Glala now Mahalia

Boat Specification
Boat Name: 
Glala now Mahalia
Boat Type: 
Motor Yacht
Boat Length: 
77ft 6ins
Boat Beam: 
13ft
Boat Draft: 
5ft
Boat Displacement: 
51 tons
Boat Engine: 
Gardner 6LXB Diesel
Boat Construction: 
Teak on oak and elm
Boat Builder: 
Camper & Nicholson
Boat Year: 
1915
0

Glala's origins are unclear. Entries in Lloyd's List show that she was
designed by A R Luke and that construction began in 1915 at Luke &
Sons' yard on the River Hamble. For some reason she and a sister
vessel were put aside unfinished and lay incomplete until 1919 when
they were sold to Camper & Nicholson in Gosport, who fitted them out
as a motor yachts.

Glala was launched in 1920. Initially called Pampa II and then Doris,
she appears to have spent most of the 1920s on the Scottish Lochs. In
1935 she was bought by Lord Brockett of Mallaig who named her Cupid
and kept her on the West Coast of Scotland. In 1936 she was lying in
Greenock and this is where the aviation pioneer Sir Alan Cobham - or
rather his wife, Lady Gladys - found her. He bought her for £900, a
bargain even then, and spent £140 on a re-fit. He combined his wife's
name with his own and named her Glala. In 1938 she was taken over by
the engineering company AEC.

The Admiralty requisitioned Glala in October 1939 and she became a
Harbour Defence Patrol Yacht stationed at Sheerness on the Thames
estuary. A photograph taken in 1940 shows a machine gun on the
foredeck and depth charges on the stern. She appears in the naval
records of Saturday, 13 January 1940, "Sloop BITTERN found a German
mine which she towed towards Sheerness. It was secured to the Nord
Buoy and harbour defence patrol yacht GLALA (51grt) beached the mine
from there."

Like so many other vessels her moment came during Operation Dynamo.
Commanded by Sub-Lieutenant John Alexander Dow, RNVR, she set out for
Dunkirk at 0800 on 31st May 1940 in company with the yachts Amulree
and Caleta. She arrived in Dunkirk Roads at 1130 and, amidst air
raids, towed two whalers full of soldiers to the paddle steamer HMS
Golden Eagle. Glala then towed boats for the destroyers HMS Venomous
and HMS Vivacious. According to the Naval Staff History, "It was about
this time, 2000, that the yacht Glala (which was standing by to tow
the boats of the Vivacious from the beach) found that her tiller wire
was reduced to a single strand. Her Commanding Officer said, 'The
bombing and shelling which had been going on continuously, became
intense. A Captain RN in yacht No 1 of the Solent Patrol (i.e. Captain
Howson in the Ankh) ordered us to make for the open sea, and all the
small craft followed him out'".

Glala returned to Ramsgate for repairs on 2nd June, arriving at 1845.
From there she proceeded to Sheerness with her port engine out of
action. In June 1941 Glala became a hospital tender in Belfast with a
civilian crew, possibly ferrying the injured from the incoming
Atlantic convoys. In October 1943 she joined the Naval Fire Service in
Liverpool.

Glala is believed to have been cruising in the Mediterranean through
the 1950s and 60s. She returned to England in the 1970s and was in a
poor state of repair until renovated in 1978. She was then used as a
houseboat in Southampton. In 1985 she took part in a commemoration
return to Dunkirk. In 1989 she was substantially restored again and
the aging AEC engines were replaced with a pair of Gardner 6LXBs. In
2005 she was seaworthy enough to take part in a return to Dunkirk again.

In 2007 Glala found a new owner and the resources became available to
fully restore her. Despite considerable progress at the time of writing (Oct 2016)
Glala is once again on the market and looking for a sympathetic owner.

Source: 3, 4 & 5

Updated Oct 2016