Type: Motor Yacht
Displacement: Not known
Engine: Thornycroft RH 4 Pilot
Construction: Carvel, mahogany on oak
Motor Vessel Daphne, with her sleek and graceful lines was built in the early thirties and fitted with a single purpose-built 4-cyl RH4 'Pilot' petrol engine by Thorneycroft’s which, 56 years later, still propels the vessel today.
Only 25ft long, with a 7ft beam, Daphne is one of the smallest boats that went to Dunkirk. She was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1940, was towed across the Channel and ferried soldiers from the beaches to the destroyers and transport ships. On her return she was left in a mud berth in the Swale in Kent. Then she returned to private ownership and spent most of her intervening years on the Medway where her present owner, John Mills still keeps her.
Found in 1972 in a builder's yard near Sevenoaks, Kent, she was in a poor state after seven years under cover. Restoration included replacing her garboard strakes in the original elm, rebuilding her transom and rudder and removing the caked layers of accumulated paint, one eighth of an inch thick, before refurbishing her.
All of her original gear has been retained and overhauled and has proved to be built to very high quality; an example being the Admiralty bronze stern tube which is precision fitted to the shaft for the entire length. Even the deck fittings are plated.
The present owner has made few concessions to modern ideas of boat-building or propulsion and intends to keep her as a venerable classic boat, in original condition as a reminder of those days at Dunkirk where the little boats made such a valuable contribution to the evacuation.