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                    Skylark IX

The Skylark IX, a Dunkirk Little Ship, which rescued 600 Allied troops during World War Two, is to be restored and turned into a floating museum and visitor centre which will provide interest and educational themes to visitors and to children on their journey of historic learning.

 

The Skylark IX will be based on the River Clyde and will be saved thanks to £404,000 of funding from The National Lottery.

The work will be assisted by a specialist boat building team working with people who are recovering from drug addiction.

The boat, built as a passenger cruiser in 1927, became part of the Dunkirk Little Ships fleet of 850 boats.

It was built to hold 75 cruise passengers but ended up sailing from Ramsgate in south-east England to Dunkirk in France between 26 May and 4 June 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo.

The Little Ships helped rescue more than 336,000 British and French soldiers who were trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk.


However, due to disrepair, Skylark IX sank in Loch Lomond in 2010. It was raised by the Royal Navy following a campaign by veterans supporting the Skylark IX Recovery Trust and is currently located at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.

Anne Dyer, from the trust, said: "Not one day did we ever believe we could not face this huge challenge and in true Dunkirk spirit we never gave up.The support from the community has been huge and our vision to continue the Skylark story will ring out for generations to come."

Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said Skylark IX was "a part of Scotland's WW2 history" She added: "As part of her recovery, others will recover too, learning skills that will help secure them a better future.I look forward to seeing this little ship's transformation and the enjoyment and learning she will bring to very many people."

 

Mary Burch, Secretary of the Skylark Trust said that work would be commencing soon on this valuable and unique part of history in our community. Mary was recently awarded the prestigious British Empire Medal in recognition of her services to the community.

Andy Cochrane, Chair to the trust said that the Lister deisel engine of the boat had recently been restored through the engineering team at West College, Scotland. The restoration of the engine will be a key driver to the restoration of the Skylark.

On 20 May 1940, Nazi German troops reached the English Channel at Abbeville in northern France cutting off the British army

  • Around 340,000 men, including 121,000 French and Belgian soldiers, retreated to the beaches of Dunkirk

  • Between 26 May and 4 June a ragtag British fleet, ranging from battleships to pleasure boats, braved the sea to rescue the stranded soldiers

  • The incredible courage shown by British civilians became known as the "Dunkirk spirit"