An interesting and unusual sight greeting visitors to the historical Town Quay at Sandwich on the River Stour in Kent this summer is the beautifully preserved 1950s Rhine Patrol Boat USN P22 (Rhine Maiden).
P22, a type 21 patrol boat, was built by the Germans at Hizzler Ship Yard financed by the Allies in 1952 and manned by the Allies, in this instance the United States Navy and latterly the Germans to patrol 320 miles of the Rhine in the cold war era following the end of World War II.
Manned by a crew of six they were armoured with three 50 calibre Browning machine guns and had a speed of 21 knots.
She was one of 21 built and is believed to be the only known survivor having been dutifully restored over the years and is today fully operational and seaworthy.
So much so that she has just completed a significant role in the production of the recently released film Dunkirk where she was adapted into British colours playing a pivotal role in the making of the film.
From there she returned to Ramsgate for various enactments and then was offered a mooring at Sandwich for the rest of the season. P22 is not open to the general public but tours are offered by invitation only or charters can be arranged.
There has been considerable interest in the vessel with the release of the film Dunkirk in major cinemas. For more information contact Barry Field 07792 589103 or John Brown 07711 171614.
Report and photo by Brian Maxted