75th Anniversary Return to Dunkirk 21st to 25th May 2015

The Association has received an official invitation from the Mayor of Dunkirk to return to Dunkirk in May 2015 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Operation Dynamo. It is expected that over 50 Little Ships escorted by the RNLI and the Royal Navy will take part in the Return.

The Association of Dunkirk Little Ships has organised a Commemorative Return every five years since 1970. Despite the average age of the Little Ships now being close to 80 years it is anticipated that this Return may be the biggest yet. The task of taking this many elderly, traditional vessels across one of the world busiest shipping lanes is by no means insignificant. In fact the event is quite unique. With the exception of a small number of vessels that are operated by 'Trusts', all Little Ships are privately owned and receive no financial or other assistance from any public body or NGO.

The programme detailed below is subject to change and is weather dependant. Even the task of getting the Little Ships to Ramsgate can be challenging. Generally winds up to force four are considered acceptable. But a 'four' can easily become a 'five' with exciting results. Readers may wish to view the following link to understand how the Little Ships can move around in, even, moderate seas; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebT13sgtboM .

The provisional programme is shown below:
Saturday 16th to Tuesday 19th May - Little Ships gather in Ramsgate.

• Friday 15th May
Little Ships based on the Upper Thames gather at Teddington. Between 16 and 18 Little Ships are expected.

• Saturday 16th May
Little Ships depart Teddington around 1.30pm enter King George V lock en-route to the Royal Docks, London around 4.30pm. Potential evening cruise as a part of the 'Museums at Night' events. Little Ships slip at 1900 for the sailpast. Skippers barbecue aboard the 'Oiler'.

• Sunday 17th May
A day of events based around the Royal Docks. Around 20 Little Ships are expected to be available for viewing.

• Monday 18th May
Depart Royal Docks (lock out to Queenborough. Dinner at the Queenborough Yacht Club.

• Tuesday 19th May
Depart Queenborough for Ramsgate at 2pm. Dinner at Temple Yacht Club.

• Wednesday 20th May
Ramsgate Dynamo Day celebrations to include an ADLS service at the Sailor's Church, a visit by VIPs and a parade through the town as follows:
10.30am Church Service for the crews of the Little Ship at the Sailor’s Church in Ramsgate
11.30am Service for local people in a marquee at Ramsgate Royal Harbour (update 25 April - no tickets available but service will be relayed by loudspeaker).
11.30am-12.30pm Little Ships open to the public (update 25 April - no tickets available but West Pier open to the public throughout).
12.30pm Military Parade honouring the people connected with the Operation Dynamo
1.30pm Thanet Mayors Reception for guests at Ramsgate Maritime Museum
3.00pm VIP Inspection of the Dunkirk Little Ships
3.30-4.30pm Little Ships open to the public (update 25 April - no tickets available).
7.00pm 1940s Night in the Marquee on the Harbour
Skippers briefing early evening (ADLS crews only).

• Thursday 21st May
Passage to Dunkirk. All vessels to be slipped and away by 0830.
0900 - Fly past by Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

• Friday 22nd May
Fall back day for passage to Dunkirk if weather conditions prevent the crossing the previous day.
Service at the British Memorial at the Dunkirk Military Cemetery, route de Furnes à Dunkerque - 1530 local
Reception and presentation for ADLS skippers at the Dunkirk Town Hall - Place Charles Valentin - 1800 local (invitation only)

• Saturday 23rd May
The main commemorative event will be the official service at the Allied Beach Memorial - Digue des Alliés à Dunkerque to be held late-morning. Because of the tides it will not be possible to take the Little Ships off-shore during the service.
1530 local - parade of military vehicles, bands and local organisations through the streets of the Dunkergue
Return Supper – coaches depart 1830 (invitation only)

• Sunday 24th May
1000 - Memorial and unveiling of plaque at the site of MV Crested Eagle (paddle steamer attacked and sunk with 300 soldiers onboard
(all of which were killed). Veterans attending include an RN Veteran whose brother was lost during the sinking.

1130 - ADLS commemorative service, led by Hon Chaplin Gordon Warren, on the quay side adjacent to the Little Ships, Bassin du commerce
Evening reception for the crews at the Dunkirk Museum (provisional)

• Monday 25th May
Little Ships depart Dunkirk for Ramsgate. Just outside the harbour the Little Ships will ‘congregate’ to allow individual skippers and crews to lay wreaths if they so wish.

• Tuesday 26th May
Fall-back day; Little Ships depart Dunkirk for Ramsgate if weather unsuitable the previous day. Alternatively rest day in Ramsgate prior to making passage for home or Ostend at Anchor.

For further information on the 75th Anniversary Return to Dunkirk contact ADLS Commodore, Mr Ian Gilbert, commodore@adls.org.uk
For general information please contact the Events Secretary Mr Trevor Phillips, events@adls.org.uk

All press inquiries in the first instance to Hon PRO, Mr Jason Carly, pro@adls.org.uk

This page will be updated regularly.
Last updated 27 April 2015

21. May 2015 (All day) - 25. May 2015 (All day)