Thursday, 27 May 2010

Little Ships set out



In about half an hour, the still-seaworthy amongst the Little Ships that lifted the BEF from the beaches of Dunkirk will sail from Ramsgate to recreate that journey. Some will be like grandfather's axe but still be the boats that make that heroic passage 70 years ago. Others will be absent, now too frail to pilot anything other than the calm reaches of the non-tidal Thames. Others will have become victims of age, rust and want of care.

One such is the Medway Queen, an old paddle steamer that after sinking twice at her mooring, with a disintegrating hull, eventually won enough money from the HLF for a new hull, now under construction. Grandfather's axe. Her superstructure sits on bits of borrowed dockside about the place, waiting the new hull. We wish her, and her restorers, well, and look forward to see her making her stately progress down the Swale for a future Ramsgate event.

3 comments:

Nomad said...

When I was a very young lad in the late 1940s, the Medway Queen used to call at Sheerness pier daily on its cruise round the coast. I am but one of the millions who have enjoyed a ride in/on her so I am delighted to hear she is being refurbished.

My aunt ran the little tuck shop at the end of the pier for many years and when I was on summer holidays in Sheerness she used to take me with her for the day. I have not thought about those days for years now, but that pic brought many happy memories memories flooding back. TQVM.

yokel said...

The decision about restoration versus preservation is a difficult one. There seems to have been some serious debate about the Edwin Fox, now dry docked in Picton, South Island, New Zealand. By not restoring her, they can now rightfully claim to have the 9th oldest ship in the world. Restoration would have excluded her from that list altogether.

I don't envy those who have such a "Grandfather's Axe" decision to make.

Raedwald said...

Yokel - sometimes the decisions make themselves. I've been told there's not a single mast, spar, plank or cannon now making the Victory that dates back to 1805, yet she's still the ship that led the fleet at Trafalgar ...