Search

Dunkirk ‘Little Ship’ Massey Shaw returns for London Boat Show

07:00 04 January 2014

The Massey Shaw on the Thames

The Massey Shaw on the Thames

LFB

London’s famous war veteran fireboat which took part in the 1940 Dunkirk evacuations and then battled the Blitz has arrived back on the Thames after a £1 million restoration.

The Massey Shaw arrived last night at the Royal Docks in east London to take part in the London Boat Show opening this-morning at the Excel centre.

It has just completed a four-year restoration in Gloucester, before being transported back by road.

“The weather was too rough to risk sailing round the coast,” said David Rogers, honorary director of the Massey Shaw Education Trust.

“She’s not a sea-going vessel and would have taken punishment. So we had to transport her on the motorway on a low-loader with a police escort.”

Even so, the Massey Shaw did cross the English Channel and risked coming under German fire to take part in the operation to lift 340,000 British and French troops off the beaches at Dunkirk.

It went three times into the shallow waters to ferry soldiers from the beeches to larger vessels anchored further out to sea and is credited with rescuing 500 men.

The vessel, named in honour of the first Superintendent of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Sir Eyre Massey Shaw, was commissioned by the London County Council and launched in 1935. Its first action was tackling a huge warehouse fire at St Katharine’s Dock by the Tower of London in 1937.

But it really earned its stripes in 1940 as one of the ‘Dunkirk Little Ships’ commandeered by the Royal Navy.

The vessel was once again tackling massive fire storms during the Blitz as the London and Surrey Docks blazed.

The boat was decommissioned in 1971 and was almost forgotten about—until it was spotted abandoned at St Katharine’s Docks in 1980 by enthusiasts who set up the Massey Shaw & Marine Vessels Preservation Society to bring her back to her former glory.

The latest restoration has taken four years, getting her ready for her pride of place at the London Boat Show.

David Rogers was one of the first to welcome her home.

“The scale of the restoration has been overwhelming,” he said. “Her place in the heart of so many firefighters and those who families have memories of her 40 years of service has ensured her return to glory.”

The vessel, which returned to Dunkirk with the Association of Little Ships three times between 1965 and 2000, is joining the 75th anniversary in 2015 when 50 veteran ‘Little Ships’ take part, escorted by the RNLI and Royal Navy.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

22 minutes ago
Kazi Islam. Picture: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

A teenager who groomed his vulnerable autistic friend into carrying out a Lee Rigby-style terrorist attack has been jailed for eight years.

The assault took place at Stratford bus station

A police officer has been found guilty of assaulting a man at Stratford bus station.

12:57
Carwash for nepal

Residents are holding a charity car wash on Sunday to raise money for the victims of the Nepal earthquake.

The bishop said comedy can be a positive force for Christianity (Pic by CREMETTI)

The ExCeL centre gave more than 8,000 visitors the chance to fuse humour with religion as part of an exhibition that ran from May 19-22.

BBC

Most read news

Competitions

Time to expand with the LeefiBRIDGE.

More iOS memory in a flash: introducing Leef iBRIDGE.

Read more
The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Read more

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder