Welcome to the Winter 2015 Newsletter

This edition covers the Veterans' Cruise Weekend at Hampton Court, more tales from this summer's Dunkirk trip, the Southend Barge Match, the Leigh Society Open Day, the 2nd Leigh Maritime Festival and finally, but by no means least, the 2nd Leigh Regatta!


Veterans Cruise Weekend At Hampton Court - Paul Gilson

There have been many highlights for Endeavour this year and I believe that this event may have been the best.

It was a long trip, leaving Leigh on the ebb for a punch against the tide all the way up river. Our journey was uncharted waters for Endeavour. She has never been above the Pool of London so a trip up another twenty miles was an experience. With the mast down we passed gracefully under many bridges. The scenery was fantastic and it felt like I was moving through history with iconic buildings at every turn. Wildlife abounds in the upper reaches, and into the fresh water above Teddington, ducks, geese and ring-necked parakeets were in our sights at every turn. After a journey of 11 hours 45 minutes we berthed with the other little ships above Hampton Court Bridge at the Thames Motor Yacht Club.

Operation Dynamo 2015 – Colin Sains

Tuesday 19th May

It was with some trepidation that I arrived at Old Leigh Boat yard to meet my fellow crew members, Jeremy Squires, Finlay Marshall, Gareth Jones and skipper Paul Gilson and for the very first time step on to Endeavour along with far too much kit.

Paul had set my mind partly at rest by assuring me that my extreme lack of nautical experience would not prevent me joining the boat for the start of the journey to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Operation Dynamo.

Events and Open Days

Again this year Endeavour, but this time skippered by ‘Brum’ sailed among the splendid Thames Sailing Barges competing in the Southend Barge Match. An excellent opportunity to view and take photographs  was taken up by new members Dave and Sue Proctor who joined Brum, Peter, Anne and Michael on board. The  chill breeze meant that those on board had to keep well wrapped up but it helped the barges achieve a brisk racing speed.


We are grateful to those members who responded to the prodding in the last newsletter regarding your email details. However this is still only 10% of our membership, and whilst we know a few of you are not at all computer minded or connected, we still need a much larger response. 

Please rest assured that we will never abuse such information, it is solely to save the horrendous cost of postage of newsletters, subscription chasers  and other important paperwork. Please spare us one or two minutes to send the details to [Contact details removed as no longer current - please refer to Shop and Membership tab above.].

Sea Scouts and Pilgrims Aboard

We’re pleased to report that following on from the talk we gave to the 4th/6th Leigh Sea Scout cubs last year, and as part of our community and educational programme, we welcomed them on Endeavour at the end of July. As is clearly shown by the happy faces in the photograph opposite they thoroughly enjoyed the trip out and we hope to encourage more involvement from the local sea scouts. After all one of them may be the skipper of the future!

The Resolute

The Resolute. R.I.P.
It was back in 2001 when Mike King, Peter Wexham, John Porter and Michael Guy drove to Rochester to take a look at Resolute, one of the six Leigh Dunkirk little ships.

They had heard that Resolute was in a parlous condition and hoped that she could be brought back to Leigh and restored to former glory.

2015 AGM Papers

The thirteenth Annual General Meeting of the Endeavour Trust will be held on Friday 23rd October, 2015 at 7.30 pm in Room 5, Leigh Community Centre, 71-73 Elm Road, Leigh-on-Sea SS9 1SP.

Click here for the 2015 AGM papers (links to folder containing all the documents), or click on the individual item below.

The documents are:

Welcome to the Autumn 2015 newsletter

This edition is a Dunkirk special, and we hope you'll enjoy it.

We are delighted to be able to bring you longer versions of the Dunkirk reports from the newsletter.

The report of the Ostend voyage, and Colin Sains' diary of events, will appear in the next newsletter which we hope to distribute along with the AGM papers at the beginning of October. The next newsletter will include reports on the Leigh Society Open Day, Leigh Maritime Festival, Sea Scout Cubs on board and St Clement’s Pilgrims on board.

May we also draw your attention to our new Facebook page, which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/EndeavourTrustLeigh. There's very little on there yet, but please do 'Like' the page and we'll start putting stuff on there soon. It's not intended as a replacement for the website, but more somewhere to interact with the wider world and promote the Trust - we'll be redirecting people to the website, a lot of the time. It also gives us an excellent place to put our photographs!

Trip to Dunkirk, Sailing to Ramsgate - Paul Gilson

The Endeavour’s voyages never disappoint and this latest one was no different.  We left Leigh around 13.30 on Tuesday the 19th of May and as usual the wind was fresh from the west  blowing at around force 6.  We had already decided that although it was windy we would be running with the wind and the waves, setting the large balloon sail to give us more power and to steady the boat, but little did we know how much power that sail would produce.

My Dunkirk Trip - Gareth Davies

Endeavour amid other Dunkirk Little Ships 
in Dunkirk’s inner harbour

I was lucky enough to get a place on the Endeavour’s trip to Dunkirk and sailed on the Leigh to Ramsgate and Ramsgate to Dunkirk legs.

Dunkirk 2015 - Chris Burls

It was back in March that members of the Thames Sailing Barge Trust were invited to bid for places on Pudge, on the Operation Dynamo memorial voyage to Dunkirk and I put my name forward. As a new member, it came as no surprise to be told that the actual Ramsgate to Dunkirk and back to Ramsgate part of the trip was fully allocated to long serving members, but that the Maldon to Ramsgate outward leg was available. I grabbed this opportunity as I had always intended to go to Ramsgate on the Wednesday of Dynamo Week to see the Dunkirk little ships gathered.

Anne and Theo's trip to Dunkirk - Anne & Theo Van't Hof

We joined the Endeavour crew on the Friday evening at Dunkirk and spent the next two days attending commemorative services and visiting the museums to learn as much as we could about what happened at Dunkirk.  We were also very fortunate to hear personal accounts from some of the veterans who were staying at the same hotel, including, Eldon Roberts aged 93, pictured here, who had flown over from Canada for the event (Eldon was mentioned in the last newsletter).  He told us in brutal detail how he had to make snap decisions to preserve his own life and those of his men and we felt very privileged to be able to be able to hear these moving accounts from one of the last remaining Dunkirk veterans.

Our Two Vice Presidents - Mike King

Jeremy and John pictured at the Summer reception with Endeavour
Jeremy Squier and John Milgate are our two Vice Presidents who became involved with Endeavour in very different ways.

Summer Reception

One hundred members and guests attended our third reception, held this year at Osborne Bros. on Billet Wharf in the Old Town. The weather was wonderful and very favourable comments have been received from many of those that attended, on the food and choice of venue. Mick and his catering staff did us proud.

Belfairs Academy Donation

The Endeavour Hub at the Belfairs Academy is one of their three colleges. Each college select a charity for the year and compete against one another during the year in various competitions, which include achievements and good deeds, thus earning points along the way.

Photo Gallery

We are pleased to include these photographs. Keep them coming in. Who knows, yours may be included in the calendar...

Welcome to the Summer 2015 Newsletter

Events Diary

Date and time
Tuesday 19th May
13:00 approx.
Depart for Ramsgate
Billet Wharf
Paul Gilson
Thursday 21st May
Depart Ramsgate for Dunkirk
Paul Gilson
Monday 1st June

Return to Leigh from Ostend
Paul Gilson
Thursday 11th June
From 19:00
Summer Reception
Osborne Bros & Billet Wharf
 Peter Dolby  or
Finlay Marshall
Sunday 2nd August
11:00 - 16:00
Leigh Maritime Festival
Leigh Old Town
Peter Dolby
Sunday 30th August
Southend Barge Match

Mike King
Friday 4th - Monday 6th Sept

ADLS Veterans' Cruise
Thames Motor Yacht Club - Hampton Court
Mike King
Sunday 20th Sept
10:30 - 17:00
Leigh Regatta
Leigh Old Town
Peter Dolby

75th Commemorative Return to Dunkirk - Paul Gilson

I am writing this just a week or so before this years return. In fact when the newsletter arrives on your doorstep the crew and I will probably be in Dunkirk.

Dunkirk Remembered in Verse

Bryan Roskams was 9 years old, living in the Customs House in the High Street, when he saw the six Leigh boats passing Strand wharf on their way to take part in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk.

