In May 1965 to mark the 25th anniversary of 'Operation Dynamo' Raymond Baxter the famous radio and TV presenter organised and assembled a fleet of 43 of the original Little Ships of Dunkirk to return to Dunkirk to commemorate the epic of the evacuation of the BEF in 1940, in which they played such a significant role. It was decided that such a unique assembly should not be allowed to disperse into obscurity and the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships was subsequently formed in 1966. The object of the Association is to keep alive the spirit of Dunkirk by perpetuating for posterity the identity of those Little Ships that went to the aid of the British Expeditionary Force during Operation Dynamo (the evacuation of Dunkirk) in 1940 by forming a registered association of their present-day owners and of those closely associated.
Qualification for full membership is simple; the current ownership of a proven Dunkirk Little Ship. Membership wins the right for that vessel to wear the Association's warranted House Flag, the Cross of St George (the flag of the Admiralty) defaced with the Arms of Dunkirk. Little Ships are also entitled to display a plaque marked 'DUNKIRK 1940'.
Over 100 Little Ships are presently represented by members of the Association.
The Association organises several meetings 'on the water' each year where the Little Ships may be seen and appreciated by the public. Every 5 years the Little Ships, supported by the Royal Navy, return under their own power to Dunkirk. Considering the youngest Little Ship is now over 75 years old, this is no small undertaking.
In 2008 the Association was privileged to have HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO accept the invitation to become the Association's Honorary Admiral.
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