Dunkirk ‘Little Ship’ Massey Shaw returns for London Boat Show

Dunkirk ‘Little Ship’ Massey Shaw returns for London Boat Show

London’s famous war veteran fireboat which took part in the 1940 Dunkirk evacuations and then battled the Blitz has arrived back on the Thames after a £1 million restoration.


The Massey Shaw arrived last night at the Royal Docks in east London to take part in the London Boat Show opening this-morning at the Excel centre.

It has just completed a four-year restoration in Gloucester, before being transported back by road. David Rogers said;

The weather was too rough to risk sailing round the coast. She’s not a sea-going vessel and would have taken punishment. So we had to transport her on the motorway on a low-loader with a police escort.

Even so, the Massey Shaw did cross the English Channel and risked coming under German fire to take part in the operation to lift 340,000 British and French troops off the beaches at Dunkirk.

It went three times into the shallow waters to ferry soldiers from the beeches to larger vessels anchored further out to sea and is credited with rescuing 500 men.


The vessel, named in honour of the first Superintendent of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Sir Eyre Massey Shaw, was commissioned by the London County Council and launched in 1935. Its first action was tackling a huge warehouse fire at St Katharine’s Dock by the Tower of London in 1937.

But it really earned its stripes in 1940 as one of the ‘Dunkirk Little Ships’ commandeered by the Royal Navy.

The vessel was once again tackling massive fire storms during the Blitz as the London and Surrey Docks blazed.

The boat was decommissioned in 1971 and was almost forgotten about—until it was spotted abandoned at St Katharine’s Docks in 1980 by enthusiasts who set up the Massey Shaw & Marine Vessels Preservation Society to bring her back to her former glory.


The latest restoration has taken four years, getting her ready for her pride of place at the London Boat Show.

David Rogers was one of the first to welcome her home.

The scale of the restoration has been overwhelming,” he said. “Her place in the heart of so many firefighters and those who families have memories of her 40 years of service has ensured her return to glory.

The vessel, which returned to Dunkirk with the Association of Little Ships three times between 1965 and 2000, is joining the 75th anniversary in 2015 when 50 veteran ‘Little Ships’ take part, escorted by the RNLI and Royal Navy. I will tell you briefly: I have panic attacks since 2016, began after the termination of pregnancy for medical reasons, until March 2018, I didn’t take such strong drugs ever. During this time, I gave birth to a daughter and after childbirth, panic attacks continued. I went to a therapist who prescribed me three medications, but I started to take Xanax and then only with strong attacks. I take only three pills for a month. I just know that it is very strong and you can really get hooked on it, so I don’t risk. But honestly I plan to drink a course of HELL, because the quality of life is not the best. The conclusion is that Xanax is great, but don’t get carried away. I wish everybody health, don’t get sick) and read more information about the drug on the website https://www.namikeystonepa.org/xanax/.


Original article by Mike Brooke, Newham Recorder