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Sandwich is the new home for P22 gunboat

By Eleanor Perkins

A P22 gunboat is set to become the town’s latest tourist attraction when it is permanently moored at the Quay from tomorrow (Tuesday).

USN P22 is a United States Navy gunboat, built by a German shipbuilder shortly after the Second World War for the American military to patrol the river Rhine during the Cold War era.

It is the only one still afloat out of a fleet of 23, and people are being asked to come along to welcome it to town when it arrives between 3.45pm and 4.15pm.

P22 arrived in Sandwich in June 2017
P22 arrived in Sandwich in June 2017

Guests attending the arrival will include the Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme, chairman of Dover District Council Sue Chandler and Sandwich MP Craig Mackinlay.

It is hoped by the end of the year, the P22 will be open to war veterans, visitors and schools, with educational tours of the gunboat and information about the role it played in the Cold War.

Owner Barry Field said: “All involved with this historical gunboat are thrilled that she is going to be based in Sandwich.

“Gelling with existing attractions at Sandwich, P22 will widen the interest of people visiting this beautiful Cinque Port town.”

In recent times, the discovery of the Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest, now on show at the revamped Guildhall Museum, has also been a big boost to tourism in Sandwich.

Policing the River Rhine in Germany, the P22 helped to keep the U.S.S.R (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) within the agreed boarders of West Germany following the end of the Second World War, helping to avoid future world conflicts.

After a number of years she was then decommissioned and bought by a Scottish-based private company where she fell into disrepair and partially sank, only to be saved by a private individual for her posterity and historic value.

P22 taking dignitaries out to lay wreath's in the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Channel Dash from Ramsgate
P22 taking dignitaries out to lay wreath's in the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Channel Dash from Ramsgate

The boat was recently used in a forthcoming blockbuster war film Dunkirk to be released on Friday, July 21, starring Tom Hardy and One Direction’s Harry Styles.

It was, until now, permanently moored in Ramsgate Royal Harbour.

She also featured in the recent Sandwich Salutes the 40s event.

A spokesman for Dover District Council said: “We can confirm that following work with partners, including Sandwich Town Council, we have offered the P22 Trust a berth on Sandwich Quay from next week.

This will be for a concessionary annual mooring fee, recognising the benefits to tourism to the town. It is anticipated that this will be home for the boat for the foreseeable future, subject to annual review.”

The P22’s move to Sandwich from Ramsgate comes after a disagreement over mooring fees paid to Thanet District Council.

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