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Deenar is a relatively dainty Dunkirk Little Ship having been built for the Admiralty as a pinnace in 1898 and would have been steam originally. She is solidly built of double diagonal teak on oak and fitted with a 3.8 litre diesel BMC engine. The boat will be sold with a 2022 survey and is presented for sale out of the water at her owner's premises. With her forward cabin and covered aft seating the boat is a comfortable cruiser complete with galley, fridge and loo.

Hull number 431 was ordered by the Admiralty  as one of a pair (with 430) in 1897 as a steam cutter. This was an open boat with canvas covers and a mast - it still has the mast step. It was completed in 1898 and the surviving fitting-out list shows that it had a Vickers Maxim machine gun mounted on the bows,indeed the bolt holes are still visible on the underside of the decking. It was built to a standard Admiralty design with double diagonal teak and painted battleship grey (as it is now), the only colour found on the hull other than white. 431 was most likely to have been used as a tender carried aboard a larger ship but no details have been found yet.

In 1916 its engine was changed from steam to a Thornycroft 4-cylinder 18HP paraffin one, there were new timbers in the transom with the date 1916 on them and a new forecabin which she still has. At this point the boat became a motor pinnace.

The Lloyds Register of Yachts 1939 has the first mention of Deenar, indicating that she was decommissioned the previous year. At the time pinnaces were an economical entry into boating and were usually well maintained. They were sold by the Admiralty Disposals Board, normally by auction and to dealers who sold them on to private owners. Deenar's new owner was W G (Willie) Dunsbier of 38 Marchmont St. Russell Square, London. There is a photo of him on the bulkhead wearing the uniform of the London Auxiliary Fire Service and the 1939 Census shows that he was with No 6 River Patrol AFS. There is a huge amount of information on the Thames River Patrol in the London Fire Service records detailing the 30 boats which include Deenar and seven others that went to Dunkirk. During this time she was moored by St Thomas’s Hospital patrolling one mile in either direction. The River Patrol only lasted from October 1938 to March 1940 due to inter group rivalry on the Thames.

There is documentary evidence showing that Deenar was taken for Dunkirk and returned to Teddington after 10th July and she is listed in ‘The Epic of Dunkirk’ printed in November 1940. Sadly there is no record to show what she did whilst there - so far.
According to the Dunsbier family she then stayed in a large garage until Willie died in 1946. 

Subsequent owners were M Greville-Giddings of 5 Riverview Gardens, Twickenham. In
1956 A L Rickards of 25-26 Conduit Mews, Paddington and then in 1960 HW Russell-Snook of 122 Cleveland St. London W1. He replaced the Thornycroft engine with a Scammel one also petrol/paraffin.

At this point Deenar saw a different type of action. Mr Russell-Snook was described as an inveterate bachelor, however he married in 1939 and was divorced by 1970. He enjoyed recalling the wild parties on board with girls whose names sometimes hit the headlines in the less salubrious Sunday newspapers. He felt that the pictures taken on board would not be fitting for a serious association like the ADLS when it was subsequently set up by Raymond Baxter. This was in the early 1960s on the Thames near Cliveden where the Profumo affair unfolded. Coincidence ?

In 1971 Mr Russell-Snook moved to Cornwall and Deenar was abandoned at Weybridge Marina and filled with water until boatyard owner Terry Tappin hauled her out onto the bank. In 1984 David and Andrew Smith found her and restored her. They fitted the BMC 3.8 Diesel engine still in her, built a wheelhouse and rear tilt and fitted her out with galley, heads etc. It was about this time she was recognised as a Dunkirk Little Ship. She was used on the Thames principally to visit the many hostelries and was based at  Penton Hook Marina where she changed hands in 2015.
Her current owner then built an aft cabin area and repainted the boat in grey. He has maintained the boat meticulously. 
Deenar is available for viewing in Wiltshire by appointment.


Year of build
30ft h1in
7ft 2in

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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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