Whitstable's work places and skilled workforce were called upon to help the
war effort. In particular, the boatyards played an important role....
A number of MFVs (Motor Fishing Vessels were
commissioned by the Admiralty for shore work - mostly in the Far East.
They were shipped abroad on the decks of larger vessels.
These vessels could be seen on the slipways of the Anderson Rigden and
The year is 1943 and the location of the photo is the
Anderson Rigden and Perkins boatyard...
kindly supplied by John Harman
It shows two MFVs being built. The
furthest one away, is at the head of the slipway and almost ready
for launching. After launch, the nearest one would be moved
over to take its place and a new keel laid for another new boat to
be built in the vacant spot.
In the background, you can see the cabin and
mast of the old Vigilant barge.... along with the masts of the
smacks (Gamecock, Rosa & Ada and Wild Rose).
The gantry/gallows (top right of the photo)
were used to lower the engines into a new vessels.
The two men onboard are. . . Stan Waters and
Harold Wilson. These names appear on the back of the
snap. There is no name for the shipwright standing in the
foreground but I could hazard a guess that it is Charlie Humphrey.
Some work was a little less public.....
|In wartime, Les Wood's yard was 'off limits' - reputedly doing some
sort of 'secret' war work. Being 'off limits' I naturally investigated.
Tucked into the back 'town' side corner were 2 hydroplane style race
boats plus another 'normal' type racer. I think the latter appeared at a
post war regatta.
|The Troc at Tankerton ceased to be a cinema at the start of the war. It was then
used by Fitts to do secret war work. The front area became a fire
At present, we do not know the extent to which Whitstable's active
vessels were involved in wartime service or if any took part in the
evacuation at Dunkerque. However, it seems that at least one of the
oyster fleet assisted in early wartime operations before being beached
near the Vigilant....
|We do not know much about the Rosa & Ada war years but
I was approached in
some years ago by a retired bomb disposal officer who recognised
the boat as the vessel which supplied them aboard a trawler
anchored in the
early in the War while watching for magnetic mines. That’s all
he could tell me.
The Rosa and Ada survived the war and is now owned and operated in
Scottish waters by Duncan. More details can be obtained by visiting... www.rosaandada.com
The war effort involved everyone and schools were determined to
play their part and reward achievement.....
|How many ex Oxford Street Boys School readers
remember the wartime "paper saving" drive. We were given a
card denoting the military rank we had achieved according to the
amount of waste paper collected.
As we collected more paper, we could progress
through the army ranks from Private to Field Marshall.
I made Captain but think perhaps it was Brian Bishop (now in
NZ) who did better.
One of ‘my group’ of playmates made Field
Marshall although I can’t recall if that was Brian, Tony Campbell,
the late Alan ‘Titch’ Weller or Dave Carpenter.
It was probably Dave who lived in Suffolk Street
which I recall as a tight, close supportive community.... and
much more convenient for such things than the few scattered neighbours
of my Stanley Rd.
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