A former Southwold lifeboat that saved hundreds of lives at Dunkirk returned to the town this week for the first time in eighty years.The Mary Scott was the Suffolk town's first motorised lifeboat, launched in 1926.
But when hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers were trapped by German advances on the beaches of Dunkirk during World War two, a floatilla of little ships came to the aid of the Navy to help rescue them. The Mary Scott joined the fleet and saved more than 200 men in 1940.After the rescue mission, she broke down and was abandoned in France, never returning to Southwold, until this week when a new owner sailed her home.
Her new owner, Mick Killoran said:
"I saw her at Gillingham Pier, she was left unwanted. I didn't realise her history at the time but fell in love with her. It's been a want of mine to bring her home and I got the chance this year to do that and it's been wonderful. It's been so emotional - I didn't expect the Southwold people to still have such a connection. It's been fabulous."
The 'Mary Scott' was named after her benefactor and replaced the Alfred Corry, which is proudly on display at the harbour's museum.
Frank Upcraft's grandfather was the original Coxswain of the lifeboat, winning gallantry medals onboard, and his father was one of the crew who sailed her to Ramsgate for the navy to take her into Dunkirk.
When I first saw it I was nearly in tears and so were my friends whose fathers were on it as well. Eighty years since it last showed it's head in this harbour, so you can understand the surprise of everybody. We knew she existed out there somewhere, we just didn't know where.'