WWII Fairmile Dartmouth River Cruise
This wonderful little one hour trip departing from Dartmouth at 1pm will take you back in time aboard our newly restored Nationally Historic WWII Heritage Ship Fairmile. Cruise the beautiful River Dart from Dartmouth for a special tour aboard the last remaining Second World War Fairmile B currently in passenger service and enjoy the history of this heroic ship and her historic connections with Dartmouth and the River Dart during WWII and beyond. This special value for money trip has a fare of only £3 to help promote the importance of maritime heritage, local history and to ensure the wonders of the picturesque River Dart are affordable for everyone to enjoy.
Due to the amazing value of this service, this trip can get busy so ensure you book early.
History of the Fairmile B – During 2007 Western Lady III, who had plied the waters of the Bay since 1947, left, it was thought for good, for the seas off Dorset. In 2009 she returned, purchased by our company, to once again grace our local waters. After a short but intensive refit she returned to duty during July 2009, renamed as Fairmile. Rescue Motor Launch 497 (RML497) was part of His Majesties Royal Navy and played an active part during the Second World War rescuing downed airmen including other very challenging roles. She was designed in the 1940′s by Noel Macklin a famous motor car enthusiast as a flat packed vessel which was transported to be assembled around the country. Our Fairmile was assembled at Southampton Steam Joinery and immediately went into service to help defend Great Britain. The decision to rename her Fairmile is to honour her origins and pedigree as a vessel of His Majesties Royal Navy seeing service during World War II as RML 497. Many hundreds of Fairmiles were constructed during the war as inshore vessels for a variety of uses, from Motor Torpedo boats (MTBs), Motor Gun Boats (MGBs) to Motor Launches (MLs). Their construction was the original ‘flat pack’. Factory made on a production line and assembled in ports all around the country. RML 497 was constructed as a Rescue Motor Launch, a Fairmile B hull type, and was commissioned in 1942. She carried a crew of two officers and thirteen sailors. She saw service out of Scapa Flow, Appledore, Dartmouth and Felixstowe. Although she never fired her guns in anger she was involved in many clandestine missions and a commando raid on the Channel Isles following D-Day.
Her main duty was to rescue downed aircraft crew, especially if the weather conditions were too rough for RAF Air Sea Rescue launches. Many vessels identical to her were used in the costly raids on Dieppe and St Nazaire acting as troop transports. It is thought-provoking to travel on Fairmile today and notice just how vulnerable these ships would have been when under fire. Especially considering that they were of a wooden construction and powered by petrol engines. Today you need have no worries, the engines are reliable diesels and the only possible projectile, deposited by a seagull!
Passengers wishing to travel with us please note the following: If you do not want to book online and would prefer to pay on the boat on your day of travel or at our booking office opposite the National Trust Shop in Dartmouth please ignore attempts of deception to coerce you into travelling with another firm. If you are unsure of anything please do give us a call and we will be happy to assist or go to our booking office or the National Trust Shop. We are a family run company and would much rather give you value for money from the first instance so you travel with us for a fair fare!
To visit the National Historic Ships archive see their website for more technical data on Fairmile RML497
Dartmouth Town Pontoon at 1pm
Departs TUES, WED, THURS, FRI, SAT, SUN 19/04/14 – 02/11/14
MONDAY SAILINGS: 21st April, 5th May & 26th May – 8th September 2014
£3 (Book Online)