Revisiting the Mona's Queen III by Dr Michelle Heywood
New - published Nov 2023
As an island of seafarers, the Isle of Man and its Steam Packet Company vessels were destined to play a significant part in World War II. At the outbreak of war, 10 vessels were requisitioned and adapted for war purposes.
Tragedy struck in May 1940, when in the space of 24 hours, three Manx vessels, Mona's Queen, Fenella and King Orry, were lost during the chaotic evacuation of Dunkirk. The Island mourned the lost sailors at the same time as it was preparing to host thousands of foreign national internees being brought from the UK.
The Island never forgot its Dunkirk losses and the families held onto precious keepsakes. 70 years later the anchor from the Mona's Queen was recovered and restored. It returned to the Island to form the centrepiece of the Dunkirk memorial. The anchor inspired a team of Manx divers to return to the Mona's Queen, and to tell the story for the next generation.
"Manx men who sailed to Dunkirk, many of whom were very young, were civilians and had never been in combat. They were incredibly brave, knowingly sailing towards the danger and into harm's way. Some of them, of course, paid the ultimate sacrifice and we should remember them, as well as all their Isle of Man Steam Packet comrades who served at Dunkirk and elsewhere during World War II." Lieutenant Governor, Sir John Lorimer, 2023