THE ASSOCIATION OF DUNKIRK LITTLE SHIPS - How it all started
In Spring 1964 Raymond Baxter purchased one of the Little Ships and that Summer was flying to France by British Air Ferries for a family holiday. The plane flew over Dunkirk and he pointed the Beaches out to his son, Graham, who was then 13 years old. Graham asked his father if he realised that the next year (1965) it would be 25 years since 'L'ORAGE' had been "doing her thing down there so why don't we take her back?"
To cut a long story short, Raymond approached the Sunday Times (whose then Editor, Dennis Hamilton, was rescued from the Beaches). A letter from Raymond was published in the Sunday Times in October 1964 saying that he planned to take his Little Ship back the following June, and if any other owners wished to join him would they please write to the newspaper. The Sunday Times had agreed to help with the organisation if they got 12 replies. 43 boats made the crossing from Ramsgate with Royal Naval assistance and support from the RNLI. The BBC provided Radio and Television coverage.
At a cocktail party given by the Sunday Times in December 1965 to show off their Press coverage, both Commander Charles Lamb and John Knight (who had participated in the Return) separately suggested to Raymond Baxter (who already had similar thoughts) that an Association should be formed.
We are a not for profit association and are not a Charity or a Trust. Although many of the individual ships may be part of trusts, they are not run or organised by the ADLS, whilst we encourage all members, private, trust and charitable alike we do not raise or ask for funds.