28TH VETERANS CRUISE
1st - 3rd September 2023
The ADLS Veterans Cruise is a longstanding event in the ADLS annual calendar and was borne from an event first started in 1991 by Rev. John Richards. John organised an event in conjunction with Turks Launches taking members of the Dunkirk Veterans Association for a trip on the river. In 1993 John was unable to continue with the event and the ADLS Committee suggested that it should be taken over by the ADLS and Sandy Evens (then owner of NAIAD ERRANT) was given the task of organising the event to be held in September 1994 in conjunction with Weybridge Mariners Club (WMC), to bring together members of the Dunkirk Veterans Association (consisting of those servicemen and women who had been rescued or captured at Dunkirk in 1940) and the Little Ships. As the years progressed the number of actual members of the Dunkirk Veterans Association (DVA) diminished and following the disbanding the DVA in 2000, the Veterans Cruise was broadened to encompass Veterans from other WWII campaigns. In 2005 Ian Gilbert (PAPILLON 05- 2015, LADY LOU 2015- present ) took over the organisation from Sandy, Ian and Karina Gilbert continue to organise this event which is more popular than ever.
In more recent years, the Veterans Cruise has been expanded further to include Veterans of more recent conflicts such as Falklands and the Gulf and service related organisations such as War Widows. The Veterans Cruise remains one of the most important ADLS events and garners considerable support from ADLS members and associated organisations and Thames based boat clubs.
The 28TH Annual Veterans Cruise will take place over the weekend 1st - 3rd September. On the Saturday 2nd September, we will be welcoming some of the very last Veterans from Operation Dynamo, Normandy Veterans, Chelsea Pensioners, Far East Prisoners of War, ladies who served in the WRENS during WWII and Coastal Forces Veterans. Leaving from Penton Hook heading upstream at mid-day and returning around 5pm, the route has many good locations to view the boats and their veteran guests such as alongside Penton Hook and Bell Wier Locks, the fleet will depart PHYC at 12:00 and cruise downstream turning before Chertsey lock back up towards Penton Hook lock with the first boats entering around 12:30. The flotilla will make its way through Staines and turn before Bell Wier and then make there way back to Penton Hook Marina. Laleham Pleasure Grounds, Staines Riverside and Penton Hook Lock will provide a wonderful vantage point to view the fleet.
On Sunday 3rd September the Little Ships will be hosting some from the South Atlantic Medal Association, the War Widows Association, Korean War Veterans, the Not Forgotten Association, the Argyll and Sutherland Veterans and HMS Britannia Veterans. Departing at 10am heading downstream to Weybridge mariners. Chertsey and Shepperton Lock as well as the Chertsey Meads will provide a fantastic opportunity to view the fleet and the ADLS welcomes support all along the designated routes and will be delighted to see the public greeting their nation’s war heroes.