Despite residing only a day’s motoring from the “Operation Dynamo”assembly point at Ramsgate, there is no record of Ruda having taken part in the evacuation of soldiers from beaches of Dunkirk during the dark days of May and June 1940. Perhaps the organisers at the Ministry of Shipping missed out Lady Bee Ltd. when they phoned around the south coast boatyards?
Anyway, according to wartime records Ruda was eventually requisitioned in June 1940:
“… on behalf of the Ministry of War Transport under the R(T98B) Net Charterparties Agreement, from G. M. Haworth, for £27. Registered as a motor boat and employed by the Admiralty on Auxiliary Patrol Duties until 26th May, 1941. (SMBA 529) and (SSBA 500(1)).”
And then on 26th May, 1941:
“… Compulsorily acquired by the Ministry of War Transport for Admiralty service and continued to be employed on Auxiliary Patrol Duties until November 1941…”
But an entry in the Admiralty list of serving vessels will always have a human side. During the early days in the service of her country Leading Engine Man Horace Edwin “Jimmy” Green (b. 1911) joined Ruda and, happily for her, kept an autograph book. Clearly her crew also numbered a talented marine artist…
“The Night Patrol” by H. Gardner
N26 is immediately recognisable as Ruda despite her mast having now been moved aft, and her gun confiscated.
Not long after his time aboard Ruda Jimmy Green left England on the s.s.”Orbita“ bound for New York, whence onward by train to Benton Harbour where he served on a mine sweeper helping to keep Canada’s eastern seaboard open. Jimmy is pictured here in his sheepskin jacket; he talked often of the bitter cold that he experienced during his 15-months in Canada.
Also in the autograph book is this little ditty written by the Spare Engine Man (Howard Fenton) in which he is considerably less than complimentary about Ruda’s Ailsa Craigs.
“It was on the good ship “Ruda”, her engineer’s name was ‘Green’. The engines are definately cruder than on any other boat I’ve been”
Maybe he would be rather surprised to find that they were still going strong in the 21st century!