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It was a day when history repeated
itself on the River Thames. Millions of
people around the world watched as
Havengore, a former Port of London
Authority survey launch, retraced the route it first took for Winston Churchill’s funeral 50 years ago.

In 1965, it carried the lead-lined coffin of our wartime Prime Minister, who guided Britain through its darkest hour. Back then, huge crowds of people turned out on London’s bridges and the riverside to pay their respects. Even quayside cranes along the Thames famously lowered their jibs in salute as Havengore passed by.

Half a century on, Churchill’s friends and family gathered on Havengore to mark his passing for a second time – and the flotilla was led by our launch, Lambeth. This arguably made perfect sense, as Churchill helped set up the PLA back in 1908 when he was then President of the Board of Trade.

PLA launch skipper Jon-Paul Vasallo, ably assisted by deckhand Alican Jennings, safely guided the flotilla from Tower Pier to the House of Commons, where Havengore’s passengers took part in a remembrance service. Prime Minister David Cameron and other party leaders laid wreaths in Churchill’s honour on the day, while crowds of politicians gathered outside Parliament buildings to greet Havengore.
Winston Churchill’s granddaughter, Emma Soames was on board. She said: “The whole day was really

remarkable and there was a fantastic turnout, especially as it was jolly cold.

“It’s important to remember that Winston Churchill wasn’t just a wartime leader, he drove through many pieces of legislation in peacetime too. The Port of London Authority is a great example of that and it continues to do a marvellous job to this day.”

On PLA launch Lambeth skipper
Jon- Paul had a huge responsibility leading the flotilla but he insists it was a day on the job like any other. He also had a BBC news crew broadcasting live from his boat, but that didn’t faze him either.

“It was a massive day and an honour to lead the flotilla”, he said. “The BBC had their job to do but I had mine and my priority was to safely guide Havengore alongside the House of Commons. Of course, if I could help them get the shot they wanted from the boat, then I did. But the main thing was safety.”


Port of London Authority, London River House, Royal Pier Road, Gravesend, Kent DA12 2BG. +44 (0) 1474 562200
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