Registration number 2615
Status Registered


Function Leisure Craft
Subfunction Yacht
Location Windsor
Vessel type Motor Yacht
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No


Builder Osborne, William, Littlehampton
Built in 1939
Number of decks 2
Number of masts 2
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 2
Primary engine type Inboard diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Length: Overall
45.00 feet (13.72m)
Breadth: Beam
11.90 feet (3.63m)
6.00 feet (1.83m)
Tonnage: Gross


AQUABELLE was built as a motor yacht for Benjamin Taylor, a Civil Engineer, in 1939 by William Osborne of Littlehampton. She took part in the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 and was subsequently commandeered by the Royal Navy for use as an Auxiliary Patrol Vessel based at Brightlingsea. She was transferred to the War Office in November 1941 and returned to her original owner in 1946 who sold her in 1947.

From 1947 to 1974 she was owned by 5 subsequent families in the UK, based on the Humber, near York, Poole and Ramsgate. She was cruised extensively in this period including trips to France and Belgium. She took part in the first Commemorative Crossing to Dunkirk in 1965, which led to the formation of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships. In 1974 she was sailed to France and ended up on a canal in the Carmargue area close to the Mediterranean Sea. After two further owners in France where she was used mainly as a houseboat, she was abandoned owing to severe deterioration of her superstructure and decks.

Discovered by a group of French volunteer enthusiasts Aquabelle was rescued and underwent a major restoration between 2011- 2015 in Palavas-les-Flots, Montpellier, France. Transported back to the UK she took part in the 75th Anniversary Dunkirk Commemorative crossing and then a 3 month UK cruise to Poole and Henley-on-Thames before sailing back to the Mediterranean. She returned to the UK in 2019 for engine replacement in preparation for the (cancelled) 2020 Dunkirk Commemorations and has remained in the UK, moored at Windsor Marina. She is now the property of the grandson of the original owner who possesses unique memorabilia from her early years.




Key dates

  • 1939 Built by William Osborne of Littlehampton
  • 1940 Took part in the Dunkirk evacuation
  • 1941 Transferred to the War Office
  • 1946 Returned to her original owner
  • 1960 Re-enginedTwin 3 cylinder engines replaced by twin 6 cylinder engines
  • 1965

    Took part in first Dunkirk Commemorative Crossing

  • 1974

    Moved to South of France

  • 2010

    Restoration started by volunteer French enthusiasts

  • 2012

    Registered in France as a Bateau d'Interet Patrimonial

  • 2015

    Took part in the 75th Anniversary Return to Dunkirk event, May 2015  Source: ADSL

  • 2019

    Returned to UK and re-engined

  • 2023

    Registered in UK under ownership of original owner's Grandson

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact

More like this


Registered, built 1912 by Thornycroft, J I & Co Ltd, Hampton

Llys Helig - raised

Registered, built 1922 by Thornycroft, J I & Co Ltd, Woolston, Southampton


Registered, built 1964 by Eyemouth Boatbuilders, Eyemouth

Silver Ghost II - starboard side

Archived, built 1952 by Woodnutts, St Helens