Ships, like people, seem to be divided into those who never budge from the place where they were born, and others, by contrast, which are only happy when they are on the move and sometimes end up at the other end of the world. The working barges of the East Coast of England and the Medway have never gone far from the yards where they were built and the Thames passenger launches and Gentlemen's cruisers of the thirties still carry on in the tradition established in that leisurely age before the clouds of war gathered over Europe and, like their owners were called to serve their country.
Aberdonia is one of the many Thornycroft cruisers built at Hampton-on-Thames just before the war which went to Dunkirk where she is thought to have made four trips to the beaches even before they had time to repaint her in battleship grey. She was then requisitioned to work as a patrol boat in the Royal Navy, attached to HMS Fervant. At that time they renamed her Navigator and she is known to have worked with the RN Minesweepers and took sealed orders from the Admiralty to convoys lying off Shoeburyness and Deal.
Once, at this time, she narrowly escaped destruction when a German bomber was shot down and the pilot bravely attempted to crash into our ships as he went down into the sea. Wreckage hit the starboard side of Aberdonia and thirty years later her then owner removed scorched timbers during restoration.
Her present owners, Paul and Bridget King, have completed the restoration including fitting two new Perkins Diesel engines. She is now at home in Chelsea Harbour, the flagship of Paul's Company, Classic Charters.