The Manxman

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Amber
User offline. Last seen 1 year 45 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 14/02/2015

Hi everyone,

I recently found out that one of my family members was a soldier who's life was saved by a Dunkirk little ship. He was 20 years old at the time and remembers the events very clearly. He told me exactly what happened to him and how he escaped, but there is one detail that still confuses him to this day. He remembers getting into a small boat (possibly a paddle boat?) that was called the Manxman. I'm not sure about the spelling of this, it could be manksman, manxmann or any other spelling, but that was how he pronounced it. He was adamant that this was the name of the boat, but later on after the war he was told that there was no small boat or ship with this name involved in the events of Dunkirk. Ever since I was told this I haven't been able to find any ship that matches his description, and yet he seemed to clear that this was the name, and he remembers the war so well! It would be completely out of character for him to get a detail like this wrong, but he has never been able to find the Manxman again. I would love it if anyone has any ideas of what could have happened to the ship or if it could have been renamed. If anyone could help me at all I would be delighted, I would love to be able to tell him that I had found his little ship! I am no expert in history or Dunkirk but this mystery has peaked my interest and I would love any kind of help of information at all. Thank you so much for reading!

Amber

Cameron Graham
User offline. Last seen 5 weeks 2 days ago. Offline
Joined: 21/06/2009
MANXMAN

Excerpt: Second World War: HMS Caduceus (aka MANXMAN)
The Manxman had started the
Great War in the colours of the Midland Railway Company, and had been converted to a seaplane carrier. During the Second World War, however, she was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport as a personnel ship. Manxman served alongside seven of her Steam Packet sisters during Operation Dynamo. On 29 May, she was one of ten personnel ships which together took off 14,760 troops from the East Pier. She returned to Dunkirk on the morning of 2 June, when the operation was getting near its close, and embarked 177 troops. In all, Manxman evacuated 2,394 men.
No sooner had she returned from her final journey to Dunkirk, she was ordered west to Dartmouth, where she had the ironical experience of being fired on by a small guard boat that had obviously not been alerted to her arrival. Within a few hours she was redirected to Southampton, and this was to be the start of the most active phase of Manxman's war.
The evacuation of the ports of north-west France was beginning, and Manxman's crew knew the coast well, having spent some months before Dunkirk carrying troops to Le Havre and Cherbourg. Within what seemed a few days she made a succession of trips to the French ports under the command of Captain P. B. Cowley. At Cherbourg she embarked retreating Allied troops as the enemy approached the port, and returned to Southampton, often under air attack. Once back on the South Coast of England she disembarked the men she had brought back, refuelled, and was off again almost at once. It was dangerous and sleepless work well remembered by veterans from the Manxman's officers and crew, among whom were Chief Officer Lyndhurst Callow, and Second Officer A. W. G. Kissack, who later became the company's Marine Superintendent. As the days advanced the shelling came nearer, the raids more frequent, and the Cherbourg harbour area necessarily more congested with survival boats, wrecks and the debris of battle. It was "Dunkirk" again, but on a smaller scale. Meanwhile the Manxman, with no protective armament of her own, continued to venture in and out of the firing.

M Pope
User offline. Last seen 2 years 21 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 22/05/2015
HMS Manxman

Amber,

Read the Wiki entry, your father was correct. The confusion could be that the name HMS Manxman was passed to a minelaying vessel which was famous for its exploits and its speed.

Amber
User offline. Last seen 1 year 45 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 14/02/2015
Thank you!

Thank you!

Mark Webb
User offline. Last seen 14 weeks 5 days ago. Offline
Joined: 23/07/2013
Manxman

Amber,
If you Google 'TSS Manxman (1904)' you will find her on Wiki....a 330ft Turbine Steam Launch. You will also find several pictures of her.
One of the key reference books to the evacuation is 'Dunkirk' written by A D Divine, she is mentioned several times. I'm sure others will find and know much more about her......
Wiki also states- she was withdrawn in February 1949, no longer fit for use, and was subsequently laid up at Barrow-in-Furness. Manxman was scrapped in August 1949 at Preston, Lancashire.
Happy hunting!

Amber
User offline. Last seen 1 year 45 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 14/02/2015
Thank you very much!

Thank you very much!