The World War II Admiralty ‘puffer’ VIC 96 has re-enacted a historic trip. She left Chatham on 14 May, calling at Ramsgate, Ostend and Vlissingen, and will attend celebrations as guests of the town of Veere on 21/22 May. She will then steam on to Dordrecht as a prelude to the 17th Dordt en Stoom event on 27, 28 and 29 May.
She will be re-enacting a voyage made in May 1816 by the Defiance, which, with Captain William Wager in charge, steamed from Margate to the Netherlands with the aim of introducing steamships to Holland and Germany. Veere, in the province of Zeeland, was the first port of call.
VIC 96 herself has an interesting history. She was laying derelict in Maryport, Cumbria when, in 2003, a group of steam enthusiasts formed a charitable trust with the sole intention of restoring her to her former glory.
Finally in 2009, following major preservation works, the group steamed the vessel 1,000 miles back to her home port of Chatham in Kent. VIC 96 is now maintained as a working exhibit for all to see and experience and is regularly invited to take part in events and festivals.