Dunkirk return for ‘little ship’ Willdora
Sunderland’s “little ship” with a big history is set to return to Dunkirk where she helped rescue troops in the famous evacuation more than 75 years ago.
Motor Fishing Vessel (MFV) Willdora is due to take part in the Parade of Sail tomorrow, having been lovingly restored by Sun- derland Maritime Heritage (SMH) volunteers.
But the team at SMH are already looking forward toa further honour for the ship, as she is set to form part of a flotilla heading for the French coast.
John Sumner from SMH said: “Every three to four years little ships are invited to Plymouth, and from there they set off for Dunkirk. The next one is in two to three years’ time.”
But first it’s her big day at the Tall Ships.
He added: “She will be taking part in the Parade of Sail on Saturday, and that’s fantastic news considering her history and where she’s come from.”
SMH is running a stall profiling its work and Sunderland’s maritime history as part of the Tall Ships events.
Mr Sumner said the team had attracted interested visitors from around the world already, including the US.
The Willdora was built in 1901 and was one of three identical boats, each given the name of their owner’s wife or daughter. In May 1940, she was one of about 850 private boats which sailed from England across the Channel to help rescue more than 336,000 British and French troops who were trapped on the beaches in the Second World War.
Motor Fishing Vessel Willdora.