Community and Educational

Since the last newsletter community talks have been give by Peter Dolby and Mike King to the Hadleigh Castle Townswomen’s Guild, Belfairs Resident’s Association, Earls Hall Baptist Church - ‘Time Together Group’, U3A Hullbridge and Rayleigh Methodist Ladies Club.


We have mixed news on our sponsors. We are delighted that Cory Environmental Trust have been able to contribute £5,000 to our maintenance projects this winter. Costs of much needed deck work, painting and digging out the creek mooring, which continues to silt up, have been excessive and this was a much needed contribution. Many thanks to Cory.

Summer Reception

This year's reception is on 11th June, starting at 7pm. We are delighted and very grateful to Peter Osborne for allowing the use of his premises and also to the Crooked Billet PH for making the whole of Billet Wharf available to us. Last year we had in excess of 100 attending and we hope that members will support in similar numbers this time.

VROOM VROOM or Softly Softly - Mike King

Sketch drawing from John Leather's wonderful book, Smacks and Bawleys, depicting Endeavour motoring with another cockler under sail.
Sketch drawing from John Leather's
wonderful book, Smacks and Bawleys,
depicting Endeavour motoring with another
cockler under sail.
When Endeavour was built in 1924 she was the first Leigh cockle boat to have an engine fitted. This was to enable her to return to the cockle sheds as quickly as possible after the harvesting – the other boats would be slower because they relied on the wind, which might not be friendly. Thus, she marked the transition, in Leigh, between fishing under sail and by motor.

Winter Maintenance

Once again much needed work has been completed over the Winter and Spring period. Work included new decking, replacement of rotted joints, scarfing in new wood, re-caulking, pitch to seams, rubbing down, priming and painting. This work combined with digging out our creek mooring has cost in the region of £7,300. All boat work undertaken by Brian and Shaun, the two excellent shipwrights who masterminded the restoration. So, even with the generous donation from Cory Environmental Trust our reserve funds have been further depleted. Further remedial work is expected to be undertaken next year.

However, as can be seen from the photograph, she’s now ready to go.


We are delighted to announce that Anne Hinton van’t Hof has agreed to join the committee. 

One of Anne’s many talents is photography; this has helped contribute many wonderful photographs to our collection. Anne was responsible for producing the wonderful 2015 calendar, which included much of her work, she is already working on next year’s and will be seen snapping at the summer reception!

Photo Gallery

Following our request for photographs in the last newsletter we are pleased to include these. Keep them coming in. Who knows, yours may be included in next year’s calendar!

By Anne Hinton van ‘t Hof’ taken in August 2013

By Bob Banner taken in June 2009

Spring 2015 Newsletter

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2015 and we take this opportunity to wish our members a prosperous new year. This year marks the anniversaries of many historical events. These include the Battle of Waterloo (200) 18th June 1815, Magna Carta (800) 15th June 1215, Battle of Agincourt (600) 15th October 1415, First English Parliament (750) 20th January 1265, Death of Sir Winston Churchill (50) 24th January 1965, VE Day (70) 8th May 1940 and, the most important, for Endeavour, the Dunkirk evacuation (75) 27th May to 4th June 1940.

This issue is tinged with sadness with the passing of Dave Spurgeon, trustee and committee member, but also able to recognise awards to our President Sir David Amess, committee member Finlay Marshall and friend John Milgate.

Commemorative Return to Dunkirk

The evacuation of Dunkirk
One of the most famous British triumphs of the Second World War emerged out of crushing defeat – the 'miracle of Dunkirk', which saw thousands of allied soldiers evacuated from the beaches of France. The evacuation, which took place 75 years ago, entered folklore for the actions of the 'little ships' like Endeavour that rescued soldiers and helped prevent a catastrophic defeat.

Codenamed Operation Dynamo, the entire evacuation was coordinated in the Secret Wartime Tunnels beneath Dover Castle.

With a little over three months to go the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships are firming up on the details of the events which will make up this memorable commemoration. It is anticipated that in excess of 60 little ships will take part. Naturally details are preliminary and given for guidance and planning purposes only. Prior to the actual Commemorative Return we have been invited to participate in an event at the Royal Harbour, Ramsgate. Details of all the events, as presently known, together are indicated below.

