Type: Harbour Ferry
Beam: 12ft 6ins
Displacement: 12 tons
Engine: 3 cyl Lister Diesel
Construction: Carvel, Pitch pine on oak
Builder: J Harvey, Poole
At 11 o'clock on 29th May,1940, Ferry Nymph and her sister ship Southern Queen were ferrying passengers across the entrance of Poole Harbour for J. Harvey & Sons, her owners who had built both vessels, when a telephone message was received from the Admiralty ordering both ships to Dover. There Ferry Nymph was taken over by Lt-Cmdr. Gerrard RN, re-fuelled and despatched to Dunkirk. Her shallow draft made her ideal for the task of embarking troops from the beaches and she is known to have taken 72 on one trip and 90 on another across the Channel to Ramsgate. Eventually she was towed back to Poole in July with many scars in her hull, as well as empty cartridge cases and Dunkirk sand in her bilges.
She continued operating as a ferry for her original owners until 1953, when she was sold to the Great Yarmouth Ferry Company on the East Coast, giving them satisfactory service for ten years. She was then sold to Percy Fields, a local fisherman, who re-named her Shepherd Lad, then converted and used her as a herring drifter for 22 years. He hit the local headlines when he was apprehended by the government fisheries officer for attempting to land a catch of more than 5,000 kilos of fish during a herring ban. "You can't sell your catch here," said the officer. So, Percy landed his fish and invited the locals to help themselves. He didn't break the law, which forbade him to sell them!
In 1985 she was sold again, and her new owner discovered her previous name and distinguished war record just in time to join the fleet on their 50th Anniversary return to Dunkirk in 1940.
In 1994 Ferry Nymph sank in rough weather off Holehaven but was saved by members of the Association and once more restored.
She is now in new ownership.
Thu, 03/06/2010 - 20:53
As I worked for Davis's and Harveys boats in Poole I knew Ferry Nymph well she was the largest of Harvey's yellow boats in the early 1960s. She was definitely the fastest of all the boats on the Poole to Sandbanks and Shell Bay run but I believe she had a 4 cylinder Lister Freedom diesel not a three. I crewed her on occasions when we swapped about as well as driving her on a rare 2 runs, we didn't swap Skippers much and it must have been as a favour to get someone off home early. The 2 skippers I remember well were Arthur and George Cole who guarded the privilege of driving her very closely. I am sure she was sold in 1964/5 when Harveys bought a much larger cabined boat called Northern Angler. The rest of the fleet were Ferry Niaid, Ferry Sprite, Ferry Neried and another that I cannot remember. Chris Harnett.