Jubilee: Dunkirk rescue boat to join celebratory flotilla

A FORMER lifeboat involved in the rescue of more than 50 soldiers during the Dunkirk evacuation has been chosen to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Seventy-two years to the day the vessel was used to save 51 servicemen, the 55ft boat Stenoa will be amongst 1,000 boats when it floats down the Thames in nine days’ time.

Stenoa will be one of about 50 boats from the Dunkirk Little Ships Association taking part in the seven-mile flotilla, which is the biggest gathering on the Thames for more than 350 years.

Tim Dansie, director of national estate agents Jackson-Stops and Staff in Ipswich and owner of the boat, said: “Taking part in the pageant is a fitting tribute to a boat with an amazing history.

“All lifeboats on the east and south coast were called in to help with the Dunkirk evacuation.

“The boats were taken across by Naval crews and our boat took troops from the beaches out to the waiting destroyers. At one stage, she was marooned on the sands for over four hours.”

From Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge, more than a million people are expected to gather to watch the floating spectacle on Sunday, June 3.

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Mr Dansie and his family have owned the boat for the past 42 years after Tim’s father bought her from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution at Newhaven, in Sussex, where she was involved in saving 148 lives during 30 years of service.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will sail down the Thames aboard the Royal Barge, a specially converted state-of-the-art cruise boat designed to evoke the opulence of royal maritime traditions.

They will be joined on board by senior members of the Royal family, including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Mr Dansie said: “We will be part of the Avenue of Sails close to Wapping and in full view of Tower Bridge. The Royal Barge will be between us and Tower Bridge, having come down the Thames at the front of the procession.

“The Royal Barge will moor against HMS President, the Royal Navy’s land-based site, and the Queen and the Royal family will review the pageant as the boats sail by, and we will have the pleasure of a similar view.

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