Fri. May 24th, 2019

Dunkirk Little Ship to be floating museum on River Clyde

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Skylark IX Heritage Lottery Fund
Skylark IX sank in Loch Lomond in 2010 after falling into disrepair

A Dunkirk Little Ship, which rescued 600 Allied troops during World War Two, is to be restored and turned into a floating museum on the River Clyde.

Skylark IX will be saved thanks to £404,000 of funding from The National Lottery.

The work will be carried out by a specialist boatbuilding team working with recovering drug addicts.

The boat, built as a passenger cruiser in 1927, become part of the Dunkirk Little Ships fleet of 850 boats.

The Skylark was used for cruises on Loch Lomond

It was built to hold 75 cruise passengers but ended up sailing from Ramsgate in south-east England to Dunkirk in France between 26 May and 4 June 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo.

The Little Ships helped rescue more than 336,000 British and French soldiers who were trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk.

The Skylark in its days as a cruise ship

However, due to disrepair, Skylark IX sank in Loch Lomond in 2010.

It was raised by the Royal Navy following a campaign by veterans supporting the Skylark IX Recovery Trust.

Skylark cruised Loch Lomond for three decades

It is currently located at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.

Anne Dyer, from the trust, said: “Not one day did we ever believe we could not face this huge challenge and in true Dunkirk spirit we never gave up.

“The support from the community has been huge and our vision to continue the Skylark story will ring out for generations to come.”

The Skylark was raised from the bed of the River Leven in Balloch
The Skylark had fallen into disrepair before it sank

Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said Skylark IX was “a part of Scotland’s WW2 history”.

She added: “As part of her recovery, others will recover too, learning skills that will help secure them a better future.

“I look forward to seeing this little ship’s transformation and the enjoyment and learning she will bring to very many people.”

The scheme to rebuild the boat is part of a skills development programme run by Dumbarton-based charity, Alternatives.

Dunkirk Little Ships cross Channel on anniversary

Winston Churchill called the Dunkirk mission “a miracle of deliverance”

The evacuation from Dunkirk

  • On 20 May 1940, Nazi German troops reached the English Channel at Abbeville in northern France cutting off the British army
  • Around 340,000 men, including 121,000 French and Belgian soldiers, retreated to the beaches of Dunkirk
  • Between 26 May and 4 June a ragtag British fleet, ranging from battleships to pleasure boats, braved the sea to rescue the stranded soldiers
  • The incredible courage shown by British civilians became known as the “Dunkirk spirit”

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