WHILE the new Dunkirk movie rides high at the box office, one of the ships from Operation Dynamo is lying rotting in Kent.
111 year old Sailing Barge Ena is currently decaying in a barge graveyard in the River Medway at Hoo.
The historic vessel was sailed out to Dunkirk on 31st May 1940 to help with the evacuation but her crew were forced to abandon her in deep waters. British troops without any sailing barge experience were able to board Ena and sail her back to the UK.
According to the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, Captain Atley of the East Yorks Regiment and another soldier built a raft and rowed out to Ena using shovels as oars.
It’s estimated by the authoritative ‘Dunkirk List’, held at the Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum, that 100 troops were saved on board 88ft long Ena.
In 2002, Ena was featured on the Channel 4 television programme Salvage Squad – available to watch online here. In 2011, it was reported that she was up for sale on eBay with the bidding starting at £85,000.
But despite the high profile televised effort made to restore her just 15 years ago, her future now looks extremely bleak, abandoned alongside wrecks at Hoo and buffeted by the elements and tides.
Sailng Barge Ena pictured at Hoo on 12th August 2017