11 Jun PHC Pay Homage to the Spirit of Dunkirk
The 2020 Poole Harbour Dues decals commemorate one of the town’s historic World War II vessels – the RNLI lifeboat Thomas Kirk Wright.
The RNLI lifeboat Thomas Kirk Wright, was the first of 19 RNLI south coast vessels to make it to the beaches at Dunkirk on May 30, 1940, during Operation Dynamo.
With the British Expeditionary Force and remnants of the French army on the backfoot after the disastrous six-week Battle of France, hundreds of thousands of men found themselves cut off and surrounded by German troops.
What followed would become known as the ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’ as over eight days some 338,226 men were rescued by a hastily-assembled fleet of more than 800 vessels or ‘Dunkirk Little Ships’.
With this year’s 80th anniversary celebrations of Dunkirk coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, celebratory events were put on hold. Among these postponed events was the Poole RNLI’s open-air service, which had been scheduled to take place outside the Old Lifeboat Station.
Anne-Marie Clark, Poole lifeboat volunteer, said: “We shall never forget the part that the small flotilla that left Poole Quay played 80 years ago. They answered the call and changed history against the odds”.
“Our ‘Dunkirk Little Ship’ is still in the lifeboat station where she served and is testimony to the miracle. The soldiers are very few now as the years pass but we vow to share their story, through our lifeboat. The lifeboat is a beacon of hope and a brave inspiration to all the generations that follow.”
The Thomas Kirk Wright features on the new Poole Harbour Commissioners’ Harbour Dues permit decal for 2020.
Anne-Marie said “The volunteers were incredibly sad, that we couldn’t mark this event as we would wish to but in true ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ we will not be beaten in these uncertain times, and we will commemorate in 2021 – 80 years plus one.
“We are really chuffed and proud that the ‘armada’ of vessels that are moored in Poole today, will have a piece of ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ with them this year, displayed on the harbour dues permit, thank you PHC, it is something rather special and poignant in these difficult days, to remember, we can overcome adversity and rise above.”
Harbour Dues need to be displayed port side and are payable by all vessels who enter the Harbour. These charges fund the conservancy of Poole Harbour and go towards:
• Surveying, dredging to keep the channels clear and marked with navigational aids (all buoys, marker beacons, lights, stakes, notice boards etc).
• Traffic management to keep the Harbour safe (Harbour Control, radar, CCTV and Automatic Identification System).
• Responding to and handling emergencies, patrolling and enforcing byelaws.
Harbour Dues and other permits are available to buy online.