We are also participating again this year in Ostend at Anchor which takes place the weekend after the Return to Dunkirk.

We are considering arranging coach or minibus transport, including overnight accommodation on Saturday 23rd May, for members and friends who wish to experience this unique commemoration for themselves.

There are also opportunities for members to 'join the crew' on board Endeavour on some or all of the voyages: Leigh to Ramsgate, Ramsgate to Dunkirk, Dunkirk to Ramsgate, Ramsgate to Ostend and Ostend to Leigh.

In order that appropriate arrangements can be made will you please telephone Mike King or email Peter Dolby indicating your interest.


Preliminary timetable

Tuesday19th MayDepart Leigh for Ramsgate. Dinner at Temple Yacht Club.
Wednesday20th MayFallback day for passage to Ramsgate.

Ramsgate Dynamo Day celebrations to include an ADLS service at the Sailor's Church, a visit by VIPs and a parade through the town as follows:
10.30Church Service for the crews of the Little Ships at the Sailor's Church in Ramsgate.
11.30Service for local people in a marquee at Ramsgate Royal Harbour.
11.30-12.30Little Ships open to the public.
12.30Military Parade honouring the people connected with the event.
13.30Thanet Mayor's Reception for guests at Ramsgate Maritime Museum.
15.00VIP Inspection of the Dunkirk Little Ships with flypasts of Spitfires and Hurricane.
15.30-16.30Little Ships open to the public.
19.001940sNight in the Marquee on the Harbour.
Thursday21st MayPassage to Dunkirk. 
Friday22nd MayFallback day for passage to Dunkirk .

Late PMService at the British Memorial, Dunkirk Military Cemetery
Saturday23rd MayThe main commemorative event will be the official service at the Beach Memorial to be held mid-afternoon.

18.30Return Supper - coaches depart
Sunday24th May
11.00ADLS commemorative service, led by Hon. Chaplin Gordon Warren, on the quayside adjacent to the Little Ships.
Early afternoonParade of military vehicles, bands and local organisations through the streets of the town.
EveningReception for the crews at the Dunkirk Museum
Monday25th MayDepart Dunkirk for Ramsgate.
Tuesday26th MayFallback day for passage to Ramsgate or rest day at Ramsgate prior to making passage for Ostend at Anchor.

David George Spurgeon 3rd August 1947 - 6th January 2015

Dave, with Endeavour in the background ready for white weeding,
is seen here in the early 1970s mooring the skiff on the 
running mooring.

Dave Spurgeon was born in Leigh. His father and uncle were Spurgeons the builders who built many properties in Leigh.

Dave went to West Leigh and Belfairs schools along with a generation of cocklers and fishermen during the early 1950s and 60s. He went out with the Osbornes on the Renown at weekends and during holidays - he wanted to be a fisherman as soon as he could.

Whilst working on the Ilene, a Scottish fishing boat, out of Folkestone he thought they'd caught a tyre in the net. On reaching into the cod end to pull it out he found he had pulled a large Conga eel towards him and it lashed out and chased Dave round the back of the wheelhouse.

Back in Leigh telling his stories of working the English Channel earned him the nickname 'Deep Sea Dave' which lasted for the rest of his life.

In the 1970s he partnered Peter Wexham on Endeavour  shrimping, fishing, pair trawling and white weeding. Eventually taking over on his own and working Endeavour for many years.

Dave has been a larger than life character around the Old Town and will be missed by all, even those he argued with.

In later years he had boats working out of Holehaven. After giving up trawling he became one of the best anglers around.

Dave has been involved with the Trust for many years and was a Trustee and committee member.

We are indebted to Dave for many reasons. He was always to the fore at events in which Endeavour was participating and as recently as the Leigh regatta in September Dave was busy recruiting members.

He introduced the Thames Group and Dauntless Chandlers as valued sponsors and skippered Endeavour on a number of occasions over recent years.

Dave last skippered Endeavour in 2013 when along with BBC Essex and the new Renown went out off Thorpe Bay to recreate traditional cockling using rakes, yokes and baskets. This was filmed and together with interviews with past generation cocklers and other fishermen including 'Deep Sea Dave' is used as part of the Trust's community and educational programmes.