Postmarked on the 75th Anniversary, our Medway Queen cover has been carried on board the Medway Queen anniversary voyage and features a special label and carried cachet.
PS Medway Queen entered service in 1924 taking passengers on day trips from the Medway Towns to Southend and Herne Bay. She served this route until the autumn of 1939 when she was adapted for minesweeping as HMS Medway Queen. In early 1940 she joined the 10th minesweeping flotilla at Dover.
On Sunday 26 May 1940 the order for Operation Dynamo was given to evacuate troops from Dunkirk. HMS Medway Queen was among the first naval vessels to take part. Using her boats, men were collected from the beaches, soldiers waiting in long lines some up to their chests in the sea. Once on board the cook and his assistant gave the hungry, tired and thirsty men sandwiches, Irish stew and “Navy Cocoa”. Medway Queen and her crew went to Dunkirk seven times bringing back a total of seven thousand British and French troops. After the evacuation she returned to minesweeping and served for the remainder of the war.
In 1947 she was rebuilt to her former shape and resumed pleasure trips. In 1953 the ship took part in the Coronation Review at Spithead but by 1963 excursions were less popular and rising costs resulted in Medway Queen being sold and becoming the “Medway Queen Club” on the Isle of Wight. She was joined by PS Ryde in the 1970s but eventually fell out of use and sank.
In 1984 she returned to the Medway for restoration. The Medway Queen Preservation Society was formed in 1985 and in 1987 they purchased the ship and moved her to Damhead Creek. A Heritage Lottery Fund grant was obtained and contracts were signed in 2008. In November 2013 the rebuilt hull was towed back to the Medway for fitting out.
Medway Queen is open to visitors most Saturdays at Gillingham Pier, ME7 1RX. www.medwayqueen.co.uk