Saturday, 3 August 2013

Ramsgate Gathering

There is much of interest in Ramsgate and many memories of the Dunkirk little ships of 1940. 

Tamzine at the Imperial War Museum
My brother-in-law Ant Bennett has a link to the smallest little ship to make the journey and return intact. Tamzine is a 14 ft 9in dinghy that was built for Ant's father, Ralph. Ralph was away on active service but Tamzine was kept at Birchington, near Margate and was unceremoniously commandeered for the evacuation. 
She was used to ferry troops from the beaches to the larger ships offshore and then, rather than being abandoned, remarkably she was bought back to England. 

She had no form of identification but was by chance recognised by a friend of Ralph's, and Tamzine and Ralph were reunited in due course when he got back from service abroad. The dinghy had suffered a bit of wear and tear and had acquired stains in the bilges thought to be due to blood. Tamzine continued to give good service throughout Ant's childhood and then, following Ralph's death in 1980, the family donated this smallest of the little ships to the Imperial War Museum. The blood stains can no longer been seen though as the IWM had her bottom planks replaced.

We were today visited by our friends Sue and Russell who live in Ramsgate and are enthusiastic local historians. Sue last came aboard Bonita when she was here for the OGA 25th anniversary celebrations in 1988.
Russell, Sue, Emma and John
Viscount De L'Isle
The formal part of today's proceedings included a welcome from Viscount De L'Isle, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, and by Laura Sandys the local MP. We were all impressed by how clearly they recognised the importance of the OGA in preserving our maritime heritage, and by Rob Holden's powers of influence.

In the evening we enjoyed the hospitality of the Royal Temple Yacht club in their fine clubhouse overlooking the harbour.