The backbone of the Navy

DORIAN was built in 1915 by the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Dockyard as a pulling launch rowed by 38 men.  During the First World War she was used as a 43-foot harbour launch, and in 1918 she was fitted with a Gardner or Kelvin petrol engine. It was thought that she was assigned to H.M.S. RESOLUTION in 1915, but the only evidence for boats on this ship is for two 50ft steam picket boats.

A Mr Findlay bought her in 1937 from the Admiralty. He lengthened and converted her to a cruising yacht for charter, but when the Second World War started she was commandeered once more by the Admiralty for the duration. The Navy took her to Dunkirk where she took part in the Dunkirk evacuations. She then spent the rest of the war at anchor in Chichester harbour.

After the war she was restored to her owner.

Where is she now?

DORIAN is currently undergoing restoration with the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust at their workshop in Southampton Docks.  She is being returned to her 1937 configuration as a motor yacht, but you can still see the original double diagonal hull planking, the uprights for the rowing positions and the 1915 carving on her stem.


2011 City of London & Dockland Times: Dunkirk Little Ships

2011 Classic Boat: Navy pinnace set for restoration

2015 Visit to Dorian by NHS-UK