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LURLINE: Pro Gallery


Type:  Motor Yacht
Length:  37ft
Beam:  9ft
Draft:  3ft 4ins
Displacement:  11.58 tons
Engine:  Perkins P60 Diesel
Construction:  Pitch pine on oak
Builder:  Howard, Maldon, Essex
Year:  1914

When Liz Devas, a night sister at Kingston hospital, heard that the nurses' home was to be demolished in 1970 she decided to take to the water and bought an old ketch--rigged wooden cabin cruiser from the TV producer Mark Stuart. Soon she found herself caught up in a legend. Only a few months later, totally ignorant of the art of navigation, she was invited to take her new home from its safe mooring at Ash Island, Hampton Court, down river to the English Channel to join the 30th anniversary cruise of the Little Ships to Dunkirk.

Thirty years earlier, on 25th May 1940 according to Tough Bros. records, Lurline, crewed by H.L. Bayle of London and A.C. Buckle of Richmond, was despatched by them on the same journey down the Thames to join the flotilla which went to Sheerness and on to Dunkirk. Bob Tough has his father's notebook which records that Lurline returned relatively unscathed but minus her dinghy which was replaced, at a cost of £8.

At the 1970 reunion, unfamiliar until then with the detailed story of Dunkirk, Liz was deeply moved by the ceremony of the lone Shackleton circling the little fleet and dropping a wreath in memory of those who did not come back from Dunkirk in 1940. Like all new owners of the Little Ships she could not help but be touched by the comradeship existing between these caretakers of a part of British history.

Subsequently belonging to Michael Simcock, he did much to improve the ship. Her original 6-cylinder Gleniffer paraffin engine was replaced by a Perkins P 60 diesel and her hull and paintwork was restored.

At that time, being built in 1914, Lurline was probably the oldest Dunkirk Little Ship regularly attending ADLS events. In Mikes ownership she completed three returns to Dunkirk as well as visiting Holland and travelling around the coast to events such as the Portsmouth Festival of the Sea.


Thu, 03/06/2010 - 22:47

My father, Mark Stuart, from whom Lurline was purchased, never knew that Lurline was a Little Ship until shortly before he sold her. Nevertheless, our first trip down-river, and then on into the Channel, after we became her owners was the occasion of a Dunkirk rally. It was, I think, 1964 and I believe it may even have been the first such rally. The trip did not go smoothly for us. It is a funny story not right to tell here, but I often wondered if we had known that Lurline's past had been known then whether we might not have been better treated! For anyone who is interested in details of Lurline's history in the 1960s, do get in touch with me via We loved her dearly and were sad when my father decided to move on to a boat better suited for the long trip to the Mediterranean. I was so glad to find this record on the internet.

LURLINE: Project
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