Retired Cold War gunboat and Dunkirk movie star USN P22 is heading to Ramsgate this week

The P22 is returning to Ramsgate - but just for a visit

A gunboat that patrolled the River Rhine throughout the Cold War will be returning to Ramsgate this week.

The USN P22 retired gunboat will arrive at Ramsgate harbour on Thursday (September 6) as part of the Open Heritage weekend event.

The USN P22 was built by German shipbuilders as part of the fleet that patrolled the River Rhine. The craft is the only one of 23 built that is still afloat.

The vessel, which left Ramsgate last year after a hike in mooring fees and is now based at Sandwich, played the part of The Admiral’s Launch in last year’s epic film Dunkirk, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring actors including Kenneth Branagh and singer Harry Styles.

It also was on display at last year’s Southampton Boat Show where in 10 days she had 2,500 visitors.

It is owned by Barry Field, who is the captain of the vessel.

Barry said: “Sadly we can only be at the Royal Harbour for two days but hope to book for future events again soon as we value our friends and supporters at Ramsgate.

“On a personal note I feel we have an ongoing debt to our war veterans and as an historic naval boat visiting Thanet, if that encourages just a few to visit P22, tell their stories and, in turn, feel remembered and valued, then that is the very minimum we can do.”

The P22 will be arriving at 10am at the Heritage pontoon at Ramsgate Harbour and throughout the day be open to war veterans. The vessel will be open to the general public all day on Friday. She will be leaving the harbour at 10am on Saturday to take part in the Sandwich Heritage Weekend.

Photo Trevor Shonk

Ramsgate Mayor Trevor Shonk said:  We in Ramsgate much appreciate P22 with its unique history coming to our royal harbour and staying on our heritage mooring.  I will be there personally to greet P22 and her crew on Thursday morning.”

Former Sandwich Mayor Paul Graeme, who is joint chair of the P22 Trust, added:  “We all in Sandwich wish Ramsgate’s Heritage Weekend a great success.  The presence of P22 at this event will obviously enhance the whole weekend. We look forward to her return on Saturday for our own special event.”

The P22 in one of 23 Thanet venues opening up to the public for free for Heritage Open Days which, for the first time in its 24 year history, will be taking place over two weekends.

Thanet’s presence in Heritage Open Days this year has been coordinated jointly by the Ramsgate Society, Broadstairs Society and Margate Civic Society, with support from Thanet District Council’s tourism team.

Open Heritage Weekends take place on September 6-9 and September 13-16.

Read here: The 23 Thanet venues to explore during Heritage Open Days 2018


  1. I have seen the P22 in Sandwich a few times and it really enhances the experience of visiting the historic quayside.
    But, not wanting to spoil the impression etc, we should remember that the Cold War, which unscrupulous politicians in Russia and the West still want to stir up to make themselves look “patriotic” , didn’t really involve the river Rhine. The Rhine is the nominal border between Germany and France so played little role in the Cold war at all. It’s a bit like suggesting that a Police launch on the Thames, or a US coastguard cutter in the mouth of the Mississippi, played a role in deterring Russian tanks based in Hungary. So I’m not sure how “historically important” the boat is, really. But it looks great!!

    • Personally, I haven’t got any fishing boats, and if I did, I would be careful about overfishing a declining resource. Still, after Brexit, only EU boats will be fishing there so no conflict will arise. Maybe that’s why UK-based boats are racing to scrape all the scallops possible from the seabed before next March.

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