Boat Type: Fishing Boat
Boat Length: 50ft
Boat Beam: 13ft 3ins
Boat Draft: 3ft 6ins
Engine: Mercedes OM 602
Builder: De Boer, Lemmer
Boat Year: 1910
Back in 1934 a beautiful ship called the “Chantecler” did several sailing trips in England. Ramsgate was her home port, and one of her favourite places to anchor was the Swale.
Ernest Bisley and his father in law, Harry Dipple, were the proud owners of the “Chantecler”.
As war broke out and things got worse, sailing trips were no longer possible because it became too dangerous.
In May 1940 the French and British soldiers in northern France were being pushed back towards Dunkirk and following the order to commandeer all suitable vessels Chantecler was taken up for Operation Dynamo.
She left the UK at night, with 8 crew members. Initially it almost went wrong when they were nearly shot by their own people!
At day break they heard an engine of a torpedo boat. The crew didn't panic, but they decided to quickly change course and turn off their engine (to reduce their waves).
It worked and they managed to reach the beach at Dunkirk to begin rescuing the soldiers.
To board the soldiers was one thing, but to subsequently leave was very hard because the beach of Dunkirk was on lee shore at the time, so the waves were pushing the “Chantecler” hard back on the beach. The crew didn't give up and finally managed to find their way back at sea.
Still they were not safe as they crossed a minefield. This wasn’t the only problem, due to all the rifles on board the compass was way offset and the crew almost navigated the vessel past the UK.
This story has a happy ending because they managed to reach the UK in time and the soldiers were saved.
In 1945 when the war was over the owners had become too old to sail.
In 1947 Mr. Bisley sold the “Chantecler” to a marine officer D.G. Silcock who restored the boat at HM Dockyards.
Over the following years the “Chantecler” went from owner to owner. Eventually an American bought the vessel and sailed her back to the Netherlands.
It was in 1990 Han van Veen saw the “Chantecler” moored alongside a quay near his house. He fell in love with her and luckily convinced the American to sell his boat.
For the next 15 years Han and his wife worked very hard on this beautiful piece of history to recondition the her.
The “Chantecler” becomes an honourable family possession. In 2010 the proud owner Han gives the “Chantecler” to his son, Tom van Veen. Tom and his girlfriend are also taking very good care for her. “Chantecler” not only survived all her adventures in the 20th century but is still going strong in the 21st century.
Tom van Veen 2020.