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My Father and myself C1950
My Father and myself aged 11,
in the Lymington Slipway Launch
My Father spent a lot of time in the Slipway Launch, which was very much a working launch and constantly in use, especially when it came to assisting Major Hall's "Manahine" out of her berth adjacent to the oil wharf close to Lymington Town Quay. As often as I could I would accompany him, as shown here... looking something of a 'Tyke'!
Michael at the helm of the launch
Myself at the helm of
the Lymington Slipway Launch
My Father would usually let me steer the launch up and down the Lymington River, as can be seen at left..... all very serious. She was powered by a Ford V8 petrol engine with a marine gearbox, as a consequence she was very powerful for her size.
Lymington Slipway C1950
Circa 1950
My Father took this photograph of a very wobbly me on my Mother's bike in about 1950. In the background can be seen one of the big yacht storage sheds, where owners paid for their yachts to be laid up over the winter months in the dry. This enabled maintainance on the boats to be carried out in relative, if not cold, comfort. It also gave the owners something to do during the Winter to get their craft ready for the coming Spring and the new yachting season.

Silvermere under power
"Silvermere" on Lymington River, 1952

Whilst living aboard "Linnette" my Father bought a rather delapidated 18 foot motor launch, named her "Silvermere" and totally stripped her of paint, inside and out, and re-painted her with a white hull, dark green underwater, red water line and highly varnished teak coamings and decking.

Silvermere on the slip
"Silvermere" on the slip at Lymington
Slipways yard, 1952.
18 feet in length, she was powerer by a Kelvin petrol/parrafin two cylinder engine that was powerful enough to give her quite a nice turn of speed. All brasswork was highly polished.

As well as the Chief Storekeeper, or Chandler, at Lymington Slipway, my Father also acted as the Watchman, for which he received free moorings and slipping of Silvermere and Linnette when required to paint the underwater portions of their hulls.

This meant that we often had the Police coming round to check on the premises and they were frequent visitors to Linnette, receiving welcome cups of tea. One of the spin-offs with this was that I would often get a lift home from Lymington school in a Police car

My sailing dinghy
"Brat" being sailed by my Father
on the Lymington River, 1950.

For my 11th Birthday I received a 9 foot sailing dinghy. My parents called her "Brat" and so she was named. She had a "Standing Lugsail" rig and was fitted with a daggerboard instead of a retractable centreboard. When sailing in shallow water one had to remember to get the daggerboard up quickly otherwise the dinghy came to an abrupt halt...with possible consequences of the mast breaking.

Playing about in dinghies occupied much of my childhood, together with my friend, John Dickinson, who lived on the ex RAF Air/Sea Rescue launch 2512, moored in front of us. We both migrated to Australia in the early 1950s with our parents, settling in Melbourne.
Linnnette as she was in 1965
"Linnette" as she was in 1965, but
moored up near the sluice gates bridge, photographed by myself and the last time
I saw her 'whole'

When we migrated to Australia in 1953 that was the last that my parents saw of her.

I returned for a working holiday in January 1965 and she was still afloat but had been moved further up river nearer to the Lymington Town / Lymington Pier road, as shown opposite. By this time someone had put tarmac on her deck.....a disgusting thing to have done and quite out of character... and put some sort of canvas contraption on her stern. I'm glad my parents didn't see her like this, although my Mother did see the photograph.

When I finally returned to England to live in March 1973 I went to Lymington and found her wrecked and falling to pieces being covered by water at high tide I did, however, manage to salvage a small portion of her engine room hull, which I cleaned and varnished.

Some items we had used and taken with us to Australia in 1953. These were a brass cleat and her "Rum Box" (which was originally kept in the Wardroom) and "Flag Locker"( originally fastened to a bulkhead in the wheelhouse) complete with flag letters, which we brought back when we returned in 1973. The latter, as can be seen, is now used as a wine cellar, so something of the "Little Ship" survives, and in addition I have some details of her war career so that, very fond memories and these pages on my website, is something to remember her by and to share with others who are like minded!

Her original Mahogany 'Wardroom Rum Box', dating from 1943, with new lid and lock, cleaned and varnished, the latter dating from same period.

Her Mahogany 'Flag Locker', with original Royal Navy 'Battleship Grey' paint on the inside of the individual 'squares'. The outside was cleaned and varnished and the ' flag letters' were renewed by copying each one and reproducing same in black paper which were then individually cut out and stuck in the correct place, then clear varnished over.

A set of Entree Dishes from the Wardroom of Linnette
when she was HM Gun Boat 451. These are still used in 2019!

Boyhood Schoolpals

Boyhood schoolpals together again
John Dickinson and myself, Seaford April 2003


Carole Dickinson and Myself April 2003
Carole and myself, Seaford April 2003

Recalling old and fond memories meant the passing of many happy hours after successfully locating John and Carole again,
as shown in the photographs above after having lost trace
of them both for 29 years.

Houseboat "Linnette"
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