Motor Yacht built 1935 by Thornycroft, J I & Co Ltd, Hampton

Designated ensign Designated house flag



Leisure Craft


Motor Yacht


Commercial Activity






Web site








To be confirmed

11.28 feet (3.44 metres)

47.97 feet (14.63 metres)

4.59 feet (1.40 metres)



ABERDONIA is a motor yacht, built in 1935 by Thornycroft at Port Hampton. Her hull is carvel built of Burma teak and her engines are twin Ford diesels. Between 1940 and 1946 she was requisitioned by the Navy and renamed NAVIGATOR. She took part in the Dunkirk evacuation and is thought to have made four trips to the Dunkirk beaches. She continued her war work as a patrol boat, working with minesweepers and taking sealed orders to waiting convoys. She was narrowly missed when a German bomber attempted to crash into the ships as he went down into the sea. Wreckage hit the starboard side, and 30 years later, her owner found scorched timbers during restoration. She has been in private ownership since 1946 and is now used for private charters out of Chelsea harbour.

Christian Brann, The Little Ships of Dunkirk: 1940-1990 (1989) pub: Collectors Books Ltd
Dan Houston, Classic Boat (August Volume 146, 2000, pp36-40) St George's Crossing

Subsequent developments

April 2012  Vessel selected for  Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012.  Source: National Historic Ships UK.

Key dates

  1. 1935 Built as Gentlemans Yacht by Thornycroft at Port Hampton
  2. 1940/1946 Commandeered by Royal Navy and renamed NAVIGATOR. Took part in Dunkirk evacuation and later worked as a patrol boat
  3. 1946 Reverted to private ownership. Used for charters out of Chelsea Harbour
  4. 2012

    Vessel selected for  Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012


  1. 1989 The Little Ships of Dunkirk: 1940-1990 - Brann, Christian
  2. 2000 Classic Boat St George's Crossing
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk

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