Birchington author publishes children’s tale of The Medway Queen

Faye's new book is an adventure of The Medway Queen

By Dan Thompson

The history of the Medway Queen paddle-steamer, which became a part of the Ramsgate townscape during restoration last year, is explored in a new book designed and written by Birchington author Faye Beerling.

The book for children of junior school age tells the story of Peter and Jasmine, two children who are taken onboard for a tour, and the characters from the ship’s history they discover as they explore.

The Medway Queen carried passengers on the Thames Estuary, took part in the Dunkirk evacuations, and became a swinging 1960s nightclub.

She was launched in 1924 and entered service on Thames estuary routes in May of that year.

She was used as a minesweeper in World War II and is famous for her seven trips to Dunkirk in 1940. She brought men from the beaches back to both Dover and to Ramsgate. The ship’s crew estimated that they evacuated 7000 men while shooting down three German aircraft.

After the war she returned to her old route until 1963. From 1966 until 1974 she was a nightclub in the Isle of Wight.

In 1984 the Medway Queen was brought back from the Isle of Wight to the Medway area by a group of local businessmen who intended to restore her.

Faye, 54, published her first book -Nautical Chaos-in 2014 and has since had phenomenal success, selling to NASA, receiving letters of thanks from former Australian Prime Minster, Martin Turnball and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and scooping official endorsement from the Ministry Of Defence for two years in a row.

She said: “It was an absolute honour to have written about the history of the Medway Queen in a book for children. For most of my writing career, I have focused on vintage WW2 aircraft and more recently, a famous lady who flew a Spitfire during the war, Jackie Moggridge.

“It was a welcome change to write about a famous paddle steamer, now fully restored, and who also did her bit for the war effort. Converted into a minesweeper and then a rescue ship during the Dunkirk evacuation she became known as the Heroine of Dunkirk.

“I understand why it was so important and necessary to bring her history to life – the book, which is full of facts and awesome illustrations, I hope, will go some way to keeping her history alive for our children and future generations for years to come. I look forward to the day when she sets sail once again. With sincere thanks to the hard-working team that make up the Medway Queen Preservation Society, without whom, this book would not have been possible.”

Follow in Peter and Jasmine’s footsteps and visit this famous paddle-steamer on Saturday 8th October, when Faye will sign any copies sold. The book launch takes place in the Medway Queen Visitor Centre. Pier Approach Road, Gillingham ME7 1RX.

The ship is also open to the public every Saturday between 11am and 4pm (last tour starts at 3pm).

For more information or to become a supporter of the Medway Queen, visit

Adventures of The Medway Queen can be pre-ordered here


  1. The Medway Queen now is not the original ship… New hull, new engine etc triggers broom …

    • That’s true – very little of the ship that went to Dunlkitrk is incorporated in this reconstruction. That being said, hardly anything of HMS Victory dates back to when she fought at Trafalgar.

      I guess the spirit of the original ships is somehow preserved?

  2. I remember going to a 21st birthday party on her, when she was moored at Rochester Esplanade during the ’80’s.

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