When the call came on the 29th May 1940 to rescue the stranded troops from the Dunkirk beaches everything from cockleshell boats upwards answered the call. the river Thames was blocked by a flotilla of vessels of every size, manned by young and old with one destination in mind [Ramsgate harbour then on to Dunkirk]
A great many did not return as they were bombed or machine gunned by enemy aircraft. Some losing all hands as they picked up the troops from Dunkirk beaches, 700 little ships were to take part in operation Dynamo
Sadly 250 of the little ships did not return.
As a result of operation Dynamo the little ships and naval vessels off the Dunkirk beaches and harbour between the 29th May and the 4thJune
337,131 British and French troops were evacuated, approximately a third of these were taken of the beaches by the little ships.
Most of the army had been saved snatching glory out of defeat. The whole country would breath a sigh of relief and give thanks,
Coronia [Watchful] had worked from the beaches taking out troops to the bigger ferries and destroyers which would be anchored about a mile from the shore for the first days of the operation, then towards the end of the operation she made three more trips across the channel to bring home 900 more troops home ready to fight again.
The crew of Watchful saying to the men when she was full to capacity WE WILL BE BACK and she did return time after time
Lt A.H Turner received the D.S.C during this operation to commemorate her gallant service as part of this fleet which braved the enemy in those fateful days of the summer of 1940 when the fate of France was sealed and the battle of Britain was about to begin Watchful [Coronia] PROUDLY flew the flag of the association of Dunkirk little ships at her masthead
on December the 12th 1945 returned to her owners and was named M.V Brit . in 1991 she was brought to Scarborough were she won the hearts of holiday makers and residents alike many fond memories have been made on Coronia parents and grandparents escorted there children on many a trip ” happy days “
THE plan for the coronia is to bring her up to mca standards also to serve morning coffees and afternoon teas as it was in the forties and there will be a person to tell her history .With this in mind we hope to employ ten staff these jobs will be of a skilled nature we would hope these jobs could go to people without work and give them new hope as our little ship did all those years ago also maybe schools would be interested in bringing pupils a board to bring to life the studies in history this little ship will never make us any money but we believe shes worth the restoration.
PLEASE HELP US TO RESTORE THIS LITTLE SHIP
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM