The Gracie Fields was a Red Funnel paddle steamer launched by Gracie Fields herself in 1936. She was built by Thornycroft and Co. at Woolston as a general purpose ship, and as such performed excursions, tender and package services. At the outbreak of war in 1939 she was converted to a minesweeper and moved to Dover. She took part in the Dunkirk evacuation in May 1940, making one successful trip to France and back. She was bombed on her second excursion and, despite rescue attempts, eventually sank.

The Gracie Fields Paddle Steamer

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Red Funnel steamer Gracie Fields in the Solent, c.1939

Further reading:
Red Funnel and Before, by R. B. Adams. (HS/pe)

Listen to JB Priestley's Postcript broadcast here, celebrating the Gracie Fields and other ships like her at Dunkirk.


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