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1940 HMS Fervent
Type: Motor Yacht
Length: 50ft
Beam: 11ft 9ins
Draft: 3ft 9ins
Displacement: 15 tons
Engine: 2 x 140hp GM Diesels
Construction: Double carvel, teak on elm.
Builder: Thornycroft
Year: 1938/9

The Armenian sugar broker who ordered White Marlin from Thornycroft’s never even took delivery of her. As she was completed at Hampton on Thames in 1939, right on the eve of World War II, she was handed over instead to the Ministry of War Tran-sport at Dover. The Royal Navy called her HMS Fervent and assigned her as the communications boat for the Officer Commanding convoys in the area.

During the evacuation she was the launch of the Senior Naval 0fficer at Dunkirk, under the command of Lieut. Cdr. W.R.T. Clemments. She numbered among her crew Douglas Kirkaldie, the coxswain of the Ramsgate lifeboat Prudential who was mentioned in despatches. And, she was one of the last naval vessels to leave Dunkirk harbour.

Back in England at Folkestone, she was copper--sheathed, had rubbing strakes added and was taken to Archangel where she helped with the convoys to Russia. Badly damaged on the port bow, Fervent was sent home, patched up and kept at Dover until she sank at Strood in Kent while at the Small Crafts Disposal Unit. There she was found by Col. F. A. Sudbury, of Tate & Lyle. He got Thornycroft’s to survey her, take her back to Hampton on a barge and restore her completely. Although his personal boat, she rapidly became the company's communications launch, taking visitors from Tower Pier in London down to the Albert Dock refineries. Col. Sudbury had her superstructure rebuilt and he took White Marlin to Henley Regatta fifteen years in succession. She now belongs to David Murr who has undertaken a complete restoration to her original form with an open centre cockpit.

Updated May 2008

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