31st May, 1st & 2nd June 2019
31st May, 1st June, 2nd June 2019

A very special military canoe on the lake this year!

 

This military canoe was made by an aircraft factory in early 1945. Number 103 of 200 of this type built for Combined Operations Commando forces. It was sent to the far east and eventually was used against the Japanese in Borneo. It still has some damage from these excursions. We have kept these dents as they are part of its history; its issued CQR anchor damage, and stern deck boot dents.

Restored to wartime and seaworthy condition, it is one of only 8 or 9 left in the world of which this and one or two others are seaworthy. This one is even rarer as all its tiny deck fittings and seating are intact. Operationally fitted with a machine gun mount and an outboard engine mount, it comes apart in seconds, for middle, bow, stern and outriggers. Made of an aluminium alloy, all sections are original and all serial numbers of each part match so it really is a complete canoe. We even have its original sail and spars, though it is a little damaged. We have its original spare wooden rudder, but the rudder and yoke fitted have been made from original patterns, as have the paddles.

It came back to England in the mid-1970s in a shipping container full of kit from a returning University expedition to Borneo and spent the next 35 years or more on a private lake, to hunt ducks and fish from.

Before the last owner painted it with m.o.d. tank paint (which helped it survive all these years in the open). On its bow was painted the name Argo, in the style that was common by those who used these for when they raced each other in training, to encourage their handling skills.