In 1940 nearly 1000 small boats, later called Little Ships, went to the aid of the British Army and her
allies trapped by the Germans at Dunkirk in France. Many were lost on that 10 day operation, others came
home and after the war most of them returned to their original role of pleasure boating.
Many were built of wood. Lack of care and maintenance resulted in a steady loss to our heritage of the, by
now famous, Little Ships - it was easier and cheaper to take a chain saw to their hulls and burn them rather
than restore them to their earlier condition.
In 1993 a number of forward-thinking owners realised that this loss should at least be reduced if not stopped.
formed the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust
as a charity with the aim of preserving our heritage and expanding
the boat-building and restoration skills necessary for the future. It is also a desire that each rescued Little
will be brought to full operational condition. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston is the President of the Trust and
the trust was honoured by His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent accepting the role of Patron.
The objective of saving Little Ships and then passing them on to dedicated new owners for restoration has
in fifteen being saved. Currently the Trust has three of those Little Ships in its possession, each undergoing
Many years have been spent searching for a suitable location for restoration and education. First at Tilbury
we were made welcome by Sun Tugs and the Port of Tilbury) and next at Marchwood near Southampton. Presently the
Trust has built a workshop with good access near the cruise ship terminal berth 50 in Southampton.