Behind the scenes of the Churchill anniversary flotilla

50 years after the death of Winston Churchill, London came to a halt to salute the wartime PM, as his funeral flotilla was recreated on the Thames

Arguably the most poignant boating spectacle of the 1960s was recreated in London last week, as the Winston Churchill funeral flotilla took to the Thames once again.

Led by MV Havengore, a 1950s hydrographic survey launch, the procession marked 50 years since the death of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister.

Crowds flocked to the banks of the Thames to pay their respects, as the flotilla carried a commemorative wreath to Westminster Pier.

The procession began at Tower Bridge, which was raised as a mark of respect, before HMS Belfast delivered a four-gun salute.

Guests on board Havengore included The Royal Hospital School Guard and Army personnel involved in the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A number of musical tributes, including Rule Britannia, were performed by a pair of bagpipe players, as a reference to Churchill’s role as commander of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers during World War One.

After the laying of the wreath in the waters of the Thames, a memorial service was held at the Palace of Westminster, during which Prime Minister David Cameron and Churchill’s grandchildren paid tribute to the former leader.

Sailing into history

Built at Teddington in 1956, Havengore is a suitably historic vessel to star in such a prestigious flotilla.

She has been moored in St Katharine Dock since 2009, following a 15-year multi-million pound restoration.

Key features on board include an oak and teak hull, brass and stainless steel fittings and a teak superstructure, while power comes from a pair of rebuilt Gardner 8L3s.

Chris Ryland, the owner of Havengore said: “We are honoured to be such an important and visible part of the Churchill 2015 programme to honour Sir Winston Churchill.

“I feel this is a fitting tribute to a revered Statesman, and I am thrilled to know Havengore will once again be seen by so many people both here and around the world.”

To see behind the scenes of the Winston Churchill anniversary flotilla, click on the slideshow above.


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