Operations were conducted from Lunna House, Shetland by Stephen’s father, Lieutenant Howarth, who ran the Shetland end of the operation. The crews of the “Shetland Bus” [Shetlandsgjengen] were men of the coast, fishermen and sailors with detailed local knowledge. Most came over after the occupation, some with their own vessels, others with vessels that were “stolen” with the owner’s approval. They were young men, most of them in their twenties, some even younger. Many of them did several tours in the spring and summer of 1940, evacuating British soldiers who had been stranded in Norway after the Norwegian Campaign and other British citizens living in Norway.
We are all invited to these excellent Kent Cruising Association winter warmer talks, which are held at 8pm at the Dog and Bear, Lenham, near Maidstone. It’s a good idea to book a meal (by 5pm please) on 01622 858219 for 7pm, before the talk. A special CA menu is available.
Congregate at Gillingham Marina in the Quarterdeck Cafe 3.00pm for 3.15pm walk to the Medway Queen. Limited parking space available on Gillingham Pier for those that need them. Tour of the Medway Queen at 3.30pm, 5.00pm for 5:30pm Heroine of Dunkirk Talk and buffet! Tickets are £7 each. Tickets available by phoning Gillingham Marina on 01634 280022.
Dr Tori Herridge and team investigate the strange shingle bank, known as the Street, that stretches north from Whitstable. Also a rare Tudor wreck recently discovered nearby that can only be inspected at a very low spring tide. If you missed the first programme in the third series, catch up here: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/britain-at-low-tide
An illustrated talk by Frances Beaumont about John Oliver who was a tug man on ‘Hobbit’ on the River Medway for 40 years. John was born without hands and two short arms and became very adept with his feet. Many people in Medway knew him – he was quite a character. He was also a trained artist with an NDD and had many other jobs. Booking is essential for this free event at Rochester Library, Eastgate, Rochester ME1 1EW on Wednesday 9 October from 2.30 to 4 pm. To book call 01634 337799.
HMS Medway will be formally commissioned during a visit to Medway in September and Mr Russell Race JP DL, the link Deputy Lieutenant for Medway, will represent the Lord-Lieutenant at the event, to be held at Chatham on 19 September 2019 at 09.45. Following the Commissioning Ceremony, HMS Medway will provide the Royal Navy with patrol capabilities in home waters or overseas.
UPDATE: On Sunday 22 September, the ship will be open to visitors at Chatham Maritime from 10am to 4pm. No visitors will be admitted unless they have booked in advance. Visits can only be booked online and will be available via the website www.eventbrite.co.uk from Tuesday, 17 September. Read more at Kent Online…
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, thirty DC3 (“Dakota”) aircraft will be flying from Duxford to Normandy. On the afternoon of 5 June they will pass over Long Reach on the River Medway. This should be a moving sight!
The 4th Classic Yacht & Motor Boat Festival is open to any boat, large or small, designed or built before 1970 – wood, steel, aluminium, fibreglass, ferro cement, sail, power, steam or other, the bigger the variety of boats the better the show. If in doubt as to whether your boat qualifies please email a photo and a short description. Without classic boats, we will not have a festival, so we are delighted to offer free berthing for up to 5 nights for qualifying vessels that register with us before 2 August 2019. If you have any info on how to make this classic boat event even better than the last 3 we would be grateful with any suggestions. You must register by email and have received a confirmation email to attend. To register your Classic Boat please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For visitors (by foot) entry is FREE, the harbour will be open to the public to view the boats and meet the skippers. In addition, we plan to run passenger trips around the harbour and visit classic boats on their moorings. Last year almost 1000 people attended and the atmosphere was terrific.
Friday 30th Most of the Classic Boats arrive in harbour
Good news for Hollowshore Cruising Club member Dr. Rodney Pell, whose book “Little Ship, Big Story” has been nominated for a Mountbatten Literary Award. It tells the history of Sheemaun, a 15-metre gentleman’s yacht built for banker Ernest Richards in 1935 in Fraserburgh. She is ketch rigged and currently has two Beta Marine Diesel engines. Researches by Dr. Pell led to the author discovering some of the amazing stories of those who over the past 85 years have variously owned, sailed or served on her in World War Two. In 1939, Sheemaun was assigned to the Thames Auxiliary Pool at Cliffe, on the Hoo Peninsula, and it is almost certain that she would have been engaged in clandestine duties. She had many adventures in the Thames and Medway Estuaries, and was present at the sinking of the explosives ship Richard Montgomery off Sheerness, parts of which can still be seen at low water. Sheemaun was sold out of service in 1947 and acquired by Rodney and Maura in 1987, and is now based at Ramsgate Harbour. She has featured in picture postcards, on a jigsaw puzzle, and in yachting magazine advertisements. Little Ship, Big Story is published by The Conrad Press at £9.99
Medway Queen features in the online version of the Smithsonian Magazine. A contact out of the blue requesting information on MQ’s part in Operation Dynamo was responded to in quick time to meet a tight timescale and the article appeared online last week. Going from first contact to “in print” within just 3 days!
The article contains details of Medway Queen’s part in the operation with many links to other information including the MQPS website. Appearances in magazines such as this are always very welcome as they put the MQPS before a new audience that may not already be familiar with the ship, her story and our efforts to restore her.