Massey Shaw

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This article is about the fireboat. For the fire chief, see Eyre Massey Shaw.
Massey Shaw 2014.jpg
The Massey Shaw in 2014
United Kingdom
Name: Massey Shaw
Namesake: Eyre Massey Shaw
Owner: The Massey Shaw and Marine Vessels Preservation Society Limited
Operator: London Fire Brigade
Builder: J. Samuel White, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Cost: £18,000
Launched: 1935
Acquired: 1982
In service: 1935
Out of service: 1971
Homeport: London
Status: Museum ship
General characteristics [1]
Type: Fire float
Tonnage: 50.54 GT
Length: 78 ft (24 m) o/a
Beam: 13 ft 9 in (4.19 m)
Draught: 3 ft 9 in (1.14 m)
Decks: Teak
Installed power: 1 × Russell Newbery 2-cylinder Type D2 diesel engine
Propulsion: 2 × 165 bhp (123 kW) 8-cylinder Gleniffer DC8 diesel engines
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)

Massey Shaw is a former London Fire Brigade fireboat. The historic vessel was saved from dereliction by a group of enthusiasts who restored her. Thanks to a successful Heritage Lottery Grant in 2008 the vessel has been completely restored in Gloucester dock by a professional team of boat builders.

The Society planned to return Massey to the River Thames in May 2013 by sailing her around the south coast of the UK, stopping off at various ports on the way, including Cowes, Isle of Wight where the vessel was built in 1935. However, she was returned to London by road in 2013 where restoration was completed.

Ship history[edit]

The Massey Shaw was built in 1935 by the J. Samuel White company at Cowes, Isle of Wight. She was built to a London County Council design, and cost around £18,000 to build. The vessel was named after Eyre Massey Shaw, a former chief of the London Fire Brigade.

During the Second World War, the Massey Shaw, along with a volunteer crew of firemen, formed part of the flotilla of small vessels which were sent to Dunkirk to help evacuate British troops from the beaches. The Massey Shaw made three trips to the beaches and rescued over 500 troops, most by ferrying them to a larger ship standing offshore. She also rescued some 30 men from a French ship mined off Margate.[2]

The Massey Shaw served throughout the remainder of the War as a fireboat on the Thames. During the Blitz, the vessel pumped vast quantities of water from the Thames to fight fires all along the Thames waterfront.

She can be seen in the 1958 film 'Dunkirk' starring John Mills and Richard Attenborough. The Massey Shaw remained in service as a Thames fireboat until 1971 when she was decommissioned. In 1980 Philip Wray, Dick Helyer, and several other concerned individuals found the Massey Shaw abandoned in St Katharines Dock. They began to lobby the Fire Authority to save this historic vessel.

See also[edit]

  • Salvage Squad, the Massey Shaw's restoration was the subject of two episodes of this TV programme.
  • Fireboat


  1. ^ "Massey Shaw - Specifications". 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-06-23. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Wallington, Neil Firemen at War 1981 ISBN 071537964X pp52-6

External links[edit]