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News & Events

A Dunkirk Adventure

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SS70, Caronia, at Chichester Marina

Chichester Marina is home to the now internationally famous Dunkirk Little Ship “Caronia”.

Premier Marinas Chichester Marina has been the home of the now internationally famous Dunkirk Little Ship “Caronia” for a number of years. She was acquired back in 2002 as a major project by her skipper and owner Peter Draper who said: “Her history intrigued me, especially her life as a fishing boat, pleasure boat and her famous and historic participation in the evacuation of 338,000 troops from the beaches of Dunkirk”.

“In January last year I was contacted about Caronia by Warner Brothers who wanted genuine “Little Ships” to take part in the Christopher Nolan blockbuster “Dunkirk”. She is one of only a handful of original “Little Ships” who took part in the filming and her bright blue hull can clearly be seen in several shots when the little ships arrive from home to lift troops off the beach. My daughter and son in law can be seen out on deck in their period costumes. I was at the wheel throughout some very long days of filming dressed in an oilskin and looking like a pilchard fisherman!”

Caronia was at sea again this summer to journey to another beach - Tolcarne, Newlyn where her keel was laid many decades ago. The voyage was part of her duties as a ‘National Historic Flagship’ which Caronia was awarded in May this year. The award recognises her significance to the nation’s maritime heritage and allows her to fly the National Historic Broad Pennant.

Caronia first came to the Chichester Marina boatyard in 2008 as part of her lengthy rebuild programme. A record of those days and the rest of her fifteen year refit has now been documented in the pages of “Restoring a Dunkirk Little Ship Caronia SS70” written by Peter Draper which is in print from the middle of next month and available from peterdraper@live.co.uk.