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Auction: Conflicts of the 20th Century
was auctioned on: 29 January 2021
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Estimate: US$800 - US$1,200
Price realised:  n. a.
Lot number 25, Views: 15

[The blue ensign flag flown on board during the Dunkirk crossings, May 26th to June 4th. A fine Grouping of relics from the Paddle Steamer Medway Queen, comprising: 1. The Medway Queen's Royal Navy Auxiliary Service woolen Blue Ensign, the canton a Union Jack with a royal naval blue ground, with the addition of an amateur-sewn linen anchor design and waves to upgrade the vessel to Auxiliary Service use, as flown during Operation Dynamo in late May and early June 1940. The hoist with stencil marks "ENSIGN 3 BOTH 825703." Some light soiling. 630 x 1410mm (25 x 55 in). 2. A string of bunting flags that were used on board the Medway Queen, during the ten-year anniversary celebrations of Dunkirk. Lightly faded. Length 7.5m. 23 feet, Together with the Official brochure for the Medway Queen, and a postcard. Provenance: War Museum. A fine and poignant relic from the Medway Queen. Between the 27th May and 4th June 1940 the 316-ton 180-foot Medway Queen made seven trips to the beaches of Dunkirk, rescuing 7,000 soldiers, and (almost incidentally) shooting down three German planes. On her arrival at the end of her final return trip Vice Admiral Ramsay signaled "Well done Medway Queen": she had earned her soubriquet the "Heroine of Dunkirk." The Medway Queen was built in Ailsa in Scotland in 1924, as a passenger paddle steamer for the New Medway Steam packet Company. She was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in September 1939 to move evacuated children from Kent to Essex, with the announcement of Operation Dynamo she was fitted with a 12 ponder gun and two machine guns, and joined a flotilla of Thames paddle steamers and other Little ships from around Essex, Kent and Sussex, who went over to the beaches of Dunkirk to rescue the trapped British and French armies. The Little ships contributed in rescuing 336,000 men over 10 days. She continued to in military service in the war and was due to be scrapped in 1963, but was rescued to become a night club. In 1985 the Medway Queen Preservation Society was formed, and she received a 1.8m pound national Lottery grant to restore the hull, which was completed in 2014. She is the only surviving active estuary paddle steamship left in the UK.

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Bonhams London
Title: Conflicts of the 20th Century
Date of the auction: 29 Jan 2021
Address: Bonhams London
New York