Chief's pride at Steam Packet Dunkirk anchor recovery

image captionThe anchor was recovered before a ceremony in Dunkirk

The Chief Minister has spoken of his pride after watching the recovery of part of a Manx ship used during the World War II evacuation of Dunkirk.

Isle of Man Steam Packet vessel Mona's Queen III was sunk by a German mine on 29 May 1940, with the loss of 24 crew.

Seventy years on, its anchor was raised in Dunkirk to mark the role of Manx ships in the evacuation.

Chief minister Tony Brown said it was a "sad but proud" occasion.

Eight Steam Packet ships together rescued 25,000 Allied troops from Dunkirk during the operation.

Four were lost - Mona's Queen, the Fenella, the King Orry and the Tynwald.

Return hope

More than 300,000 Allied troops were rescued from the port in northern France during the mass evacuation in 1940.

A ceremony marking the 70th anniversary took place in Dunkirk, which the Chief Minister attended.

Speaking after his return to the island, Mr Brown said: "It was a great privilege to represent the Isle of Man Government at this special ceremony.

"It was extremely moving when the anchor of the Mona's Queen was raised from the waters 70 years after the vessel was lost.

"This was a sad occasion but also a proud one, recognising the significant part played by Manx ships and their crews during a pivotal episode of the Second World War.

"One in 14 of the Allied troops rescued from Dunkirk was saved by a Steam Packet boat, and that is a fact that should never be forgotten."

Hamish Ross, former managing director of the Steam Packet Company, is now leading a project to bring the anchor back to the island.

It is hoped the anchor can then be put on permanent display in a suitable location, the company said.

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