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Elsa II (Dunkirk Little Ship)

Elsa II (Dunkirk Little Ship)
No 15 in my series of Dunkirk Little Ships,

Life has gone full circle for Elsa II, which was built at Thorneycroft’s in 1929. She was owned by a former Thorneycroft apprentice, Fred Bourne together with his wife Sheila, who was the secretary of The Thames Vintage Boat Club.
Elsa II is one of the many ships whose presence at Dunkirk is well documented, but no detailed records of her achievements survive. However, she has one of the oldest brass commemorative plaques given to Little Ships even before the A.D.L.S. came into being. She took part in the 1975 and 1980 returns to Dunkirk and, on the earlier occasion the owner, John Bailey and his wife rather cheekily asked the Mayor of Dunkirk if he would come aboard for tea. When the Mayor arrived with his entire entourage, he found that Elsa II was only 32ft. long and there was hardly room for him and the owners inside the cabin! Elsa II has survived particularly well and has hardly been changed since she was built. Of course there have been moments of peril, like the time when she got stuck on a sandbank eight miles off the Dutch coast. Everyone expected her to break up under the relentless pounding of the waves. Then, suddenly, she was lifted clear and floated away to safety.
During the next three years, she helped to conduct sea trials of new life-saving radio beacons in the Channel for Kelvin Hughes and International Marine Radio. Her 'Handy Billy' petrol engines were converted to paraffin but paraffin is no longer freely available at marine filling stations. So they had to resort to pushing supermarket trolleys laden with 5-gallon drums across cobbled streets in Holland to where she lay in the harbour. Under Fred Bourne's ownership at Weybridge, Elsa II was in good hands. He was a yacht chandler and kept her at the bottom of his garden.
Seen here sailing on the 2015 return to Dunkirk.
Thanks to the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships website


volker_hmbg, Chriss D. - " Hauts de France....., kiiti, William Sutherland and 3 other people have particularly liked this photo

7 comments - The latest ones
Ruth club
Another fabulous image John. It’s always a pleasure to read about the ‘little ships’ too.
20 months ago.
Ruth club
Thank you for posting your wonderful image to
Interesting History
20 months ago.
Ruth club
Thank you for posting your wonderful image to
Dunkirk Little Ships
20 months ago.
Ruth club
Thank you for posting your wonderful image to
Interesting Aeroplanes and Boats
20 months ago.
Jean club
A lovely image of this beautiful and historic little boat.
20 months ago.
 William Sutherland
William Sutherland club
Fabulous capture!

Admired in:
20 months ago.
HappySnapper club
Little beauty John, 90 years young and good as new, I wonder how many troops got on board at any one time.
20 months ago.

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