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Little ship with a big heart

PUBLISHED: 14:42 09 November 2007 | UPDATED: 14:55 20 February 2013

Dunkirk

Dunkirk

One of the famous boats that played such a vital role in rescuing British troops at Dunkirk in the second world war is on the market in Datchet.Tessa Harris met its owner and discovered its remarkable history...


One of the famous boats that played such a vital role in rescuing British troops at Dunkirk in the second world war is on the market in Datchet.Tessa Harris met its owner and discovered its remarkable history...


EVER since he was a young boy, recently retired headmaster John Hayes had been interested in the valiant evacuation of British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940 by a fleet of civilian boats, supporting the ships of the Royal Navy. "I was born in 1942 and the story of how these little ships acted so bravely had always fascinated me," says John, who lives in Wokingham.



In 1992 he decided to go to the annual commemorative cruise, held every five years, of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, held in that particular year in Ipswich. "I heard all sorts of fascinating stories when I was there and I made enquiries to see if there were any Little Ships for sale." Through his investigations, Jonh managed to track down one in Dover called Tom Tit.



The previous owner had managed to track down the man who had bravely sailed the little boat across the Channel to pick up survivors from the Normandy beaches. His name was Ron Tomlinson and, in a sworn affidavit, he told his remarkable story so that it would survive along with the Little Ship.


Read the whole, fascinating story in our November issue. Tom Tit is now moored at Datchet and is for sale with a guide price of £85,000 through boat builders Stanley & Thomas, a firm which was, incidentally, established the same year that Tom Tit was built - 1938. www.stanleyandthomas.co.uk

For more information visit www.stanleyandthomas.co.uk



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