Rania was built in 1937 by the Rampart Boat Building works in Southampton. Just before delivery in 1939, however, she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy and took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, when many small British craft sailed across the Channel to rescue the British Expeditionary Force – and army of 400,000 or so.
This astonishing exercise took place in perfect millpond conditions (see the images of this event at the Rania site, and see Wikipedia for more on the fighting and evacuation). She continued to serve in the ‘Mosquito navy’ for the duration of the war.
She is now in real need of help. Rania has been dismantled and is in urgent need of repair; she has been saved by the Dunkirk Little Ship Restoration Trust but unfortunately the funds are not available – nevertheless her supporters wish to restore her to her original condition and return her to Dunkirk in 2010 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuations.
For more on Rania, and some very evocative music:
The Humber keel Comrade is a rare surviving example of a type of craft evolved to work the difficult Humber Estuary, and its tributaries and canals. She was built in 1923, at Warrenâ€™s shipyard at New Holland, and was originally named Wanda. At 61ft 6in in length and 15ft 6in in beam, she had a hold capable of carrying over a hundred tons in cargo.
The Humber is very much part of Viking invader territory, and I do wonder how much this unusual square sail may owe to those invaders of more than a thousand years ago.
For more on Comrade and her sister ship Humber sloop Amy Howson, see http://www.keelsandsloops.org.uk/
ST Kerne was originally built in 1913 and named Viking but even before she was launched, she was sold to the Admiralty and re-named the Terrier and went to work in Chatham and on the Medway.
She then went in 1948 to J P Knight who operated her on the Medway for another year under her new Gaelic name Kerne before being sold on again to a firm in Liverpool where she worked as a lighterage tug until her retirement in 1971.
During 1970 and 1971 a group of steam enthusiasts bought Kerne before she went for scrap and restored her. She is now an extremely rare example of the once common estuarial-dock tug and a living reminder of early 20th century naval architecture.
For more on ST Kerne: