On 30 September the steam tug Challenge and historic paddler steamer Waverley met up near the Maunsell Sea Forts in the Thames Estuary for a ‘steam parade’.

Challenge is the last surviving example of a working Thames shiphandling tug, and is notable for her participation in the Dunkirk Evacuations in 1940. She helped to tow the Sea Forts into position in 1942.

The two historic steam ships met up off Southend Pier and Challenge escorted Waverley to the Red Sands Fort. With steam whistles sounding and the beat of Waverley’s paddles, this was an unusual cruise.

Also on hand was the Thames sailing barge Greta, which also participated in the Dunkirk Evacuation of Allied troops in 1940.

Challenge and Waverley are both registered in the National Historic Fleet. Paddle steamer Waverley launched in 1946 and is the last ocean going paddle steamer in service.

The historic ship visited Gravesend in September for excursions to London and around seaside towns of Essex and Kent.

Photos by Fraser Gray


For more news like this, subscribe to Ships Monthly here. 

For more news like this, visit the news page.

Sign up for Ships Monthly’s FREE e-newsletter here.


Subscribe today from only £42.99 and save up to 53%, either as a special gift or as a treat for yourself!