Decked out and dressed overall in union jack bunting and signal flags, 30 Dunkirk Little Ships assembled in the centre basin of historic St Katharine Docks. This unique May event, showcasing these incredible and meticulously preserved war heroes, was to celebrate the Royal Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort, and proved to be a memorable spectacle for all it beheld.
Commodore of The Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, Kevin Finn, commented “I have been visiting this marina for 10 years now and it is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. It is absolutely stunning. The marina team has done us so proud.”
The ‘Little Ships’ participated in Operation Dynamo during World War II, evacuating soldiers from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940.
The fleet at St Katharine Docks, the largest UK gathering of Dunkirk Little Ships since 2015, locked into the marina over the course of the week preceding the Coronation and opened to the public on Friday and Sunday. A moving moment of the weekend came when wartime classic song, ‘We’ll meet again’ could be heard wafting across the marina and there was of course the celebratory ships salute of horns.
History abound, marina visitors could find out about each vessel in an information board displayed along the marina perimeter. The largest vessel on display was Greta, a 19th-century, 80-foot Thames Sailing Barge, while the smallest was Moonraker, a 27ft sailing sloop built in 1911.
St Katharine Docks Marina will proudly host the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships again in September at the 14th edition of the annual Classic Boat Festival (9th-10th September).