Columns
10 years on Image

10 years on

Melbourne Water moving to Docklands
Read more >>

Away from the desk Image

Away from the desk

The little bent tree
Read more >>

Chamber update Image

Chamber update

COVID-19 and the Chamber’s response
Read more >>

Docklander Image

Docklander

Empowering women locally and abroad
Read more >>

Docklands Secrets Image

Docklands Secrets

Conflicting speeds
Read more >>

Chinese

零工经济的灰色区域
Read more >>

Fashion Image

Fashion

Top five street style trends
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Five strategies to get through coronavirus (COVID-19)
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

Bring on the lasers
Read more >>

Business Image

Business

New offerings at The District Docklands Market Lane
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

Social distancing in apartment blocks is hard to do, but necessary right now
Read more >>

Maritime

Maritime matters
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Adorable therapy
Read more >>

Precinct Perspectives

A new perspective from Batman’s Hill
Read more >>

SkyPad Living Image

SkyPad Living

A chair’s perspective of vertical living in COVID-19 times
Read more >>

Street Art Image

Street Art

Goodbye from Blender Studios
Read more >>

Sustainability

Sustainability in a pandemic world
Read more >>

The District

Eat your way through our most delicious hot spots
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

We need a clear cladding policy – now!
Read more >>

Abby's Angle  Image

Abby's Angle

Slow down. The panic is coursing through all our veins
Read more >>

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.