When the Admiralty's Requisitioning Officer called at E.F. Elkins' boatyard at Christchurch in Hampshire, a wave of concern about his intentions swept over the owners of boats lying there. To some, their boat is their most precious possession, to others it is their living and no-one knew what he was looking for and the purpose for which the boats were wanted.
In fact, Christchurch was an ideal place for him to look because of its shallow waters, which meant that it contained ships of modest draft. The drawback was its distance from Dover and Ramsgate, where the Dunkirk evacuation fleet was assembled.
Reg Yebsley, who joined Elkins as a partner in 1930 and was there until the firm went out of business in 1976, recalls how they loaded some of their boats onto low-loaders, but then had to unload them again, when they heard that Dunkirk was over. He also remembers Fleury II, which was built in their yard. She had been designed by Eric French of Poole, from whose drawing board came most of the Elkins boats of 32ft - 36ft before the war. Her name was given to her by the Fleurets, her one-time owners. Later she was renamed Mada, by a later owner, Mr. Adam, who made up her name by reversing his own.
In 2010 Mada changed owners and the Dargavel family who are the new owners have brought Mada upstream to Marlow on the River Thames.
Updated Jan 2011