Type: Motor Yacht
Beam: 8ft 6ins
Displacement: 5 tons
Engine: Chrysler petrol
Construction: Mahogany on oak
Builder: Chrysler Marine Co, Michigan USA
Boat Year: 1934
In 1934 the Chrysler Marine Co. of Michigan, USA, built a 26ft, 4-berth motor yacht for racehorse owner Dorothy Paget. They installed one of their own 80hp petrol engines, capable of pushing the boat to 20 knots, and in 1938 she was shipped to England to compete in speed trials off the Isle of Wight.
When comedian Tommy Trinder decided to buy her in 1939, the boat, an American Chriscraft, had recently been modified by a ferry operator at Shanklin, Isle of Wight, who used her for taking a dozen people at a time for trips around the bay. Brother Fred Trinder recalled: "Tommy sent me to pick up the boat at Shanklin and deliver it to him on the Thames. I didn't know how to get her there from the Isle of Wight. Tommy told me 'just to follow the ferries, and one of them would lead me up the Thames!'"
The boat was moored at Shoreham, Sussex when she was requisitioned by the Navy for Dunkirk. Trinder changed her name to Chalmondesleigh after the imaginary friend and confidant he frequently mentioned in his act - and had this name painted along the side of the vessel. "It took the sign-writer about three days to complete," according to Fred. Pronounced Chumley, the name was shortened after the war to this spelling. Apart from the trip to Dunkirk, Chumley more or less stayed on the Thames apart from a few coastal trips. Fred lived on her for a while at Shoreham after he was demobbed, and they did once try to take her to France. However, Fred had no passport and his 'crew' was a three-man musical comedy act then appearing at the London Palladium, all wearing admiral's uniform. Such was their navigating skill, that they determined where they were by reading the names of the hotels on shore through binoculars, then looking them up in the guide books on board. "Just turn left at the Eddystone Light," said Trinder; but they never made it.
Tommy Trinder sold Chumley in 1949 and her whereabouts over the next decade are unknown. In 1959 Harry Roades found her in a boat sale at Wargrave-on-Thames. In the bilges were shell heads and half a ton of pig iron which had been used as ballast, and which he removed. In 1968 the boat was bought by Harry's two sons and after restoration she took part in the Return in 1995. In 2000 she was purchased by John and Margaret Hoskins who refitted her again.
More recently under the ownership of Roy and Sally, and following another extensive refit, she is again pride of the fleet.
She will, to many, forever be associated with the memory of Vic Viner, a veteran who many were proud to have met.
Chumley became Vic's preferred mode of transport at ADLS. events for several memorable years - in no small measure due to their immense pride and care in conveying such a precious cargo.
Still one of the most recognisable (and smallest) boats at many of our functions....