1940 Oulton Belle
Type: Passenger Motor Vessel
Length: 84 ft
Beam: 16 ft 6 ins
Draft: 6 ft 6 ins
Displacement: 75.2 tons
Engine: Gleniffer 8 cyl. Diesel
Now at an age when most ladies are becoming a little sensitive about the passing years, Regal Lady is proud to have achieved her present age. She has steamed many thousands of miles - from Dunkirk to the Clyde in the war years and from Scarborough and Great Yarmouth in peace-time.
She is much changed in appearance since she was launched but is still a handsome old lady. She will be remembered by the thousands of people who have enjoyed their holidays on board and also by the few whom ?the sea got the better of?. Most particularly she will be remembered all her life for her gallant service when she went to the rescue of the British Expeditionary Force from the beaches of Dunkirk in the spring of 1940.
Regal Lady was built by Fellows & Co. Shipbuilders of Great Yarmouth in 1930 to withstand easterly gales with strong bulkheads down below and high free board. She was launched on the morning of 23rd May 1930 and named Oulton Belle.
Entering service in late 1930 Oulton Belle soon became a favourite with her holiday passengers, operating out of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft on the Norfolk Coast of England. She ran her holiday excursions for the following nine years up until the beginning of the Second World War .
On the 14th May 1940 the BBC made the following announcement:- 'The Admiralty have made an order requesting all owners of self-propelled pleasure craft between 30 and 100ft in length to send all particulars to the Admiralty within 14 days of today, if they have not already been requested'.
These boats then moved along the coast to the Channel Ports. Operation Dynamo began to fall into place. Between the 28th May and 4th June 1940, 337,131 British and French troops were evacuated from the French beaches at Dunkirk.
To commemorate her gallant service as part of this fleet which braved the mines, the E boats and the Luftwaffe, Regal Lady proudly flies the flag of the 'Association of Dunkirk Little Ships' at her masthead.
After the evacuation, Oulton Belle returned to Great Yarmouth for a short period until being posted to the Firth of Clyde as a fleet tender. There she served out the war years transferring United States Troops (GI?s) from the Great ‘Queens’ - Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, after their hazardous transatlantic voyage.
War years over, Oulton Belle returned to her peace time duties operating out of Great Yarmouth up until 1954 when she was sold to Scarborough Cruises and renamed Regal Lady. She made her first cruise out of Scarborough in late June 1954.
Over the years since then Regal Lady has taken thousands of passengers for a taste of the sea as she cruises along the Yorkshire Coast, viewing the cliffs at Ravenscar or the Southern headland of Filey Brigg.
Thu, 16/09/2010 - 04:10
My first job when leaving school in 1979 was onboard the Regal Lady as crew and we plied our trade up and down the Norfolk Broads, at the time she was owned by Neville Blake, good memories....