Devon`s Fairmile B War 2

This section tells the story of the Fairmile Heritage boat, based in Brixham, Devon.


The Greenway Ferries Heritage Boat, 'Fairmile'.

The 'Fairmile' passes Dartmouth Castle

The Greenway Ferries Heritage Boat, 'Fairmile'.

The 'Fairmile' at Brixham harbour

The Fairmile at Dartmouth

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Surviving Fairmile Bs

By 2007 there were only four surviving Fairmile 'B' launches in the UK:-

  • Western Lady I (RML535) - Private ownership (ex-Torbay)
  • Western Lady III (RML497) - Swanage excursions (ex-Torbay)
  • Western Lady IV (RML526) - Private ownership (ex-Torbay)
  • Jamaican Moon (ML357) - House boat in St Osyth

The Fairmile B ML 105 was employed on coastal patrol duties

ML 105 was employed on coastal patrol duties

The Greenway Ferries Heritage Boat, 'Fairmile'. Photo courtesy Greenway Ferries

 

The Greenway Ferries Heritage Boat, 'Fairmile'. Photo courtesy Greenway Ferries

 

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In memory....

The Fairmile B ML 105 was employed on coastal patrol duties

This page is in memory to my friend Gordon, who sadly passed away in 2009. Gordon took part in the D-Day landings on a Fairmile ML. Behind him is a model Fairmile B, at Arromanches, Normandy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Greenway Ferry 'Fairmile Heritage Boat'

The Greenway Ferries Heritage Boat, 'Fairmile'.

The Greenway Ferry heritage boat, 'Fairmile' at Dartmouth

The 'Fairmile' was built by Southampton Steam Joinery Ltd in 1941 and commissioned as RML497 in July 1942.

Stationed with 62nd ML Flotillas at Portland between 1942 and 1944, the 'Fairmile' was then transferred to Kirkwall in January 1944 on anti-submarine target towing duties until August when she sent to Appledore.

She joined the 69th Flotilla based at Felixstowe until eventually being sold off at Itchenor in 1947.

The 'Fairmile' then entered service as a Western Lady III ferry between Brixham and Torquay, and was a regular sight in Torbay when I was growing up there.

In June 2009 she was bought by the company Greenway Ferry and following a £55,000 refit entered service in the summer of 2009 as 'The Fairmile' between Torbay, Dartmouth and Greenway, after a very substantial refit. Sadly mindless yobs attacked the restored Fairmile and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Restored once more, the 'Fairmile' currently operates a summer service between Torquay, Brixham and Dartmouth - with a cruise to the Exercise Tiger coast around Slapton Sands.

This journey is highly recommened, not only for WW2 Enthusiasts, but for anyone who wants to see this gorgeous area of the Devon coast.

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Royal Commemoration

On Wednesday 20th October 2010 the Fairmile made a very special cruise.

To commemorate ' Exercise Tiger', the Princess Royal, HRH Princess Anne officailly launched the Grand Heritage Voyage and unveiled a plaque on the bow of the Fairmile. On board were local VIPs and a very special VIP - an original Veteran of this very special heritage boats WW2 crew.

A Fairmile B in poor shape at Galmpton Creek, Torbay, Devon, 2009

Original Fairmile crew member and memorial plaque

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The 'Fairmile' and me

A Fairmile B in poor shape at Galmpton Creek, Torbay, Devon, 2009

WW2 reenactors off of the Exercise Tiger beach at Slapton Sands

Growing up in Brixham, the Western Lady ferries were a constant sight in the harbour, or crossing the bay as I was growing up. Little ( then) did I know of their WW2 heritage and national importance.

During the D-Day 50th commemorations one of the Western Ladys was painted in a WW2 paint scheme, the first I learned of its heritage. I was living in Germany then, and when I returned all the Western Ladys had left Torbay.

In 2009 a small squad of WW2 reenactors carried out a charity walk to commemorate Exercise Tiger, on which we were privaledged to take the Exercise Tiger Commemorative Cruise from Dartmouth.

The Fairmile part of Devon`s WW2 heritage and a highly reccomended part of any holiday to the region.

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Derilect Fairmile

At 2007 a Fairmile B lay in a poor state in Galmpton Creek, on the River Dart near Brixham.

A Fairmile B in poor shape at Galmpton Creek, Torbay, Devon, 2009

Although in a poor state, this image shows the diagonal wooden construction of the Fairmile B

A Fairmile B in poor shape at Galmpton Creek, Torbay, Devon, 2009