Dorian - Helping to Preserve our Naval Heritage

In May 1940, as more than 338,000 troops lay trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, the British Government orchestrated their rescue, codenamed Operation Dynamo. They appealed to owners of small boats to help with the evacuation, and commandeered about 850 private vessels, later christened ‘The Little Boats of Dunkirk’.

One of these remarkable boats, Dorian, was a 41-foot harbour launch originally built in 1915 by the Royal Navy, before being sold in 1937 to a Mr Findlay who converted her into a cruising yacht for charter. Following her role in Operation Dynamo, she spent the rest of World War II at anchor in Chichester harbour. After having a number of private owners over the years, Dorian suffered a catastrophic fire in the wheelhouse while being renovated ashore. Sadly, when she was purchased for £1 in 2011 by the Little Dunkirk Ships Restoration Trust, her hull - 2 inches of double-diagonal teak - was almost all that remained of her. 

Now, as part of the Trust’s ongoing mission to rescue these historic vessels, she is being painstakingly rebuilt. The restoration, which is being supervised by a professional boat builder, is being carried out by volunteers from the Trust at their workshop in Southampton Docks. 

Reliant on donations to continue their important work, the Trust approached SANHA to ask if we could provide some stainless 316L tubing for the restoration project. We were delighted to assist, and 24m of our 28mm NiroSan pipe. NiroSan pipe has a high molybdenum content and low proportion of carbon which means it is better protected against corrosion than conventional materials, making it perfect in helping the Dorian return to her former glory. 


BBC History, ‘More information about: Britain retreats from France’,

Association of Dunkirk Little Ships,

National Historic Ships UK,

‘Dunkirk: the Little Ships that bought our soldiers home and inspired a film’, The Telegraph, 21 July 2017,