The Massey Shaw is the little red and black boat in the front
The 70th anniversary of D Day is a fitting time to post this blog about my recent visit with my City of London Guides year group to the Massey Shaw fireboat, as it was one of the little ships which took part in the WWII Dunkirk evacuation code-named “Operation Dynamo”. David Rogers, secretary, friend and fellow guide, conducted a fascinating tour of this small ship with a big history.
The Massey Shaw was built in 1935 to serve the London Fire Brigade and was named after its first Superintendent, Captain Eyre Massey Shaw.
Originally based at Blackfriars Pier she soon proved herself to be a useful addition to the fire brigade's river service.
In May 1940 she was one of seven hundred small ships that sailed from Ramsgate to Dunkirk, as part of Operation Dynamo to rescue British and French troops who were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. The little ships were able to navigate the shallow water and were used to ferry the men to the warships moored further out at sea.
The Massey Shaw carried five hundred men to the warships and also brought returned one hundred men to England.
In the late 1940s a permanent, wooden wheelhouse was built to replace the canvass one and so offered the pilot more protection from the weather.
David Rogers in the engine room - Photo with kind permission of Julie Chandler
The Massey Shaw was decommissioned in 1971 and today has been lovingly restored.
The Crew Space - where we finished off with tea and biscuits
The ship's bell is used at Christenings
On concluded the tour we had a wonderful night time view of the London's Docklands
We had an utterly delightful time exploring this charming, small boat and I can highly recommend a visit.
The Massey Shaw is currently located in the West India Docks and visits are available to pre-booked groups.
Address: The Massey Shaw is currently docked at South Dock, 631 Manchester Rd, London, E14 3NU
Nearest Tube Station: South Quay on the DLR in Travelcard zone 2. The Massey Shaw is a 10 - 15 minute walk from the station.
Opening Times: Only open by prior appointment with the Massey Shaw Society.
The author of this blog is a qualified City of London and City of Westminster Tour Guide who leads guided walks combining world famous landmarks with hidden treasures often missed by the crowds