On the occasion of Ostend for Anchor, the "Association Of Dunkirk Little Ships" will be present with the Breda, Caronia, Hilfranor, l'Orage, Lady Lou, Mary Scott, Nyula, Papillon, Riis 2 and Tom Tit. Since 2015, our friends from the "Dunkirk Little Ships" have been regular guests at Ostend At Anchor. Besides the gracefulness of the ships and the friendliness of our British guests, we are still over the moon when they dock in Ostend.
These ships were deployed more than 83 years ago during "Operation Dynamo". Between 28 May and 2 June 1940, the British Admiralty, using 700 private ships, managed to evacuate more than 338,000 British, French and Belgian soldiers from the beaches between De Panne and Dunkirk and transfer them to Ramsgate in the UK.
This armada was deployed on 27 May 1940 and manned by naval personnel, reservists and called-up fishermen. The evacuation lasted until 2 June. Some 60 Belgian ships, including a large number of fishing vessels, also helped our comrades in arms and evacuated more than 4,300 soldiers.
In May 1965, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of "Operation Dynamo" and under the impetus of the well-known radio and television journalist Raymond Baxter, a gathering was organized attended by 43 ships that took part in this heroic act. After the gathering, the "Association Of Dunkirk Little Ships" was formed in 1966. Their objective is to never forget the "Spirit of Dunkirk". The current fleet consists of around 100 motor yachts, sailing ships and fishing vessels that took part in the evacuation and (after restoration) retained their original lines. In recognition, the ships are allowed to fly the Cross of St George (Admiralty flag) with the coat of arms of Dunkirk.
Besides the historical value, we should of course not forget that the youngest lady (ship or boat) is at least 85 years old and this alone is quite a challenge to keep this fleet sailing. The skippers still do this out of conviction and to honor the thought of the fallen comrades-in-arms on the Dunkirk beaches!