Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s Dunkirk ship’s anchor to be restored at Cammell Laird
Cammell Laird is deeply proud to announce it will restore the anchor of the historic Manx ferry TSS Mona’s Queen which was sunk at Dunkirk.
Cammell Laird, which built the ship in 1934, welcomed the anchor back to the yard this week. It will now begin a two week restoration process to repair the anchor after it has spent 70 years on the seabed.
The Isle of Steam Packet Company, which owned Mona’s Queen, will take the anchor after restoration to the Isle of Man to become a memorial to those Manx sailors who died at Dunkirk.
Mona’s Queen was racing to the rescue of beleaguered British and Allied troops escaping German military forces at Dunkirk when she struck a mine on May 29, 1940.
The explosion broke the ship’s back and she sank with the loss of 24 lives.
Following a campaign by the late Capt Andrew Douglas and Capt Hamish Ross, former managing director of the Isle of Man Steam Packet, the anchor was raised from the wreck.
This was done by commercial divers last year on May 29, exactly 70 years to the day the ship was sunk.
Speaking at a press conference at Cammell Laird Capt Ross said: “Once I retired from the Steam Packet, I was determined to help Capt Douglas with his ambition to raise the anchor as a memorial.
“Mona’s Queen was one of eight Steam Packet ships among the great little ships of Dunkirk. The other ships lost at Dunkirk were Fenella and King Orry.
“Together they rescued 24,669 troops as part of Operation Dynamo, which was one in 14 of the total survivors.
“It’s very fitting that the anchor has come to Cammell Laird for restoration where Mona’s Queen was built.
“We’ve had tremendous co-operation from the French authorities and British officials in this achievement.”
Linton Roberts, Cammell Laird managing director, said: “This anchor is a fitting memorial to the very brave men who died, and for this shipyard’s contribution to the war effort.
“The anchor has not been here since 1940, so we are very privileged to restore it where Mona’s Queen was built, on its way home to the Isle of Man. This underlines our strong and long lasting relationship with Isle of Man Steam Packet Company dating back more than 150 years to the present day with its latest fast ferry the Manannan soon to arrive for her annual docking.”
David Findlay, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company director of marketing, watched the anchor raised from the wreck.
He said: “It was a very moving occasion to see this happen. And today seeing the anchor back at Cammell Laird is another poignant step on the journey home. ”