Type: Motor Yacht
Draft: 3ft 6ins
Displacement: 6 tons
Engine: 2 x BMC Vedette Diesels
Construction: Carvel, pitch pine
Builder: Sittingbourne Shipbuilding Co
The Sittingbourne Shipbuilding Company of Rochester, Kent was more used to building barges when, in 1936, they made the motor yacht Thelmar. She may have been an apprentice piece, for her design was very basic. She was bought a year later, new and already named, by Claude E. Millson, a gentleman farmer of Goudhurst, Kent. He was a member of the Medway Yacht Club who enjoyed hunting for his dinner with a shotgun, from a punt in the marshes. He found Thelmar for sale at Harty Ferry on the river Swale. In the years before war broke out he had an aft cabin added, at Kirklands boat yard, because the lady’s complained of getting wet in the bumpy Medway, and he only enjoyed one holiday aboard his ship, when he went to Burnham-on-Crouch.
Thelmar was at Rochester when war broke out. By then, Millson was a Paymaster Lieut. RNR and he eventually finished his service as a Lieut. Commander. He used Thelmar to collect pay sheets from other boats commandeered by the Navy, and she is listed as having been sent to Dunkirk. Indeed, one old fisherman, knocked overboard by an accident in the heat of the evacuation, later identified Thelmar as the boat which picked him up.
The rest of Thelmar's war was spent as part of the floating garrison at Sheerness, and local fishermen recall her being moored just off the River Swale. The Navy stripped out her whole fore-section to give maximum space for carrying provisions, and the fixtures and fittings they removed were put into store. The idea was that after the war, owners should reclaim what was theirs. Millson was so incensed when his boat came back in such a dreadful condition that he did not bother but sold her at once. Until 1989 she was out of the water for eight years, while she was painstakingly restored to her pre-war appearance. But exactly what did the fore-section look like? Not even her brief moment of fame when she appeared in the film Dunkirk was of help. Now, in 2004 after another long period ashore, Thelmar is undergoing another restoration in the hands of two enthusiastic young owners.
Fri, 04/03/2011 - Kes Travers
THELMAR was rescued on the 03rd March 2011 by the Spirit of Dunkirk Ltd after being abandoned. She was collected by Andrew Rosthorn of Sealand Ltd for transportation to Scotland for immediate restoration.
Any information, photographs, drawings etc from other members, previous owners or interested parties greatly appreciated.
I believe my father owned Thelmar in the late 60's and early 70's. She was moored in Ramsgate and I recall my father was a member of the RTYC.
I would imagine my brother has retained any pictures or documents. My wife and I enjoyed our 4 day Honeymoon on Thelmar from 16th July 1971.
Although Thelmar was completely seaworthy during my father ownership, her continuing upkeep was a factor when he sadly parted with her.
I will endeavour to gather more information.
Hi, I my name is Robert Sands I am the son of Stewart Sands who owned the boat and carried out extensive repairs unfortunately my father died in 2005 but i have some original parts and some history of the boat my email is