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Mary Jane


An original Dunkirk Little Ship featured in a Hollywood film!

'Mary Jane' was built in 1926 as an Admiral Pinnace, ferrying the admiral back and forth to the naval ship.

In 1936, Colonel Richardson and his wife Phyllis, a highly competent sailor (which was rare of a female in those days), converted her into a live aboard Gentleman's Cruiser. They were rsepected members of the aristocracy, regularly sailing with the Duke of Edinburgh and Uffa Fox around The Isle of Wight.

Uffa Fox was a celebrated boat builder, who actually designed and built another of The Richardsons boats, the sailing vessel 'Sea Swallow'.

Uffa was also a distinguished writer of that time; the book 'Thoughts on yachts and yachting', published in 1938, describes 'Mary Jane' as 'the cosiest live aboard he has ever slept upon'. Additionally, he included pictures and content, detailing how she was constructed at that time. The grandchildren of the Richardsons visited 'Mary Jane', gifting an original copy of this book with a personal dedication to its current owner, plus a painting of the saloon by Phyllis Richardson from 1938. This sale comes with a mass of historic documentation. A (nearly) complete list of previous owners, surveys and proofs of ownership. The Uffa Fox book and painting discussed must also stay with 'Mary Jane'; they have found their way back to her and that should not change.

It is documented that 'Mary Jane' went to Dunkirk and played a role in the Dunkirk evacuation. It was an incredibly hectic operation, making it difficult to accurately record the participation of the hundreds of ships that played a part. It is to our understanding that she was used to come close to the beaches and ferry soldiers to the larger ships. The reason the participation of the Little Ships was so crucial was that they had smaller drafts and could get closer to the shore than the larger vessels.

In 2010 she took part in the 70th anniversary of Operation Dynamo, and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Mary Jane bears the plaques for several returns to Dunkirk with her current and previous owners.

Recently she has not only featured in the Hollywood movie 'Dunkirk' but has also served as a very cosy home to her current owner.

For a new owner who wishes to cruise extensively and in all weathers the indoor helm position would need to be reinstated and a heating flu removed all of which is perfectly feasible. Obviously the helm was originally located in the wheel house and the hydraulics are still in place should you want to use the wheel house as a driving position. The second position is on a flying bridge which has a large open seating area aft of the wheel which is very pleasant when cruising in company as there is ample seating for 8.

Along with incredible history a new owner will be buying a very strongly built hull which is made of double diagonal teak according to the original specification from the Admiralty which insisted on a teak hull copper fastened to steamed oak timbers. Additional pitch-pine topsides were added during the conversion. The decks have been painted white and sheathed. Much of the teak superstructure has been stripped and oiled but could of course be revarnished at some stage if a shiny finish is preferred.

Down below you really feel the beam and the generous dimensions making her comfortable, spacious, warm and welcoming - a real home from home. The interior needs a little cosmetic finishing and the external woodwork needs some dabs of varnish here and there, but other than that she's ready to continue her cruising life or would make a great live-aboard.

She has 6 berths: a double cabin in the stern, a 2 single fore-peak bed cabin and a 2 single bed mid cabin.

She has a fully functional bathroom with well working boiler, and a shower in a bath.

With a draught of 3ft 6" cruising on inland rivers is also an attractive option.

Tank capacity: 681.8 ltr of fuel in 2 tanks to feed the twin marinised Peugeot diesel engines of 60 bhp a piece. Currently there is no holding tank but clearly there is room to fit one.

An early viewing is recommended in London by appointment. I also have a video to share by request.


Joe White of Fulham
Year of build
42ft 9"
Twin marinised Peugeot diesel engines 2 x 60bhp

Please call Gillian on 01491 578 870 for more information


Henley Sales and Charter Ltd have gained a reputation over the last 30 years for selling and chartering beautiful, classic boats. Experience of operating and selling boats on the river Thames enables us to offer expert objective advice to prospective owners on all aspects of boat ownership including purchase, surveys, repairs and moorings. We will do our best to find the ideal craft to suit your individual needs - for a day or for a lifetime.

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01491 578 870
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