Columns
10 years on Image

10 years on

New Southern Star revealed
Read more >>

Away from the desk Image

Away from the desk

The little bent tree
Read more >>

Docklander Image

Docklander

Rapt with life in Docklands
Read more >>

Docklands Secrets Image

Docklands Secrets

Conflicting speeds
Read more >>

Chinese

港区超市 疫情热点
Read more >>

Critic

A vote for uncertainty
Read more >>

Owners' Corporation Management

Performance-based alternative solutions the key to cheaper cladding replacement costs
Read more >>

Fashion Image

Fashion

Top five street style trends
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Four steps to minimise work from home postural pain
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

An open letter to Michael and Andrew Buxton, MAB Corporation
Read more >>

History

An apple a day keeps the docks busy
Read more >>

Housing All Australians

Housing for all makes “good business sense”
Read more >>

Business Image

Business

Making Docklands City Pharmacy a household name
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

COVID Q&A: Private renovations, cladding rectifications and nuisance from pets
Read more >>

Maritime

Reflecting on the power of our docks
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Ty the adorable rescue
Read more >>

SkyPad Living Image

SkyPad Living

Do COVID-19 clouds have a silver or red lining for vertical villages?
Read more >>

State MP

After COVID-19: do we want to go back to “normal”?
Read more >>

Street Art Image

Street Art

Goodbye from Blender Studios
Read more >>

Sustainability

How fast is fast fashion?
Read more >>

The District

Your local delicatessen has arrived!
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Airbnb CEO “has mucked it all up”
Read more >>

Abby's Angle  Image

Abby's Angle

Taking the next step
Read more >>

Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

A trip down memory lane for sailors

01 May 2012

A trip down memory lane for sailors Image

A group of World War II veterans enjoyed a day out on the water in Docklands on April 7 aboard one of the world’s last surviving Fairmile patrol boats.

Currently in service as a pleasure craft, Keith Rankin’s boat Challenger was originally built for the Australian army in 1946.

For 85-year-old Hub Davis’s mates and their families, the tour to Williamstown and back on Easter Saturday was a dream come true.

“It was truly marvellous,” Mr Davis said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was a great success and everyone on board, from six-year-olds to 90-year-olds, had a great time.”

The veterans are members of the Fairmile Association of Australia, having served on the wooden vessels, as well as their close relatives Harbour Defence Motor Launches and Air Sea Rescue boats

Mr Davis said a member of the group came across the existence of Challenger while researching Fairmile vessels.

“The trip came about entirely due to the Keith’s generosity, which I suspect is considerable,” Mr Davis said.

He said the tourists passed around the hat and collected a “miserable” amount which they attempted to give Keith to at least cover the afternoon tea on board.

“I’m 85 and I’m the youngest so it was great that Keith was able to treat us all this way before we ‘cross the bar’ into the next world,” Mr Davis said.

He said the invitation for the trip went Australia-wide, but only veterans from Victoria and NSW managed to attend.

“As you could imagine, it’s not easy for us to get to events like this,” Mr Davis said.

The group was delighted to be taken to Williamstown for an up-close, waterside look at the restored mine sweeper HMAS Castlemaine as well as a corvette.

Mr Davis explained that only six or seven members now attend the group’s quarterly meeting in Williamstown these days.

“We’re getting old.  A lot of us can no longer drive and the train is unmanageable too,” he said.

He said, while the Challenger no longer resembled a Fairmile above the deck, the trip was nostalgic for the group.

He said the British-designed Fairmiles were built all around the world during the war.  

“Out of 35 built here, the army only had two, with most of them being built for the navy for anti-submarine duties,” he said.

“They were a heavily-armed vessel with cannon, machine guns and depth charges,” he said.

Share on Facebook

Stay in touch with Docklands. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Docklands News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.