Ramsgate’s famous Dunkirk Little Ship, Sundowner, celebrated her 100 year birthday in 2012 by taking part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
Originally built for the Royal Navy, she served throughout WWI as a capital ship’s steam pinnace.
After being converted in the 1930’s to a ‘gentleman’s motor yacht’ by Commander Herbert Lightoller RNR, DSC and Bar, the senior surviving officer of the Titanic, Sundowner was taken by him to France for the 1940 evacuation from Dunkirk (returning with 130 men), this together with the other small vessels, many of which still remain afloat and form the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships flotilla.
The vessel was converted to an armed patrol boat and spent the remaining WWII years helping to guard the Thames estuary.
Sundowner has been part of the Ramsgate Maritime museum’s floating exhibits since 1987 and will continue to represent the town at the regular naval events held around the south coast and in Dunkirk (the Sundowner attended the Dunkirk commemoration event in 2015).
During 2013, the vessel also attended the annual commemoration service (at Ipswich) and also visited Chatham for a maritime event in July.
Provided and Written
by John Watkins,
Volunteer boat’s officer, RMM.