The Coronia and Regal Lady go right back to the 1930’s. The Regal Lady was built in 1930, so she’ be 70 year old in 2010. She was build down at Great Yarmouth. During the 1930’s everybody stayed in Britain for their holidays, nobody went abroad they all stopped here unless you were really rich you couldn’t afford to go abroad. The main holiday maybe was a couple of days at the seaside before the 2nd World War. There wasn’t air travel so everybody wanted to go on boats. During the 1930’s all these little boats were being built, they were just turning from paddlers to diesel. In September of 1939 the 2nd World War broke out, The Coronia, two days after the war broke out was requisitioned by the admiralty she was based down at Great Yarmouth where she was named HMS Watchfull because that was the name of the base she was tied at. She had a little gun emplacement on the foredeck. In January 1940 the Regal Lady got requisitioned by the admiralty.
In May 1940 there were 450,000 British soldiers in France and Belgium forced back by the German army. Germany invaded Holland which was a neutral country. They wanted to do a pincer movement (The Flanks of the opponent are attacked simultaneously in a pinching motion after the opponent has advanced towards the center of an army which is responding by moving its outside forces to the enemy’s flanks, in order to surround it. At the same time, a second layer of pincers attacks on the more extreme flanks, so as to prevent any attempts to reinforce the target unit) , If they could go through Holland and Belgium they could get the channel ports. They could cut off all the British army. The British army fell back to a place in northern France called Dunkirk and there was only one way for them to go and that was to come back here to Britain. During the 2nd week in may 1940, there were a call went out called Operation Dynamo, which meant all these little boats to go across the channel, 700 went across to Dunkirk to bring the army back called the Skylark Navy. All together it took 7 days to complete the evacuation. We know the Regal Lady went across 3 times, the Coronia is flat bottomed with a 4ft 6 inch draft so she could run onto the beaches so the soldiers could get in off the beach into these little ships then taking them out to the bigger destroyers and ferry’s which were anchored about a mile of the beach. They worked about ten days and 380,000 soldiers were brought back they think the regal lady brought back 1,200. Sir Winston Churchill and Admiral Ramsey at Dover thought they would only get 45,000 back, but because of little ships like this they managed to get all them soldiers back and meant we still had an army. In 1943 there was a build up to D-day and the Regal Lady was involved in taking American troops from the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary into Glasgow. Both boats were decommissioned in 1946 and the Coronia came here up to Scarborough in 1951 named the Yorkshire lady and the Regal lady in 1954 named Oulton Bell. When the Regal Lady came up, she was a steamer and she was coal burning right up to 1955 and since then they’ve been running in and out of Scarborough.