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“Anything to help tell the story of this brave little ship from Great Yarmouth” - Dunkirk ship appeal

PUBLISHED: 11:49 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:35 17 August 2018

The MV Coronia at Hartlepool
Picture: Richard Banks

The MV Coronia at Hartlepool Picture: Richard Banks

Archant

She was one of the little ships of Dunkirk who helped to rescue tens of thousands of stranded Allied solders as German forces advanced on the 1940’s beachhead.

The Brit operating out of Great Yarmouth
Picture: Richard BanksThe Brit operating out of Great Yarmouth Picture: Richard Banks

The former Great Yarmouth pleasure HM Tender Watchful was based in the town when she was called up to take part Operation Dynamo in May 1940.

As well as ferrying troops to larger vessels, HM Tender Watchful brought home 900 troops in three dangerous crossings back to England.

And now the historic ship is being restored so she can return to Dunkirk in May 2020 to mark the 80th anniversary of the evacuation.

However its owners are appealing for information to help restore at her home in Hartlepool as there are no photographs or images of what she looked like during her war service.

British troops line up on the beach at Dunkirk to await evacuation. Picture: IWM/PUBLIC DOMAINBritish troops line up on the beach at Dunkirk to await evacuation. Picture: IWM/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Her owners Graham Beasley and Pauline Field and volunteers linked to the boat also believe she was crewed by Great Yarmouth sailors, except for her commanding officer.

However the name of the commanding officer is not known and her owners would also like to commemorate the names of all of her crew who served on her - leading to an appeal for information from anyone in Great Yarmouth who may have knowledge of them to get in touch.

After Dunkirk HM Tender Watchful spent the rest of the war carrying out coastal patrols, replenishment missions and also helped to rescue downed air crew.

Before the war she was called Brit and was built in Great Yarmouth in 1936 and she took tourists to see the seals at Scroby Sands.

After the war she was based out of Scarborough as the Yorkshire Lady as a pleasure cruiser and in the late 1960s she was named Coronia.

After being sold in 1985 she was based out of Gibraltar until 1991 when she returned to Scarborough, where she was retired in 2010.

She is now known as Coronia.

Volunteer Richard Banks said: “We really need names of those who served on her and personal stories, artefacts and photos, anything to help tell the story of this brave little ship from Great Yarmouth.”

Anyone with information on her war time service can email hmtwatchful@btinternet.com

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