top of page
GIRL GUIDE: Pro Gallery


1940 Guide of Dunkirk
Type: R.N.L.I. Lifeboat
Length: 35 ft 6 ins
Beam: 9 ft 8 ins
Draft: 2ft 9ins
Displacement: 8 tons
Engine: 72hp Diesel
Construction: Double-diagonal
Builder: Rowhedge Iron Works
Year: 1940

Intended to be the Clacton lifeboat, Guide of Dunkirk was still unnamed and undelivered when she was called for, direct from her builders at Colchester, Essex on 1st June 1940 to take part in the Dunkirk evacuation. She was manned by a crew drawn from the towns of Walton and Frinton in Essex, under naval command.

At Dunkirk she was badly damaged by machine-gun fire and, during her work off the beaches, a rope got round her propeller. She was towed back to England stern first and when a naval party boarded her, they found her exhausted crew fast asleep down below.

On her second trip across the Channel, she was hit by shellfire and had to return to her builders, Rowhedge Iron Works in Colchester, for extensive repairs.

A self-righting lifeboat, of light construction for launching from the beach, she had been funded by the Girl Guides Association. Her name pays tribute both to her benefactors and to her heroic baptism. After Dunkirk, she served at Cadgwith Cove, Cornwall until John Moor bought her when she came out of service in 1963. Being a local man himself, he remembers the day she arrived, and he had relatives who were among her crew. He changed her name to Girl Guide but did not make any structural alterations. She is believed to be at Mevagissey where she is a workboat and, with her handsome red and blue livery and her proud nameplate, a tourist attraction during the summer season.

Updated April 2018.

bottom of page