Massey Shaw on her return to London after restoration


The historic Thames fireboat Massey Shaw is to return to Dunkirk next month, part of a flotilla returning to mark the 75th anniversary of the allied evacuation.

The vessel made three trips to the beaches and helped save around 600 troops. During the rest of the war and particularly in the Blitz she helped fight fires along the Thames as London came under heavy German attack.

A group of volunteers has spent years restoring the boat which returned to the river two years ago after extensive work at a Gloucester dockyard.

Now the enthusiasts have raised funds for the trip back to France - expected to be part of the biggest commemorative flotilla in recent years. Massey Shaw last made the trip in 2000.

David Rogers of the Massey Shaw Trust said: "We are delighted to be making this trip in a boat which played such a vital role at Dunkirk."

Besides restoration and renovation the trust also fulfils an educational role and young Community Fire Cadets from Tower Hamlets will be among those going to France. New crew members have also been in training for the trip.

The Massey Shaw was built in 1935 by the J. Samuel White company at Cowes, Isle of Wight. and was named after a former chief of the London Fire Brigade.The vessel remained in service as a Thames fireboat until 1971.

In 1940 after returning and making her way from Ramsgate back to London she also rescued up to 40 French soldiers from the Emile Deschamps which had struck a mine in the Thames Estuary and was sinking.

See our earlier story on Massey Shaw HERE Links to Massey Shaw Trust HEREand Association of Dunkirk Little Ships HERE

Story dated April 27th 2015