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A picture of the float hitting a motor yacht

Picture of Lynn and Peter

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 Download Transcript (22 kb)

The float drifted towards motor yachts near Hampton Court Bridge, then it actually hit one of the boats and got stuck. At Thames Motor Yacht Club I discovered that the owner of the boat had just sold it, but I spoke to club members Peter Horsfield and Lynn Jones.

They told me that the club has been going since 1930 and described what it was like to be a member and take part in all the activities the club organises. They also described how some boats from the club went over to France in the Second World War to evacuate British troops retreating from Dunkirk. I was struck by how this quiet piece of river in Richmond was linked with a place so far away in time and space. As you will hear, some of the design of the flags on the boats are a reminder of this connection - but you would never know, unless you were a member of the club. I had discovered a small hidden history.


Later on, I discovered a recording of someone who had actually crewed one of the boats that went to Dunkirk in the sound archives at the Museum of London. The description was very upsetting. The interviewee described how the boats could only take so many troops on board or they would sink; so he had to push troops away that were clinging to the outside of the boat when it had to leave.

This interviewee found it very difficult to describe. The recording was so disjointed that it wouldn't have made much sense in a small extract, so I decided not to include it in the memoryscape. Some things are very difficult to put into words.

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