Page 280 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 280

Bishop Auckland Branch visited Hartlepool Marina
to see the “MV Coronia”, which was one of the
‘little ships’ that did such outstanding rescue work
at Dunkirk in 1940. “Coronia” is currently being
renovated and refitted there. “Coronia” (during the
war she was called the “Watchful”) was at Dunkirk
for the full 9 days of the evacuation, her capacity
was 300 men and she will have made many trips
daily from the beach to the bigger ships standing
offshore. Although hit twice only minor damage
was sustained and she got the name for being a   everything from cockleshell boats upwards
One of the Normandy Little Ships – The “MV Coronia”
see the seal colony on the sand banks around the Yarmouth approach channels, she was requi- sitioned by the Admiralty on the 16th September 1939 for service as a tender she was renamed HMT Watchful and painted in battle ship grey and served the home fleet. When anchored in Yarmouth Road, her bar became the wardroom and she had a gun turret installed on her fore deck.
When the call came on 29th May 1940 to rescue the stranded troops from the Dunkirk beaches
lucky ship and must have saved thousands of lives, some of those must have been
DLI soldiers. We met up with the Chairman of Hartlepool Branch
Paul Allen and were made very welcome by Graham and Pauline Field, the owners, along with about 8 volunteers. Graham & Pauline have sunk their pension pot into making this ship seaworthy with a view to sailing her back to Dunkirk for the anniversary next May.
MV Coroninia Ex H.M. Tender Watchful. Sep1939 to Dec 1945.
The Coronia was built by Fellows and Co Ltd Gt Yarmouth in 1935 for the Longfield brothers and named “MV Brit”, she was working from Gt Yarmouth Town quay out into the north sea to
answered the call. The river Thames was blocked by a flotilla of vessels of every size, manned by young and old with one destination in mind (Ramsgate Harbour then on to Dunkirk). A great many did not return as they were bombed or machine gunned by enemy aircraft, some losing all hands as they picked up troops from the Dunkirk beaches. 700 little ships were to take part in operation Dynamo. 250 of the little ships never returned back to these shores. As a result of the operation Dynamo the little ships and Naval vessels off the Dunkirk beaches and harbour between the 29th May and 4th June 1940 saved 337,131 British and French troops who were evacuated. Approxi- mately a third of these were taken off the beaches by the little ships. Most of the Army had been saved
  MV Coronia was built in 1935 by Fellows & Co Ltd Gt. Yarmouth
      Secretary Bishop Auckland branch with members visit Hartlepool Marina to see “MV Coronia”

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