Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940, remains one of the most critical moments of the Second World War. As the BEF was pushed to the shores of France, a call went out from the Admiralty. They needed little ships.
Amongst those so-called little ships was a boat called "Sundowner." Her commander, Charles Lightoller, had many a close call during his three decades at sea. At 38, he survived one of the worst maritime disasters in history: the sinking of the Titanic. He, his son Roger, and sea scout Gerald Ashcroft departed from Ramsgate to head toward the melee.
It wasn't just a race to defeat the Nazis. Lightoller's son, R.T. Lightoller, was also on the beach awaiting rescue. On a boat whose capacity was 20 souls, Lightoller squeezed in nearly 130 men, even facing off with a Stuka dive bomber. The Sundowner has fallen into disrepair and is no longer seaworthy. She is in the loving hands of the Michael Dennett Shipbuilders and must be replanked. Donations will be used directly to help restore and save this piece of history and to honor not only Cmdr. Lightoller, but the brave men of the British Expeditionary Forces and the Free French Forces.
(Steve and Melissa on Sundowner)