I am interested to learn if it known if any owners of the flotilla of little ships who had volunteered their boats after the initial broadcasts, as opposed to having them requisitioned and collected, took their boats themselves in the few days before and leading up to the 27th May 1940 to the collecting points of Sheerness, Chatham or elsewhere?

In other words, was it possible for a boat owner to take their boat to Sheerness before the 27th May 1940 and offer it for service following the 14 May broadcast?

The broadcast on the 14th May does state “if not already volunteered or requisitioned” when referring to registration of 30-100 foot vessels. Presumably then a volunteered vessel may have already been inspected by agents of the small vessel pool and if deemed fit for purpose could it have been taken by its owners prior to official collections? Is there evidence of this happening?

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The broadcast of the 14th May gives this precision "if not already volunteered or requisitioned" because there was other motive to collect such boats before the war. They were used for low waters missions in the Channel, for example:

  • Submarine chasing
  • Mines chasing

So the broadcast should not disturb theses boats from their mission. The difficulty to follow the war and the necessity to keep secret the point of Sheerness at least at the beginning meant that a local owner of boat had no idea of where to lead his ships for volunteer.

However, he could have asked at his local city and get this information.

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