An eagle-eyed Aberdeen lifeboatman has spotted a modern Severn class lifeboat in the background of a sequence in this summer’s blockbuster movie, “Dunkirk”
The lifeboat’s unscheduled appearance is, however, very fitting as no fewer than 19 of the RNLI’s lifeboats, some crewed by the Navy but others by RNLI volunteers, joined the armada of ‘little ships’ which made their way to Dunkirk to take part in Operation Dynamo, the heroic 1940 evacuation of British troops from the beaches of northern France.
The sequence, early in the movie, shows leisure craft taking on crew before crossing the channel. The Severn class lifeboat (identical to Aberdeen’s own Severn class lifeboat, ‘Bon Accord’, is blurred – little more than an orange blob in the background - but to a trained eye, quite distinguishable.
Cal Reed, full-time mechanic and deputy 2nd coxswain at Aberdeen Lifeboat Station, made the ‘spot’ at his local cinema.
He said: “I almost jumped out of my seat when I saw the Severn in the back of the shot.
"The scene looks like it was shot in Weymouth, which tallies as they have a Severn at Weymouth Lifeboat Station. Guys on the Aberdeen crew thought I was winding them up, but the shot was also used in an online promo so I was able to show them."
Cal (31) had no idea that as many as 19 lifeboats took part in the Dunkirk evacuation.
“Those guys really were true heroes. Lifeboats back then lacked the safety and sophistication of the craft we have now. To take one into the surf to rescue troops, while under enemy fire from land and air – that’s very special courage," he added.