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Wave off for P22 gunboat which featured in Dunkirk blockbuster ahead of 75th D-Day commemorations

ByEleanor Perkins

Crowds will gather to wave off the P22 tomorrow as it travels to France to represent the Kent town of Sandwich at the 75th D-Day commemorations.

The historic USN P22 American patrol boat, which is permanently based at Sandwich Quay, has been invited by the Mayor of Ouistreham to attend its D-Day events from June 1 to 6.

It is expected that four and a half million people will visit the landing beaches and events that are planned there.

The P22 Gunboat has been moored on the Quay in Sandwich since 2017 Picture: Paul Amos
The P22 Gunboat has been moored on the Quay in Sandwich since 2017 Picture: Paul Amos

Operations co-ordinator of the boat, Barry Field said: "It's thanks to donations from local businesses and a €1,000 gift from the Mayor of Ouistreham to help with the fuel costs, we are privileged to play our small part in honouring the war veterans and all the people who gave their lives for the freedom we now enjoy.

"For those who can’t make the commemorations, we are happy to take a flower, cross or message over with us from anyone wishing to pay his or her own respects."

The boat was used in the 2017 blockbuster war film Dunkirk, starring Tom Hardy and One Direction’s Harry Styles.

It will leave the Quay at 10am on Friday and all are welcome to attend.

The P22 gunboat will leave Sandwich on Friday ahead of an 18-hour voyage to France. Picture: Barry Field
The P22 gunboat will leave Sandwich on Friday ahead of an 18-hour voyage to France. Picture: Barry Field

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 has been moored in Sandwich since June 2017.

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.

The vessel is now open as a working museum and has charritable trust status with a passenger certificate for cruises for up to 12 passengers on the historic River Stour.

Read more: All the latest news from Sandwich

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