Previous names

  • 1928 - 1945 Folkstone Belle
Certificate no 291
Status Registered


Function Passenger Vessel
Location Portsmouth
Current use Ongoing conservation
Available to hire No
Available for excursions Yes
Info required No


Builder Gale, H & Co Ltd, Cowes
Built in 1928
Hull material Wood
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts 0
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
12.79 feet (3.90 m)
4.98 feet (1.52 m)
Length: Overall
50.00 feet (15.25 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed


Built in 1928 by H. Gale & Co. of Cowes, Isle of Wight, FOLKESTONE BELLE is a passenger launch with the capacity for 90 passengers. Her hull is mahogany and built of elm on oak frames and her current engine is a Ford Sabre. During World War II she took part in the Dunkirk evacuation. She was then a ferry at Hayling Island named FOLKESTONE BELLE and was requisitioned to go first to Ramsgate and then to Dunkirk; she returned with about 100 men and the crossing took 19 hours. She remains an active member of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships. 1956 saw her joint owned by George Owen Spraggs and Cecil James Spraggs, both ferry proprietors, and she was once more based at Hayling Island, Hampshire. Her name was changed to SOUTHSEA BELLE on 26 May 1967. The vessel is currently up for sale and is in need of some restorative work to her hull before being re-certified by MCA to carry passengers.


Christian Brann, The Little Ships of Dunkirk: 1940-1990 (1989) pub: Collectors Books Ltd
Geoffrey Hamer, Trip Out 1995/6 - A Guide to the Passenger Boat Services of the British Isles (1995) pub: G P Hamer

Key dates

  • 1928

    Built by an unknown builder as a Passenger Vessel and named ‘Folkstone Belle’

  • 1940

    Took part in the Dunkirk evacuation

  • 1956

    Re-registered as a Passenger Vessel and renamed ‘Southsea Belle’

  • 2009

    Bought by the present owner and renamed ‘Folkstone Belle’

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