harbour lock and it was brilliant to see the 20 or so other Little Ships in Chatham.

"Endeavour looked resplendent sitting alongside them - all dressed up for the occasion.

"A really lovely day - more to come I hope!!"

Anne Hinton van't Hof writes:

Peter brings Endeavour's facility on deck much to Anne's surprise
Peter brings Endeavour's facility on
deck much to Anne's surprise

"An early start and a dreary sky greeted us for our trip from Leigh to Chatham in May. I felt very lucky to be given the opportunity to travel on the Endeavour and was looking forward to meeting up with some of the other Dunkirk 'little ships' as they gathered before their trip to Ramsgate and then on to Ostend, for the liberation celebrations.

"Thankfully the wet weather only lasted for a couple of hours and then the sun came out and we were able to enjoy the scenery as we came into the mouth of the Medway.

"Paul is a very knowledgeable skipper and was able to point out the local landmarks such as the Napoleonic fort and the island that was used to dispose of the dead and dying before reaching land!

After a number of cups of tea I tentatively asked if there was a toilet facility on board. Peter assured me there was, disappeared into the hold and reappeared with what can only be described as a large Tupperware box.

Endeavour is in safe hands with Paul at the helm
Endeavour is in safe hands with Paul at the helm

"He put it on the deck and the look of horror on my face must have been a picture at the thought of having to use it in full view!! Thankfully he was only going to move it to the front of the boat, but deciding that limited movement was probably the safer route I opted to just pull the tarpaulin over my head in the hold.

"A few puzzled attempts to remove my clothing was resolved when I remembered that my life jacket had a strap between my legs! A manoeuvre that closely resembled a gymnast's complicated floor routine allowed me to restore my clothing without bursting through the tarpaulin in a state of undress!

"A piece of skilful manoeuvring by Paul bought us into the dock and we saw the impressive sight of the little ships, colourful flags in full regalia all lined up along the quayside. Flags raised and hold secured the pub beckoned and a very enjoyable pint in the sunshine was enjoyed.

"Bob and I then had to make our way back to Leigh via bus, train, ferry and a short walk! A thoroughly enjoyable day with time to reflect on the incredible part this 'little ship' played in the rescuing and saving of the lives of our troops. Thank you for the opportunity it was greatly appreciated and hopefully I will get the opportunity to sail on the Endeavour again soon."

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