Organisers of the Beale Park Boat Show are delighted to announce that a special boat, MB278 Dunkirk Little Ship, will be on display at this year’s show, complete with bullet holes from her participation during the Dunkirk crossings. This historic boat is being exhibited for the first time at the Lower Basildon event, by Henley Sales and Charter Ltd
MB278 was built by W.White & Sons of Cowes on the Isle of Wight, during the early months of World War 1. It has since survived an attack in the Aegean Sea in 1918 and after five years in Malta, joined the battleship ‘Iron Duke’ in the Mediterranean.
Its first refit was carried out in Malta in 1929 where she received a new 22hp ferry engine before joining ‘HMS Queen Elizabeth’ in 1930, the first of the ‘fast battleships’.
Just before World War II, she was assigned to ‘HMS Erebus’ and nearly missed Dunkirk when she was crushed in an accident in Portsmouth. She has since been re-constructed using double-skin teak on rock elm and oak frames with a third skin and a new engine.
In late 2009, enthusiasts John and Louise Dudgeon learnt that the little ship had been abandoned and was at risk of being scrapped. In a bold move, the couple transported her to Michael Dunnett’s Boatyard on the Thames at Chertsey and arranged for the restoration which was completed by the yard last year.
Rumours that MB278 bears the scars of her Dunkirk service have recently been confirmed; repair of planking and damaged ribs were found in the bow where machine gun bullets passed through port and starboard sides.
MB278 is currently for sale through Henley Sales and Charter Ltd and offers a potential purchaser the opportunity of owning a piece of history as well as joining the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships which organises events including a return to Dunkirk, by sea, every five years.
The historic MB278 Dunkirk Little Ship, which is currently owned by Michael Dunnett’s Boatyard, will be afloat on the pontoon, in the orange area, as part of the Henley Sales and Charter exhibit at the Beale Park Boat Show this year - 10 - 12th June. Members of Henley Sales and Charter will be on-hand throughout the event to answer any questions.