Glenway

Boat Specification
Boat Name: 
Glenway
Boat Type: 
Barge
Boat Length: 
86 ft
Boat Beam: 
22 ft 6 ins
Boat Draft: 
7 ft 6 ins
Boat Displacement: 
82 tons
Boat Engine: 
2 x Petrol/paraffin
Boat Construction: 
Pitch pine on oak
Boat Builder: 
James Little, Rochester
Boat Year: 
1913

Old barges have a habit of surviving through all kinds of calamities. The Glenway has lived through more than most. She was built in 1913 by James Little at Rochester in Kent. Her owners are recorded as Mr. Hammond, and later a Mr. Wilks. In 1933 she was bought by West's at Gravesend who in 1934 fitted a diesel engine.

During the evacuation of Dunkirk, she was towed across the channel by the tug Crested Cock with a consignment of bread, munitions and medical supplies for our troops. Sub-Lieut. Bruno de Hamel, on patrol off the beaches of Dunkirk in his anti-submarine vessel spotted her there on the beach with 190 battle-weary troops on board, unable to refloat and with her engine out of commission. He first armed her to resist enemy air attacks and then, being an experienced yachtsman, decided that she could be sailed home. He got her away laden with soldiers of the 27th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, but during the sixteen-hour crossing twenty of them died of their wounds. When the Glenway reached Dover, she was picked up by a passing tug and towed into port.

After the war she went back to work for West's of Gravesend, but in 1951 had a bad accident in the Thames Estuary, went ashore and lost her load. She was then laid up for a long period and never worked again. Later she became a house-boat at Otterham Quay where she sank and was re-floated.

New owners then took her to Strood. She was fully restored at Ipswich and had even regained her original rigging when she was caught at the top of the tide on the jetty. This caused her to fall off, badly damaging both herself and the Hydrogen (another barge) which was caught underneath her.

Again, it was planned to restore her for conversion into a restaurant but when this did not materialise she was given to the Maldon sea scouts. One day, full of water, she sank at her moorings. She changed ownership once more, had an engine installed and was moved to the Dolphin Barge Museum at Sittingbourne in Kent, getting caught in a force nine gale on the way. Her present owner, Hugh Pore, is planning to rebuild her. There is life in her stout oak timbers yet and old barges simply refuse to die.

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 11

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