Friday, May 19, 2006

The Little Ships Return

More than 30 Dunkirk Little Ships will be visiting Ramsgate's Royal Harbour next weekend to commemorate the 66th anniversary of Operation Dynamo.

The operation, which took place between 28th May and 4th June 1940, saw a flotilla of 1,200 little ships working alongside a fleet of Naval and Merchant Marine vessels to evacuate 338,000 British and French troops from the beaches around Dunkirk.

Every five years, the Dunkirk Little Ships recreate that voyage and last year, they sailed out of Ramsgate. This year, they will begin arriving on Saturday 27th May and will stay in the town's Royal Harbour over the Bank Holiday weekend.

On Sunday 28th May, there will be a private service of commemoration in the Sailors' Chapel, following by a quayside blessing of the Little Ships, with wreaths afterwards, which can be seen from West Pier. The Little Ships will remain in the Royal Harbour the following day and will be moored in the Outer Harbour in front of the cross-wall.

Cllr. Mike Roberts, Cabinet Member for Maritime Services, said: "We are delighted to welcome the Little Ships back to Ramsgate. They are a very special part of this country's maritime history and they hold a very dear place in many people's hearts. This will be an excellent opportunity for people to come and see the boats in one of the country's most beautiful harbours and to learn about the important role that they played in Operation Dynamo, widely regarded as one of the turning points of World War II."


Anonymous said...

Oh dear, Cllr Roberts. A turning point in World War II? The whole thing was a disatrous defeat and a lucky plucky operation prevented over 300,000 men being scooped up by Rommel and Guderian. The turning point Cllr Roberts may be thinking about was the Second battle of Alamein?

DrMoores said...

I think he may have meant "pivotal" point and not turning point. Quite right about El Alamein of course, being the turning point and the first significant victory after the fall of France and the Battle of Britain.

Anonymous said...

It is good that this well deserved ceremony takes place. We all owe a huge debt to the owners of those vessels in 1940 and the current day owners, who must spend hours maintaining those craft.

What doesn't help however, is the appaling state of the floating hulk known as the Cervia, and two wrecks in the Smeaton dry dock. What has happened to that formerly majestic Cervia. It's an absolute disgrace and the maritime museum should be embarressed to be associated with such an appalling example of bad management. I just hope that we are not subsidising the mooring fees.