A Dunkirk evacuation ship, Lady Gay, has been destroyed in a fire on the River Thames. It was one of three Dunkirk Little Ships stored at the London boatyard where the fire broke out.
The Lady Gay and its 87-year long history was lost in the fire at Platt's Eyot island on the River Thames in Hampton, Richmond on Monday 3 May. The Surrey Fire and Rescue Service was called to the scene at 5.12pm that evening and the fire was under control by 8.58pm.
No one was onboard the vessel at the time of the incident, but the owners Jason and Christine Carley were 'devastated', said David Knight, honorary secretary of The Association of Dunkirk Little Ships (ADLS).
'These vessels are a unique part of our history and heritage. The 'Little Ships' are pretty much one offs and once lost it is gone forever; to lose one in this way is an absolute tragedy,' said Mr Knight. 'Jason and Christine are naturally devastated, Lady Gay was a big part of their lives. With very few Dunkirk veterans still with us, the Little Ships will be the last tangible link to the 1940 Dunkirk evacuations.'
According to reports the London Fire Brigade said the fire also 'completely destroyed' two single-story industrial units. A man was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
'The Lady Gay had been on the slip at the boatyard to have some cosmetic work carried out at the time, but had previously had quite a bit of restoration work carried out and was in very good condition'.