A model of one of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s most famous ships has returned ‘home’.
Mona’s Queen III was one of 10 Steam Packet Company vessels commandeered for active duty during World War Two. She sank at Dunkirk having hit a magnetic mine one mile from port on the 29th May 1940. On the same day the Steam Packet Company also lost Fenella and King Orry.
A scale replica model, which has been on a long-term loan in Fleetwood Museum, has been brought back to the island and is now proudly on display at the Ferry Travel Shop in the Sea Terminal, Douglas.
Mona’s Queen was built and launched at Cammell Laird Shipyard in Birkenhead in 1934. Six years later she took part in the historic rescue of the British Expeditionary Force – known as Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk - and brought an estimated 25,000 men to safety.
The operation came at a cost with the loss of 24 crew members, 17 of them from the Isle of Man.
In 2012, the anchor of Mona’s Queen was sited at Kallow Point in Port St Mary as a permanent memorial to all the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company crew who fought in World War Two.
The original 1934 model, which has been on loan at Fleetwood Museum (one of the Company’s former destinations) since April 1990, was unveiled by Captain Jack Ronan whose family has a long-held association with the vessel and the Company having first worked there in 1945.
Captain Jack’s father served on her in 1935, while his two uncles were also serving on board when she was hit at Dunkirk.
In 2012, Captain Ronan placed her anchor at the Port St Mary site.
Next year marks the 80th Anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk.
To commemorate the milestone, a dive team from the Isle of Man is planning to visit the wreck and pay respects on behalf of the Manx nation. Divers will take a commemorative plaque and flags to the wreck site to mark the sacrifice of the crew. The team will also conduct video and photographic surveys of the wreck, and the imagery will form part of an exhibition to be held in Port St Mary in May 2020.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The Island played a vital role in what proved to be a critical chapter of World War Two and it’s important those involved are remembered by future generations.
‘The model honours all those Company staff who lost their lives and it is fitting that Captain Ronan, who has many personal connections with the ship and knew most of her crew from that era, carried out the official unveiling.
‘He has a considerable personal archive from that period and tells me the decks of the Mona’s Queen were the first ships decks he trod.’